Introduction to Music Therapy Practice

Document Type


Document Subtype


Publication Date



Barcelona Publishers

Place of Publication

Dallas TX




An overview of music therapy clinical practice in the 21st century, structured around the ways music therapists engage clients in music experiences - re-creating, composing, improvising, and active listening. The text includes forty-eight case illustrations from twenty-nine clinicians practicing with diverse client populations. These cases demonstrate how the music therapist adapts the method to meet the unique needs and interests of the clients. The benefits of these methods are outlined, and representative research is provided to support clinical applications. Ten context examples written by ten music therapists experienced in those settings are included that illustrate similarities and differences in the roles music therapy may play in treatment. An historical review of the profession is included, providing perspective on the evolution of music therapy as a profession to date. A resource section of professional organizations, peer-reviewed publications, and publishers concludes the text. The text is structured for use by instructors who teach introductory music therapy courses in which the content is presented through an experiential approach, and formatted to provide flexibility for good fit into the instructor's course.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Introduction

Section A. Re-creative Music Therapy

Chapter 2: Singing

Case A.1. Lullabies in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Case A.2.Therapeutic Singing with Clients Diagnosed with Parkinson’s


Chapter 3: Playing Instruments

Case A.3. Therapeutic Lessons with a Girl with Down Syndrome

Case A.4. Therapeutic Lessons after a Cerebral Vascular Accident

Chapter 4: Other Re-creative Variations

Supplemental Cases:

Case A.5. Familiar Song for the Development of Attachment in a Hospitalized Newborn Helen Shoemark, Ph.D., RMT

Case A.6. Re-creative Music in Memory Care Elisabeth Swanson, MMT, MT-BC

Case A.7. Performing for Family in a Mental Health Group Home

Case A.8. Re-creative Music Therapy with a Young Adult with Cerebral Palsy Peggy Farlow, MAE, MT-BC

Case A.9. Re-creating Music with a Group of Adults Who Are Visually Impaired Paige Robbins Elwafi, MMT, MT-BC

Case A.10. Re-creative Music Therapy in the Midst of Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Debbie Bates, MMT, MT-BC

Case A.11. Re-creating Music in Pediatric End of Life Care Kathryn Lindenfelser, MMus, MT-BC

Case A.12. Re-creative Music Therapy with 5-year Old Girl with Autism Peggy Farlow, MAE, MT-BC

Section B. Receptive Music Therapy

Chapter 5: Active Listening

Case B.1. Active Music Listening with a Mechanically Ventilated Patient in the ICU

Case B.2. Music Relaxation with a Caregiver Support Group

Chapter 6: Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (BMGIM)

Case B.3. BMGIM with a Young Woman in Eating Disorder Treatment

Case B.4. BMGIM with a Woman with Chronic Pain

Chapter 7: Other Receptive Variations

Supplemental cases:

Case B.5. Receptive Music Therapy in Hospice Erin Fox, MMT, MT-BC

Case B.6. Receptive Use of Songs in Substance Abuse Treatment Jim Borling MM, MT-BC

Case B.7. Receptive Music for a Child with Osteopetrosis Congenita Eileen Garwood, Ph.D., MT-BC

Case B.8. Receptive music and sensory stimulation with people in end-stage dementia Elaine A. Abbott, Ph.D., MT-BC

Case B.9. Receptive Music Therapy as Procedural Support for Organ Transplant

Case B.10. Receptive Music Therapy: Rejoicing Geraldine Brian Schreck, MA, MT-BC

Case B.11. Making Choices in Music Therapy to Promote Stability Douglas Keith, Ph.D., MT-BC

Case B.12. Family-integrated Music Therapy in Neonatal Care Friederike Haslbeck, Ph.D., SFMT

Section C. Compositional Music Therapy

Chapter 8: Song Composition

Case C.1. Song Composition with a Group in Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Case C.2. Song Composition following Trauma

Chapter 9: Multimedia Composition

Case C.3. Autobiographical Collage with a Woman with Bipolar Disorder

Case C.4. Multimedia Composition with a Man with Developmental Disability

Chapter 10: Other Compositional Variations

Supplemental cases:

Case C.5. Composition to Cope with Auto-islet Total Pancreatectomy Transplant

Case C.6. Composing to Decrease Social Alienation Emma Moonier, LPCC, MT-BC

Case C.7. Songwriting with Adolescents Encountering Social Struggles at School Katrina Skewes McFerran, Ph.D., RMT

Case C.8. Songwriting with a Young Adult Male in Early Recovery Kathleen M. Murphy, Ph.D., MT-BC

Case C.9. Songwriting with Women in a Halfway House

Case C.10. Songwriting with a Young Boy with Anger Issues

Case C.11. Songwriting with a Transgender Youth Undergoing Cancer Treatment Anthony Beuchel, MT-BC

Case C.12. Song Transformation with Older Adults in a Skilled Nursing Facility Elaine Abbott, Ph.D., MT-BC

Section D. Improvisational Music Therapy

Chapter 11: Clinical Improvisation and the Nordoff-Robbins Approach to Music Therapy John Carpente, Ph.D., MT-BC

Case D.1. Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy with a Boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Case D.2. Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and Selected Mutism

Chapter 12: Improvisation with Special Populations

Case D.3. Improvisation to Stabilize a Forensic Patient Matthew Zelt, MT-BC

Case D.4. Improvisation with a Group of Older Adults on a Memory Care Unit Larisa McHugh, MA, MT-BC

Chapter 13: Other Improvisational Variations

Supplemental cases:

Case D.5. Building Safety with Improvisation in a Therapeutic Day School Lindsay Rossmiller, MT-BC

Case D.6. Improvisation and Vibro-acoustic Therapy for Social-emotional Development Kelly Meashey, MT-BC

Case D.7. Group Music Therapy as a Means for Generalizing Self-control Stephanie Hubbard, MA, MT-BC

Case D.8. Improvisation-based Play to Strengthen Social-emotional Development Lindsay Markworth, MMT, MT-BC

Case D.9. Improvisation as a Music Gesture between Coordination and Relationship Claudio Cominardi

Case D.10. Improvisation in an In-patient Mental Health Music Therapy Group Lillian Eyre, Ph.D., MT-BC

Case D.11. Improvising with Foster Care Youth Michael Zanders, Ph.D., MT-BC

Case D.12. Group Improvisation in Residential Eating Disorder Treatment

Chapter 14: Music Therapy in the Context of Different Clinical Settings

Example 1. In-patient Mental Health Hospital

Example 2. Specialty Clinic with a Multidisciplinary Treatment Team Service Structure

Example 3. Music Therapy under the Medicaid Waiver

` Peggy A. Farlow, MAE, MT-BC

Example 4. General Hospital System

Debbie Bates, MMT, MT-BC

Example 5. Special Education Services within a School Setting

Stephanie Hubbard, MA, MT-BC

Example 6. Forensic Mental Health Setting

Lauren Stoner, MA, MT-BC

Example 7. Long-term Care Services within a Care Team

Carol Shultis, Ph.D., MT-BC

Example 8. Behavioral Service Company

Lindsey Wright, MT-BC

Example 9. Home Healthcare and Hospice

Emily Paar, MT-BC

Example. 10. Community-based Music Therapy

Peter Jampel, Ph.D., MT-BC

Chapter 15: Music Therapy in Historical Context

Appendix A: Music Therapy Resources

Professional Music Therapy Organizations

Music Therapy Publications

Publishers of Music Therapy Literature and Resources



music therapy, clinical practice, music therapy methods


Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Arts and Humanities | Medicine and Health Sciences | Music | Music Therapy

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