What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. It is a well-established healthcare profession in which various music-based methods are used to address the specific needs of individuals with illness, disabilities, and special needs. The music therapist assesses the needs of the clients, develops and implements a treatment plan based on assessment findings, and evaluates the treatment process. Because music is a powerful and non-threatening medium, unique outcomes are possi ble with a variety of populations. (2008 AMTA definition)

What is a Music Therapist?

A music therapist designs music therapy sessions and interventions based upon the assessed strengths and needs of the client or patient.

Some music therapy intervention strategies may include clinical songwriting, clinical improvisation, music and imagery, and learning through music.

Music therapists work with clients and patients of all ages and abilities. Tempo therapists work in schools, hospitals, assisted living, community centers, and in our studios. Some of the clients we treat have autism, developmental delay, cognitive delays, visual impairment, hearing impairment, stress and anxiety, and memory impairments. We also treat patients in hospice and offer music therapy in end of life care.

Music therapists are certified by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). All Tempo! music therapists are board certified, holding the MT-BC credential. The requirements of the Board Certified Music Therapist credential are:

  • Successful completion of an American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) approved academic and clinical training program.
  • Successful completion of a written examination demonstrating current skills in the profession of music therapy.
  • Recertification every five years through re-examination or upon the successful completion and documentation of 100 recertification credits (cbmt.org)


These resources are meant as suggestions only. Please click on a catagory below to view the suggested resources.

Music Therapy

Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. (AMTA Definition)

American Music Therapy Association (AMTA)
Middle Atlantic Region (MAR)
New Jersey Association for Music Therapy (NJAMT)
The Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT)

Autism Spectrum Disorders
Music therapy may aidindividuals with autism by helping them to maintain attention to task, increasing communication (both verbally and nonverbally), and identify and express emotions. A board certified music therapist will design a program specifically for the individual, emphasizing strengths which will be used to improve areas of need.

The Autism Society of America (ASA)
The mission of the Autism Society of America is to promote lifelong access and opportunities for persons within the autism spectrum (and their families) to be fully-included, participating members of their communities through advocacy, public awareness, education, and research related to autism.

The Autism Research Institute (ARI)
The Autism Research Institute (ARI) is a non-profit organization, established in 1967, which conducts and facilitates research on the cause and treatment of autism. ARI provides information to parents and professionals worldwide, on request. Dr. Bernard Rimland of ARI did the first pioneering work on the use of dietary supplements and autism in the 60’s.

Autism Speaks
An organization of parents, physicians, and researchers, dedicated to promoting and funding research with direct clinical implications for treatment and a cure for autism.

TALK is a registered 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to the development of clinical and educational programs serving individuals with language-based needs.

International Pre-Autistic Network
For the advancement and detection of infants at risk.

International Rett Syndrome Foundation

Alzheimer's Disease

Music therapy may help individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease with memory recall, pain management, stress reduction, and positive change in mood. A board certified music therapist can design a program for an individual, a family, and/or a nursing home for a group of patients. Alzheimers.org

Listening Therapies

Listening therapies are therapeutic programs used to improve the integration of sensory input by using specific sound frequencies and patterns to stimulate the brain.

EASe CD (Electronic Audio Stimulation effect)
Vision Audio Inc. provides the Electronic Auditory Stimulation effect (EASe) Compact Disc to ease the pain of hyperacusis and auditory hypersenstivity in Autism, PDD, ADD, ADHD, and Downs Syndrome. It provides a low cost alternative to auditory integration therapy or training!

The Georgiana Institute
The Georgiana Institute first introduced AIT to the United States in 1992. Auditory Integration Training (AIT), an intervention developed in France by Dr. Guy Berard, addresses the hearing distortions, hyperacute hearing and sensory processing anomalies which cause discomfort and confusion in learning disabled and developmentally delayed children.

Therapeutic Listening


Disability Awareness and Education

The Family Center on Technology and Disability
The Family Center is a resource designed to support organizations and programs that work with families of children and youth with disabilities. We offer a range of information and services on the subject of assistive technologies.

Partners in Making Your Case
A self-study course designed to help people with developmental disabilities and their families create positive change through advocacy.

A national site providing assistance for individuals and families with special needs who were affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Best Buddies
The mission of Best Buddies is to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships and integrated employment.


Music Therapists in Private Practice