Music Therapy: Not Just for Kids!

This week, The George Center had a table set up at the Embracing Exceptionalities Conference, hosted by Exceptional Ed Events in Gwinnett, Georgia. It was a fantastic experience meeting with educators, parents, and other providers serving people with disabilities.

One of the comments I heard several times from teachers and parents alike was “Well, music therapy sounds great, but my kids are in their teens, they’re probably too old for that.”

“Oh no!” I informed them, “Music therapy is wonderful for people of all ages!”

I think we’re reaching a point in our field where people no longer hear the words “music therapy” and instantly think of drum circles and incense burning (not that those don’t have a time or place!), but we still have some misconceptions to tackle, such as this. We hear music therapy and we think children’s songs, playing kiddie instruments, and doing silly dances. What teen wants to do that?

But music therapy is so much more! As a child ages, their goals change and so does the way we approach these goals. At The George Center, we pride ourselves on providing therapy services that are age-appropriate. This is both an ethical and therapeutic obligation.

So what does a music therapy session with a teen look like? It could involve:

  • Song and lyric discussion, using popular music the teen enjoys to discuss important social issues they may face in school.
  • Songwriting, helping that young adult express him or herself through writing lyrics and music.
  • Adaptive lessons, teaching the student instruments such as the piano, guitar, or wind instruments. This is a fantastic way to address important classroom skills such as focus of attention, regulating frustration and other counter-active behaviors, and more!

From itty-bitty babies in the neo-natal-intensive-care-unit to hospice care and everything in between, music therapy provides lasting benefits, and the music therapists at The George Center are ready to work with people of all ages and abilities!