In short, no!
Therapeutic Music and Music Therapy are not the same thing. There are many differences in these modalities, but that doesn't mean you have to choose between them! Music Therapists and Therapeutic Musicians can work side by side due to their different training, techniques, and goals. Because of this, patients can benefit from both of these therapeutic services.
There are many important reasons to consider a Therapeutic Musician!
A Therapeutic Musician is specifically trained and certified by the National Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians, and has completed both clinical and independent practicums. A Certified Music Practitioner (CMP) is a graduate of the Music for Healing and Transition Program, and is required to regularly complete Continuing Education Credits in order to maintain this certification. Further, CMPs work within a Scope of Practice and are bound by a Code of Ethics in order to protect the patient, meet HIPAA standards, and provide the best quality of care.
A volunteer musician may play as a hobby, or hold a music degree. Volunteer musicians certainly have value, and it can be fun to share in their performances. They simply have not completed the specific criteria required by this profession. In healthcare facilities, only qualified medical staff like Certified Music Practitioners are allowed to enter private patient areas to administer care.
CMPs assess the patient’s immediate needs by evaluating blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, mood, body language, etc. Without an assessment, competent care cannot be provided.
A volunteer musician performs for an audience as a form of entertainment, and may even take requests or work from a set list.
A Certified Music Practitioner provides an important healthcare service intended to support the patient's ability to heal, without requiring any participation from the patient. A CMP tailors the music to the changing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of the patient in the moment.
CMPs are aware of the effects of all types of music, and utilize music's intrinsic components to address the patient holistically. Because music is an incredibly powerful medium and can have negative effects just as it can have positive effects, a trained and certified Therapeutic Musician is vital when it comes to providing treatment.
Untrained musicians may accidentally trigger injurious physical and emotional states. For more information about Music Induced Harm, please read this abstract.
Therapeutic Music is an evidence-based modality and essential healthcare service!
Many studies have been performed to examine the effects of music on patients suffering from a variety of ailments. Music has had a place in healthcare for ages! Pythagoras (the "father of music") was the first person to prescribe music as medicine, teaching that one could heal using sound and harmonic principles. Modern studies confirm this! To read further, check out the Biblio section.
Everyone benefits from Therapeutic Music! Even visitors and facility staff naturally benefit by simply being in proximity. This unique and valuable healing modality addresses a variety of patient conditions:
According to the National Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians,the benefits of therapeutic music can include, but are not limited to:
“You can look at disease as a form of disharmony. And there's no organ system in the body that's not affected by sound and music and vibration.”
Mitchell Gaynor (1956-2015)
“Music is the mysterious key of memory, unlocking the hoarded treasures of the heart. Tones, at times, in music, will bring back forgotten things.”
Lord Edward Bulwer Lytton (1803-1873)
“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”
Victor Hugo (1802-1885)
“The highest goal of music is to connect one’s soul to their Divine Nature, not entertainment.”
Pythagoras (569- 475 BC)
Therapeutic Music can be provided in myriad environments! Because it is a comprehensive healing tool, it can be found in places like:
Therapeutic Music is ideally provided in person, and there are many benefits to this:
A Therapeutic Music session is unique to each patient, and is adapted to meet the patient’s immediate needs. A typical session proceeds thus: