What is Music Therapy?

Defining music therapy

Defining music therapy is often challenging because the practice is so diverse, but AMTA uses the following definition:

Music therapy is 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.

Music therapy is the intentional use of music by a university trained professional who is registered with the Australian Music Therapy Association Inc. Registered music therapists draw on an extensive body of research and are bound by a code of ethics that informs their practice.

Music therapists incorporate a range of music making methods within and through a therapeutic relationship. They are employed in a variety of sectors including health, community, aged care, disability, early childhood, and private practice.  Music therapy is different from music education and entertainment as it focuses on health, functioning and wellbeing.

Music therapists are committed to supporting people of any age and ability regardless of musical skill, culture or background.

Where can you find music therapy in Australia?

There are many public and private settings which offer music therapy including major hospitals, aged care homes and day centres, autism centres, early childhood centres and more. If you are looking for music therapy in such a setting then the best option is to enquire there.

To find a private practitioner please use the Find a Music Therapist search on the right of this page. Alternatively, you can advertise using our website's service. Ads for less than eight hours of work per week are free.

Student assignments

We get an enormous number of requests each year from students doing assignments.  Whilst we welcome their interest in the profession, we just don't have the resources to respond individually to a range of questions from each. We recommend that students with assignments check out this website for information and also search the internet where they can find a host of excellent sources of information about music therapy.  We also ask students to please be aware that music therapy is a busy profession and many individual music therapists are also unable to respond to these types of requests..  It's not the individual request that's the issue.  It's the volume of them and to be fair if we answer one we should answer all, and that's just not  possible.

Sections of this website of particular value: