Music Therapy

What is music therapy? | Enquiry | Dementia | Children | Young People | Mental Health | Learning Disabilities

What is music therapy?

In his book Music Therapy - An Art Beyond Words, Leslie Bunt proposed this definition:

"Music therapy is the use of sounds and music within an evolving relationship between client and therapist to support and encourage physical, mental, social and emotional well-being." (Bunt, p. 8)

Even though music has been around for a long time, and known to hold healing properties, the discipline of music therapy is still fairly new. In the past few decades music therapists have practised, researched and organised themselves into a profession. These days UK music therapists are regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), alongside physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, paramedics and other healthcare professionals. You can find out more via the British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT).

One of my favourite authors in the field of music therapy is Mercédès Pavlicevic. She is a music therapist who has worked with a range of people in different countries. In her book Music Therapy - Intimate Notes she talks about music:

"We all know, intuitively perhaps, that music is much more than just sounds put together, or pretty tunes. Music makes us feel: high, low, slow, speeded up - we recognize our own feelings in music and we respond to music with feeling." (Pavlicevic, p. 35)

This connection between music and feeling is often used in music therapy. It seems that people can often express a feeling more directly in music than they may be able to put into words. This becomes particularly important for someone who cannot or will not speak. Pavlicevic asks the reader to imagine they're in the place of a client, playing a drum very loudly:

"what you need is the therapist to be with you in the flow and strength and power of your feelings as you express these on the drum or marimba or in your singing, or whatever. In this way, you experience your feeling as being shared. Somebody knows how you feel, somebody has a sense of the very essence of who you are - and lets you know it! You experience this knowing, this being known by another, directly in your joint music-making." (Pavlicevic, p. 36)


Music therapy is available for individuals and small groups. My experience, training and insurance are detailed on the about page.
To enquire about music therapy, please get in touch.

The calendar shows availability.


For someone who has dementia, music therapy may help with memory, perhaps involving familiar songs from when they were young. As a music therapist builds a relationship with someone, they will explore music from the past - but also create music in the present moment which can help express feelings and emotions. Music therapy has been shown to improve quality of life, and reduce depression and anxiety.

Read more about music therapy for people with dementia »

A recent small-scale service evaluation found music therapy had positive effects on the wellbeing of people with mild to moderate dementia.

Read more about the service evaluation »

Children with autism or developmental delay

Music therapy allows creative expression for a child on the autism spectrum, or who has developmental delay. Sessions may include singing, dancing, and creative music-making, and may help a child develop social skills through the music.

Read more about music therapy for children with autism or developmental delay »

Young People

Music therapy has been shown to help young people improve their self-esteem and lower depression. Sessions may include music-making, singing or song-writing, and provide a safe space for a young person to express themselves.

Read more about music therapy for young people »

Mental Health

Music therapy has been shown to help people with their wellbeing and mental state. It offers a mode of expression that does not require words or speech, and can provide an outlet for creativity within a therapeutic relationship.

Read more about music therapy for people with mental health problems »

Learning Disabilities

Music therapy can help a person with learning disabilities to interact with others through the music or express themselves creatively.

Read more about music therapy for people with learning disabilities »