How to answer “What Is Music Therapy?”

How to answer "What is music therapy?"

In 2014, we ran a challenge to answer the age-old question “what is music therapy?” How do YOU answer that question?

Click here to see the submissions!

Click here for inspiration on answering What Is Music Therapy.

This Week’s Shout-Out

The Shout-Out goes to Jenny, a new music therapist in Minneapolis, who’s just starting out.

The best place to start out is answering the age-old question… What is music therapy? And we have opinions. Let’s start with the basics.

3 Points To Consider FIRST
1. Can they relate to my description on a personal level?
2. Am I using language they understand?
3. When I describe music therapy, are they able to picture the face of someone to whom they could refer for my music therapy services?

When you paint a picture for someone, it has more potential to create a memory. And if you can make a strong impact and a great first impression, then you won’t ever have to worry about getting more clients, or getting burnt out advocating again!

Watch the video below for the exact formula that you can use to answer “What Is Music Therapy.”

Wanna take on the CHALLENGE? Leave a link to your video in a comment below!

And make sure to follow these 5 rules:

1. Use this formula: “You know how sometimes (very specific population) experiences (this very specific problem)? Well, Music Therapists are able to (alleviate that problem for the client) and make it easier (for those involved in the lives of that population to accomplish this).”

2. Keep it 60 seconds or less. Those videos over 60 seconds will be disqualified.

3. Use a very very very specific population. Notice how I didn’t just talk about people with Alz/dementia… I talked about people with Alz/dementia who are moved from community to community. That’s what makes the description relatable – Regardless of whether or dementia affects your life, just about ANYONE can imagine that moving over and over can cause irritation.

4. Use a very very specific problem that music therapy solves. No need to use the word “goal” or “intervention” when you can paint a picture of a story instead. The “goal” I described was “reducing agitation.” But I told a story instead of using official documentation terminology.

5. Don’t talk about the PROCESS of our work more than the BENEFITS. The process might be the assessment, treatment plan, documentation, specific interventions. But what people can relate to immediately is EMOTION and STORY. That’s why instead of mentioning the drumming, song-writing, and improvisation in the first 30 seconds, I tell the story of transformation FIRST.

In case you need recording tips, here ya go!

Recording Tips:
1. Record the video with a horizontal camera setting.
2. Find and area with ample light ON your face (not behind your face).
3. Smile! Let your passion shine through! You are advocating for an incredible profession and helping tons of music therapists out there formulate their definition of music therapy. =)

Be well, feel good, and keep rockin’ music therapy,

Kat Fulton, Founder of

P.S. Here are a few submissions, including our team at Music Therapy Ed….


    • Hey Cami — your video did not upload to YouTube completely (it is only 5 seconds long). Would you mind uploading again or giving us another link? We can’t wait to see it!!! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.