What is Music Therapy?

What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is the use of music-based interventions to address individualized, therapeutic goals.  Music therapy is a well-established allied health profession, backed years of research spanning across multiple client populations.


Music therapists must complete an approved degree program (at either a bachelor’s or master’s level), complete a six month clinical internship at an approved site, and pass a certification exam.  Practicing music therapists must maintain their board certification through continuing education courses.  In the state of Georgia, music therapists are required to obtain a license to treat clients.


The George Center provides music therapy services to individual clients, schools, assisted-living facilities, and non-profits in the Atlanta area.

When working with a client, a music therapist might address goals areas such as:

  • Improved communication skills
  • Behavior modification
  • Sensory skills
  • Motor skills
  • Social and emotional functioning
  • Cognitive skills

Music therapists frequently address counseling objectives as well, such as:

  • Stress management
  • Promotion of wellness
  • Pain management
  • Memory enhancement
  • Fostering interaction and
  • Communication

Scope of Practice


“Music therapists are members of an interdisciplinary team of healthcare, education, and other professionals who work collaboratively to address the needs of clients while protecting client confidentiality and privacy. Music therapists function as independent clinicians within the context of the interdisciplinary team, supporting the treatment goals and co-treating with physicians, nurses, rehabilitative specialists, neurologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, behavioral health specialists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, audiologists, educators, clinical case managers, patients, caregivers, and more.

Music therapy-specific assessment, treatment planning, and implementation consider diagnosis and history, are performed in a manner congruent with the client’s level of functioning, and address client needs across multiple domains.” – Certification Board for Music Therapy Scope of Practice

Neurologic Music Therapy


“The brain that engages in music is changed by engaging in music.” -Dr. Michael Thaut


Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) is an advanced certification for music therapists. NMT addresses cognitive, sensory, and motor dysfunctions caused by neurologic disease or injury.

NMT is based off 19 standardized treatment techniques that address


  • Sensorimotor Rehabilitation
  • Speech and Language Rehabilitation
  • Cognitive Rehabilitation


By utilizing the inherent structure and form found in music exercises, NMT techniques have successfully addressed important neurologic therapy goals such as gait training, speech and language production, and executive functioning (decision making).

Who can call themselves a Neurologic Music Therapist?

In order to use the NMT designation, a music therapist must complete a specialized training. At The George Center, all of our music therapists have successfully completed this extra certification and are properly trained to administer these interventions.

Interested in learning more? Let’s talk about how NMT could work in your program!

Music Therapists in Action