This article is from the Alternative Medicine Therapies guide.
Because music therapists work in many different settings and with many different kinds of patients, treatment programs and durations vary.
If you consult a music therapist for a particular condition, the therapist will first talk to you about your symptoms and needs. In addition, the therapist will assess your emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills through your musical responses. Using this information, an appropriate treatment program will the be designed, which will probably include playing music, listening to music, analyzing lyrics, composing songs, improvising, and/or using rhythmic movement. During your regular sessions, the therapist may participate in these activities with you or simply guide you. You may also be encouraged to talk about the images or feelings that are evoked by the music.
You and your therapist will select the music used for your therapy according to your needs and tastes. You can choose any kind of music, from classical or New Age to jazz or rock. You do not need to have previous musical experience or even musical ability to undergo music therapy.
Some music therapy is conducted in a group setting. You might perform music with others who have the same ailment or condition as you, or interact and relax with others as music plays in the background. If you are in the hospital for surgery or to give birth, your music therapy might simply entail listening to your favorite songs to help you relax and reduce pain.