Reach Out!

Reach Out!

aspen music serves SPruce Grove,
Stony Plain, Parkland County, and West Edmonton.



What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is an evidence-based profession that seeks to discover and implement current research, literature and best practices in the promotion of well-being for a client. Music is also used creatively and spontaneously in response to a client’s personal expressiveness and use of music within a session. A Certified Music Therapist will use a wide variety of interventions and techniques in order to reach the therapeutic goals for an individual client or a group to maintain and improve the health and well-being of an individual. Music Therapy includes a therapeutic relationship and interactions with a Music Therapist and not just the music.

What Music Therapy is Not

Music Therapy is not primarily entertainment or the recreational enjoyment of music. It is not education in that the goal isn’t to learn musical skills, theory or the ability to play a certain instrument. Music Therapy isn’t just music for relaxation or stimulation, and although it can include both, it reaches farther than these two goals. 

the clients

Who Benefits from
Music Therapy?

Almost everyone can benefit from Music Therapy due to its universal appeal. Most people enjoy of some form of music, and common populations that Music Therapists works with include people with:

This isn’t an exhaustive list, and people with many other types of conditions and disabilities can also benefit from Music Therapy.

Methods of Music Therapy

Within each method are many different types of activities and experiences that will promote health and well-being.
Sessions may
include one or more of these methods, as deemed necessary for the client.


In this method a variety of listening experiences are chosen to elicit specific responses. Receptive methods can include imagery and music, song discussion, music for pain management or helping to coordinate motor activities. Music is often used for relaxation or serves as a diversion from anxiety-producing stimuli.


The spontaneous use of music, including vocal, instrumental and body percussion, is used with individuals and groups to promote self-expression, nonverbal communication, socialization and to identify and explore feelings and situations. This innovative experience can be referential and structured according to a theme, or it can be non-referential. Improvisational methods can be used effectively with verbal and nonverbal clients.


Pre-composed music is used as the foundation in developing a new song, piece of music or a larger production. Clients are guided to creatively transform existing music into a new musical form through musical games, productions, and conducting music. This method is used to increase a sense of achievement and self-worth, improve socialization, memory, cognitive and sensorimotor skills. The therapeutic goals can focus on the process, product or at times both the process and product in equal measure.


The most common compositional method includes song writing, and in addition to this clients may also participate in song transformation, instrumental compositions or music collages. Clients might compose lyrics, vocal and/or instrumental parts to create an original work. This method develops communication, social and cognitive skills such as making decisions, planning and organization. It also promotes self-expression and the exploration of emotions, thoughts and experiences.


So is it Music
or Therapy?

It is both. Sometimes the music takes a more dominant role, and sometimes the verbal processing will become more dominant. This will depend upon a number of factors including whether the client is verbal or nonverbal, their age, level of pain, medical treatments, goals and objectives, level of training for the Music therapist, among other factors.

You can consult the Music Therapy Association of Alberta or the Canadian Association of Music Therapists for further information on Music Therapy.

Individual Session

Ideal for clients who thrive in a one-on-one setting, these sessions provide a private and confidential space for a deep exploration of personal goals, emotions, and challenges.

Group Session

Group sessions foster a sense of community, encouraging participants to explore the therapeutic benefits of music in a shared space.

Frequently Asked Questions

Virtually all types of music can be used in a session, and a therapist will use the client’s preferred music. The therapist and client may create their own improvised music, or play or listen to ethnic or cultural music, popular children’s songs, classical music or other genres including pop, rock, folk, blues, jazz, country, etc. Many different instruments are used in a Music Therapy session. The therapist often leads through singing, playing guitar, ukulele or piano, and the client and therapist together may use drums, handheld percussion instruments, piano, tone chimes, xylophones, wind instruments and other cultural instruments.

The process of Music Therapy often begins with a referral (not always), followed by an assessment and the development of a treatment plan. Goals and objectives are formulated, and treatment is implemented. Documentation of the client’s responsiveness to music are closely and continually observed and evaluated, to determine the effectiveness of the treatment plan. Termination happens when goals have been met and/or the client is unable to continue in Music Therapy for a variety of reasons.

Music Therapy sessions can run anywhere between 15 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending upon the age and needs of a client, and whether a client is participating in an individual or group session. Sessions can be scheduled as frequently as two or three times/week up to once a month. This will be determined by the Music Therapist, with consideration of the preferences and needs of the client and/or the client’s family.

According to the Music Therapy Association of Alberta, sessions with an accredited Music Therapist in private practice typically range from $75-$135 per billable hour, dependant upon but not limited to factors such as education, experience, group vs. individual sessions, number of service hours at one site, etc. Please note that these fees are only applicable to Music Therapists in private practice and not those employed under a union agreement.

Billable services can include direct client contact, documentation including session notes, assessment, evaluations, meetings/consultations, creation/preparation of session related materials, sessions cancelled with less than 24 hours notice, and any other services outlined by the certified Music Therapist.

This is beneficial but not essential to starting Music Therapy. Most students have various assessments done (Speech/Language, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, etc.) through their school system or privately, and as a Music Therapist I would review any previous assessments and incorporate the knowledge, goals and objectives into my treatment plan and sessions.The Music Therapist will conduct an assessment during the first sessions to determine a client’s preferences and responsiveness to specific instruments, genres and music therapy interventions and techniques. A baseline will be determined in all functional domains. A variety of formal Music Therapy assessments are also available as needed.

In Alberta, a professional regulatory college for counselling therapies is in the process of being established, through the Association of Counselling Therapies of Alberta (ACTA). When the college is proclaimed, music therapists, who are a member of ACTA, may have access to third party billing, although this is not a guarantee. After proclamation, this will likely help music therapists and other counselling therapists to gain increased recognition as a regulated professional under ACTA. Please consult your current funding provider to inquire if music therapy can be funded through them.

Let's see what music therapy can do for you.

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