Which Do You Choose?


An individual with special needs or any developmental, psychiatric, neurological or behavioral diagnosis may benefit greatly from either Music Therapy OR specialized music instruction. The following are some guidelines for identifying which type of session might be the best fit for you or your loved one. Don't forget our music therapists will be here to help guide your decision!


Choose Music Therapy When:


  • The individual is already receiving treatment with other types of therapists, but seems especially interested in, sensitive to or connected with music. An individual who is naturally drawn to music may receive special benefit from a treatment strategy that includes Music Therapy. This may also be helpful with children who seem bored, disinterested or not engaged in more traditional therapies, as music can arouse their interest and feel more like play.

  • The indivudal may be a candidate for specialized music instruction at a later stage, but does not currently have the verbal, social, behavioral or cognitive skills necessary for adaptive lessons. A Music Therapist can address these goals in treatment, with one objective being to ready the individual for specialized music instruction in the future.

  • The individual is not interested in learning an instrument and/or the individuals’/families' focus is primarily on exploring avenues of treatment for the individual. Again, Music Therapy is designed to meet treatment goals, not to teach music skills, regardless of an individual's interest in or aptitude for music.

  • The individual or family wants learning music skills to be a part of the treatment, but also wants to ensure that the Therapist is specifically working to address treatment goals. Learning music skills can be part of a Music Therapy session, but the Music Therapist is also deliberately working on therapeutic skill-building, symptom reduction, etc.


Choose Specialized Music Instruction When:


  • The individual wants to learn an instrument and has tried traditional lessons, but did not have a successful experience due to behavioral, verbal, cognitive or other difficulties with which the teacher was unable to work.

  • The individual has already received Music Therapy treatment for some time (or other outside treatment), treatment goals have been met or are in the process of being met, and the individual, family and therapist agree that the individual is now ready for specialized music instruction.



Understanding the difference between Music Therapy and specialized music instruction and knowing what they can offer (with the help of these guidelines) can help parents, teachers, therapists and clients make informed, confident choices in their treatment.


* This information was brought to you by Metro Music Makers