National Disability Insurance Scheme


 

This information is provided to assist a) participants and/or their families b) NDIS staff and c) professionals to make informed decisions regarding the inclusion of music therapy in National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plans. It is designed to provide better understanding about the role of music therapy for addressing the breadth of needs and goals for people with disabilities including participants of the NDIS.

 

What is Music Therapy?

 

Plain Language

Music therapy is a profession where music is used to support people to improve their health, functioning and wellbeing. Music therapists are musicians who have trained at university to understand how music can have an effect on behaviours, on how people feel and how people think. Music therapists work with people to make goals to be worked on in music therapy. These goals might be communication goals, social goals, movement goals, mood and feelings goals, and/or spiritual goals. In a music therapy session people might sing, play instruments, dance, write their own songs and record them, perform, listen and talk about music. Some of the places music therapists work in are schools, day services, community centers, hospitals and in people’s homes. Music therapy sessions might be individual or in a group.
 

Detailed Explanation

Music therapy is defined by the Australian Music Therapy Association Inc (AMTA™) as a research- based practice and profession in which music is used to actively support people as they strive to improve their health, functioning and wellbeing. Registered music therapists (RMTs) are skilled musicians who are trained to understand how music impacts behaviour, cognitive processes and emotions. They work collaboratively with people to decide on goals to be addressed in music therapy, facilitate music experiences in which people can participate comfortably, and evaluate the benefits of music therapy to people’s health and well being.

Registered Music Therapists:

  • Have a Bachelor or Master’s degree in music therapy from the Australian Music Therapy Association’s accredited universities (University of Melbourne or University of Western Sydney) or an equivalent international tertiary degree 

  • Have completed a minimum 640 hours of supervised clinical training as part of their degree

  • Cover 5 unit areas of competency within their university training that leads to registration with the Australian Music Therapy Association, and must abide by a Code of Ethics and 
complete regular Professional Development to maintain their registration

  • Use methods that are informed by research and practice from around the world.

  • Work collaboratively towards specific health and wellbeing goals assessed as appropriate for an individual or group .

  • Registered music therapists use a range of research-based  methods within and through a therapeutic relationship to achieve specific psychosocial, communication, physical and/or spiritual goals. They are employed in a variety of sectors including health, community, aged care, disability, early childhood, and private practice.  In community settings, music therapists use their skills in health promotion to support social networks and community participation through music making.

  • The University of Melbourne hosts the National Music Therapy Research Unit (NaMTRU) which promotes research into all aspects of music therapy and provides a research milieu in which graduate students can be supported and inspired to conduct research studies in music therapy. More than 50 graduate research projects have been conducted through the Research Unit, as well as large-scale projects funded by the Australian Research Council.
     

(a) In 2006, the structure of music therapy university training changed, delivered from that point only as a Post Graduate qualification. It is important to note that those who trained prior to this date through a Bachelor degree are just as suitably skilled and qualified as those who completed their training after 2006 with a Master’s qualification.

Easy English - Children

Music therapy is when someone uses music to feel better. Music therapy can be when you

  • listen to music
  • move or dance to music
  • sing
  • write your own music
  • play an instrument

People do music therapy with a music therapist. A music therapist knows how music can make people feel. For example:

  • happy
  • sad
  • full of energy
  • calm

A music therapist also knows how music can make people

  • think
  • behave

A music therapist might work with one person, or a group of people. Children can do music therapy at

  • a school
  • a service
  • a hospital
  • a communty centre
  • home

Most children like to sing, dance, and play an instrument. So most children like music therapy. Music therapy can help children

  • speak and understand more
  • learn how to play with other children
  • relax
  • feel happier
  • move better
  • feel calmer

Music therapy might work for your child if music

  • is important to them
  • makes them feel happy
  • helps them feel calm if they can not relax
  • gives them energy if they are tired
  • helps them show how they feel

Music therapy might also work if your child likes to share music with other people. For example

  • sing songs with people
  • dance with people
  • go to a concert with friends
  • play an instrument in a band

Download the full Easy English - Children fact sheet here.

 

Easy English - Adults

Music therapy is when someone uses music to feel better. Music therapy can be when you

  • listen to music
  • move or dance to music
  • sing
  • write your own music
  • play an instrument

People do music therapy with a music therapist. A music therapist knows how music can make people feel. For example:

  • happy
  • sad
  • full of energy
  • calm

A music therapist also knows how music can make people

  • think
  • behave

A music therapist might work with one person, or a group of people. Children can do music therapy at

  • a service
  • a hospital
  • a communty centre
  • home

Music therapy might work for you if music

  • is important to you
  • makes you feel happy
  • helps you feel calm if you can not relax
  • gives you energy if you are tired
  • helps you show how you feel

Music therapy might also work if you like to share music with other people. For example

  • sing songs with people
  • dance with people
  • go to a concert with friends
  • play an instrument in a band

Download the full Easy English - Adults fact sheet here.

 

 

Music Therapy and the NDIS

Music therapy, delivered by a registered music therapist, has been recognised by the NDIS for inclusion under the support cluster of ‘Capacity Building’ - Improved Daily Living - which includes assessment, training, strategy development and/or therapy (including Early Childhood Intervention) supports to assist the development or increase a participant’s skills and/or capacity for independence and community participation. Supports can be delivered to individuals or groups. 

 

Continuum of Music for Health and Well Being

 

Figure 1.  Illustration of what music therapy is and is not. Adapted from “AMTA Music for Health Statement,” by Thompson, G., Eager, R., McFerran, K., Shoemark, H., Grocke, D., Ceong-Clinch, C., O’Grady, L., Murphy, M., Baker, F., Milford, J., Blyth, L., Robertson-Gillam, K., Miles, L., Tamplin, J., Hogan, B., Arms, B. Australian Music Therapy Association (2015). Adapted with permission.

 

How do I access music therapy?

Music therapy is provided as an allied health service under Capacity Building - Improved Daily Living. If you have funding in this category, you may choose to use that funding, or part of that funding for music therapy. In addition, it must be a) delivered by a registered music therapist, b) be considered a reasonable and necessary service and c) contribute towards reaching your NDIS goals.

How do I find a Music Therapist?

Find a registered provider by searching within the Find a Music Therapist search box to the right of this page.

 

Advocacy

In the event that you receive mis-information about the inclusion of music therapy with the NDIS, you may:

 

 

Further Reading

Music Therapy in Disability: Information booklet 

For more information, contact ndisrep@austmta.org.au

Additional NDIS information for Registered Music Therapists (RMT’s) may be accessed by logging in to members-only content.