Music Therapy Techniques

To be a music therapist takes a lot of training but there are some things which everyone can try. Singing a song and playing along with instruments is an easy activity to try. So is finding favourite music and dancing or moving to the beat. You can choose active or gentle music to give variety. Choosing music to sing or listen to which matches the mood or quality of what is going on helps. For slow stretching movements try a smooth ballad, for banging drums sing a faster louder song.

The best music therapy technique is to be an OWL:

  • Observe

  • Wait

  • Listen

Then you can choose what sort of mood or music might connect with the people you want the music to help join in.

Another great technique is to choose generous instruments if you want to do some playing. That means instruments which are responsive to touch and make a good quality sound. Try before you buy. 

Blown instruments, like the Nordoff Robbins Reed Horns or Swannee whistles can be great fun and motivational. Kazoos too. Drums, keyboards and harps are all great to play. So are bells and chimes. Lots of instruments work, choose ones that can be enjoyed easily by the people you want to make music with.

Go with the beat or vocal pitch of the person you want to share music with. Adjust your singing to match and that will show you are listening to them. Being listened to is a great motivator to carry on joining in.

Always do what is enjoyable and fun. Singing known songs or dancing together to a recording can be good to do. If the music isn't fun don't worry just let it go and try something else!

Final music therapy technique: look after your self. Have some water and do some movements first to get your self warmed up to do the singing and or dancing. Often it isn't what you do but that you have tried to connect which is the most valuable thing.