Music Therapy

Authored by: Adam Patrick Bell

The Routledge Companion to Music, Technology, and Education

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138921382
eBook ISBN: 9781315686431
Adobe ISBN: 9781317415138


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Defining music therapy is a difficult task, a point well articulated by Aigen (2014): “The diversity present in music therapy renders it impossible to make unequivocal statements about the profession, a fact that can be vexing to people trying to understand it from the outside” (p. xviii). Nevertheless, given that the title of this chapter is ‘Music Therapy,’ a definition—even if incomplete or unsatisfactory to some readers—is warranted. Considering the international focus of this handbook, the World Federation of Music Therapy’s definition of music therapy is most appropriate:

Music therapy is the professional use of music and its elements as an intervention in medical, educational, and everyday environments with individuals, groups, families, or communities who seek to optimize their quality of life and improve their physical, social, communicative, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health and wellbeing. Research, practice, education, and clinical training in music therapy are based on professional standards according to cultural, social, and political contexts.

(2011) Much can be gleaned from how music therapists integrate music technologies into their clinical work and be applied directly to educational settings in schools and communities. Aiming to provide music educators with a rudimentary orientation to the relatively brief history of music-making technologies in the field of music therapy, this chapter examines the past decade of related research.

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