What is Music Therapy (MT)?

The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA, 2005) defines MT as the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. AMTA’s helpful website is the primary source of language used in this FAQ.

What is Music Therapy St. Pete?

Music Therapy St. Pete, LLC (MTSP) is a growing private practice based out of St. Petersburg, Florida, and serving the greater Tampa Bay area. MTSP provides music therapy to achieve the clinical, nonmusical goals of children, adults, and the elderly through private sessions and by partnering with large organizations. MTSP also offers art, yoga, dance, choir, academic tutoring, and adaptive music lessons to accommodate the physical or mental needs of all clients. James Riley is the Program Director, and looks forward to your call at (727) 350-7897, or e-mail to

How can I support MTSP?

Thank you for your help! Our business grows best through word-of-mouth marketing, so we really appreciate all referrals or recommendations. Please share our name and contact information! People better understand the purpose and power of MT through testimonials and pictures. We welcome any written feedback about our services and permission to share images of therapy in action. You may also look us up on Google and leave a review. Thank you.

Where is MT available?

Contact MTSP, and we can help you find a music therapist almost anywhere in the United States. Here in the Tampa Bay area, we provide service to Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough, Manatee, and Sarasota counties.

What does MT cost?

Costs for group music therapy, individual sessions, additional creative arts, and adaptive music lessons vary. MTSP seeks to provide affordable but high-quality services to those with the most need, while also compensating our therapists fairly and paying the bills to keep our doors open. Some reimbursement and grant-based opportunities are possible, but still limited. We are lobbying at the state and national level to increase access to MT, but most MT in Florida is funded through private pay. Most MTSP clients pay monthly invoices. We accept cash, check, direct deposit, or credit card. For additional questions, contact (727) 350-7897 or

Who is qualified to practice MT?

Professionals who have completed one of the approved college music therapy programs and a six-month, full-time internship are eligible to sit for the national examination offered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Successful completion of the independently administered examination endows the official credentials of Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC). To maintain this credential, music therapists must demonstrate continued competence by completing 100 recertification credits or retaking and passing the CBMT examination within each five-year recertification cycle. Only those holding the credentials of MT-BC may ethically and effectively practice as a music therapist.

What do music therapists do?

Music therapists assess emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills through musical responses; design music sessions for individuals and groups based on client needs using music improvisation, receptive music listening, song writing, lyric discussion, music and imagery, music performance, and learning through music; participate in interdisciplinary treatment planning, ongoing evaluation, and follow up.

What are some misconceptions about MT?

That the client or patient has to have some particular music ability to benefit from MT, but they do not. Another misconception is that there is only one particular style of music that is more therapeutic than all the rest. In fact, all styles of music can be useful in affecting change in a client or patient's life. The individual's preferences, circumstances, and need for treatment, and the client or patient's goals help to determine the types of music a music therapist may use.

Where do music therapists work?

Music therapists work in psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitative facilities, medical hospitals, outpatient clinics, day-care treatment centers, agencies serving persons with developmental disabilities, community mental health centers, drug and alcohol programs, senior centers, nursing homes, hospice programs, correctional facilities, halfway houses, schools, and private practice.

Who can benefit from MT?

Children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly with mental health needs, developmental and learning disabilities, Alzheimer's disease and other aging-related conditions, substance abuse problems, brain injuries, physical disabilities, and acute and chronic pain, including mothers in labor.

Is there research to support MT?

AMTA promotes a vast amount of research exploring the benefits of music as therapy through publication of the Journal of Music Therapy, Music Therapy Perspectives, and other sources. A substantial body of literature exists to support the effectiveness of MT.

Are there advanced degrees in MT?

Graduate programs in MT offer the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge and competence in clinical skills and research. Doctoral degrees or doctoral study in MT are offered by selected universities and include advanced coursework in MT in combination with doctoral study in related areas.


What is the American Music Therapy Association?

The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) is the largest professional association that represents over 5,000 music therapists, corporate members, and related associations worldwide. Founded in 1998, its mission is the progressive development of the therapeutic use of music in rehabilitation, special education, and community settings. AMTA sets the education and clinical training standards for music therapists. Predecessors to the American Music Therapy Association included the National Association for Music Therapy founded in 1950 and the American Association for Music Therapy founded in 1971.

What is the history of MT as a health-care profession?

The idea of music as a healing influence that could affect health and behavior is as least as old as the writings of Aristotle and Plato. The 20th-century discipline began after World War I and World War II when community musicians of all types, both amateur and professional, went to veterans’ hospitals around the country to play for the thousands of veterans suffering both physical and emotional trauma from the wars. The patients' notable physical and emotional responses to music led the doctors and nurses to request the hiring of musicians. It was soon evident that the hospital musicians needed some prior training before entering the facility, and so the demand grew for a college curriculum. The first music therapy degree program in the world, founded at Michigan State University in 1944, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1994. The American Music Therapy Association was founded in 1998 as a union of the National Association for Music Therapy and the American Association for Music therapy.