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What is music therapy, and how does it work?

Music Therapy is an active music-making experience that uses methods and techniques supported by research in order to promote learning, growth and achievement. Individualized goals are created by and realized through an ongoing relationship with a trained and certified music therapist.

Listening to music for enjoyment is beneficial but active participation is even better. Music therapists use various forms of music to engage their clients. They design sessions that are interactive, formative and fun! Success based activities might include:

  • Exploring instruments to strengthen bilateral and hand-eye coordination, to provide a non-threatening introduction to music-making and to introduce and build tolerance for different sound timbres.
  • Inserting concepts like colors, letters, numbers and shapes into a song format to improve learning and recall
  • Using dancing and movement to address spatial awareness, balance, and coordination
  • Utilizing songs and singable story books to enhance breath support and articulation, to support expressive and receptive language, and to teach pre-reading skills
  • Playing musical games which, through repetition, teach important social skills like patience, taking turns, and sharing.

What is a music therapist?

A professional music therapist holds a bachelor’s degree or higher in music therapy from one of over 70 American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) approved college and university programs. The curriculum for the bachelor’s degree is designed to impart entry level competencies in three main areas: musical foundations, clinical foundations, and music therapy foundations and principles as specified in the AMTA Professional Competencies. In addition to the academic coursework, the bachelor’s degree requires 1200 hours of clinical training, including a supervised internship. Graduate degrees in Music Therapy focus on advanced clinical practice and research.

Upon completion of the bachelor’s degree, music therapists are eligible to sit for the national board certification exam to obtain the credential MT-BC (Music Therapist – Board Certified) which is necessary for professional practice. The credential MT-BC is granted by a separate, accredited organization, the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT), to identify music therapists who have demonstrated the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to practice at the current level of the profession. The purpose of board certification in music therapy is to provide an objective national standard that can be used as a measure of professionalism by interested agencies, groups, and individuals. (American Music Therapy Association)

What does inclusion mean?

Music therapy is not limited to children who have special needs.  Neuro-typical developing children also benefit from the solid musical foundation provided in individual or group sessions.  All group sessions offered are based on an inclusion model.

Do I need to supply my own instrument if I enroll in adaptive lessons?

At this time, the only adaptive lesson offered is for piano. A piano is available for use during the lesson but it is recommended that there be a piano in the home.

How much does music therapy cost?

  • Adaptive lessons are $45 per 30-minute lesson.
  • Individual music therapy sessions are $55 per 30-minute session.
  • Music therapy group sessions range in price from $129 per student (“Littles”) to $145 for the family group. Group sessions last for six weeks.

What else do I need to know?

Therapy services are currently offered in two locations: Brooklyn Center and Edina. Individual sessions and Adaptive lessons are at Brooklyn Center. Groups will be scheduled at either Brooklyn Center or Edina, depending on space availability.

The music therapy team consists of one board-certified music therapist who will provide most services. She has the support of a specialist who has completed a bachelor’s degree in music therapy and is beginning the internship requirement.  The specialist is qualified and able to teach adaptive lessons and may partner in group situations. It is also possible that an assistant, working toward the bachelor’s degree in music therapy, may occasionally observe and/or help out in group situations.

How do I start?

For more information, call 763-566-4560 or email

For any individual service outlined, it is necessary to schedule a consultation.  Please complete the form found here, including what service interests you most and the days/times you are available.  You will be contacted.  Please be aware that services actually begin during the consultation and a non-refundable consultation/registration fee of $40 is required.  You may also call 763-566-4560 to request an appointment.

If you are interested in joining a group, call 763-566-4560 to get information on group availability, to register, or to get on a waiting list for the group of your choice. Please refer to the group offerings for minimum and maximum participant requirements.