Because music therapists work in a number of different
settings, planning and treatment protocols can vary. However,
in cases where a music therapist will be working with an individual
or group for an extended amount of time, the process is basically
Step 1. Assessments & Evaluations
During the first two or three sessions with a new client
or group, the music therapist uses instruments and a basic session
design (greeting & closing songs) to collect data. He/she
will look at seven skill areas - physical, social, behavioral,
cognitive, communicative, creative and musical. After the data
has been collected, individual or group goals and objectives are
Step 2. Sessions
After the goals and objectives are defined, the music
therapist meets with the client on a fixed weekly schedule in
an agreed upon location. The therapy sessions are individually
designed to reach the goals stated and the therapist uses music,
instruments, song writing, improvisation and movement to support
the client in meeting those goals. Clients become active and central
participants in the music making at whatever level they are currently
able. After every session, the music therapist takes notes to
track the progress of the therapy.
For students who have Music Therapy goals written
into their IEPs, formal quarterly progress reports and recommendations
are submitted to the treatment team.
Step 3. Re-Assessment
Through the process of tracking a person's or groups
progress, the music therapist might re-adjust the goals and objectives
either because the first goals have been met or because other
more important needs arise. In some cases, where music therapy
does not seem to be reaching the desired objectives, a music therapist
will recommend ending the treatment. However, music therapy can
be used as an on-going therapy for people who respond positively
and have on-going needs.
Step 4. Closure
The relationship between the music therapist and his/her
clients is a close one, therefore in the best interest of the
client, proper closure is very important no matter what the reason
for ending the therapy is.
Music Therapy is phased out over a period of at
least two closure sessions. During this time, the client is able
to safely consider and express their emotional connection to the
therapy and to reflect on all the progress they have achieved.
This is imperative to the overall theraputic process to decrease
feelings of abandonment or to decrease anxiety over work that
has been left undone.