Music for Our Brains and Hearts

Speech and Music Therapist, Kathleen M. Howland, talks about how music can affect us from before birth throughout our lives. Music can be a tool for diagnosing learning disabilities at very young ages.

Music has always been used to facilitate group efforts, such as working in a way where synchronized movements allow people to accomplish greater feats than if not-synchronized.

Music affects the brain in different ways, and can be used both as an assessment tool and as a therapeutic application to support and even repair neuron-networks.

Neurologists now work with music therapists to investigate the potentials for helping people with a variety of needs make progress. Music is about more than comfort or distraction. It’s about motivation, organization, coordination, relaxation, and stimulation.

Want more information about Music Therapy?

Contact Us or visit the American Music Therapy Association website.

Healing Through Music Therapy

Jodi Winnwalker has witnessed incredible transformations during her years as a Board-Certified Music Therapist. In this TEDx talk, she shares  pictures and videos that illustrate the power of music and the healing transformations that can take place when this beloved art form is used in a therapeutic setting.

She talks about what makes music therapy effective, why music is a ‘whole-brain’ experience, and shares insights into how music therapists think about their craft.

Music + Therapy

Most people understand what it means to be a therapist. Terms, such as speech therapist, physical therapist, and talk therapist are common in our daily lives. Similarly, most people understand what it means to be a musician or play music. Why is it then, that when people here the term “Music Therapist” they seems to have no idea what it means?

  • Is that therapy for musicians?
  • Is that like when you play music for people to relax?

In this TEDx talk, music therapist Erin Seibert, MT-BC shares her mission: To have “Music Therapist” become a household term.

Need more information about Music Therapy?

Visit the American Music Therapy Association website.

Contact Golden State Music Therapy for a free consultation.

What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is the skilled and purposeful application of music-based experiences, within a therapist-client relationship, to help people realize their therapeutic goals and objectives. In short, music therapy is a healthcare profession where the therapist uses musical experiences to help people.

Golden State Music Therapy helps people in the Los Angeles area by providing services by Board-Certified music therapists. Clients include:

  • Children and adults receiving Palliative Care.
  • Adults with developmental disabilities.
  • Adults in Hospice care.
  • Adults in rehabilitation programs.

Contact us to find out more.

Music and Minds

People all around the world enjoy active music making, from infants to the elderly. Music is a universally enjoyable experience that not only captivates us, research is now showing that participation in music-based experiences can help re-wire our brains in ways that result in a higher quality of life.

Music Therapists are experts in the field of music-based therapy. A Board-Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) is a credentialed healthcare professional who custom designs interventions for therapeutic purposes. Music therapists visit clients in schools, retirement communities, day-care facilities, and homes.

Why is music good for your mind?

Researches tell us that music accesses more parts of our minds than just about any other experience. That’s right! Music lights up our brains in more ways than just about anything else we do, which is why it’s the perfect medium for maintaining and restoring function.

Playing music requires that we use more of our executive function, the part of our brains involved in complex tasks. But music also connects to our emotions and reward centers in our brains, which is why it works so well to motivate us to achieve and stay engaged in a music-based experience.

We know that the more we can stimulate our minds and stay active, the more capable we will be as we get older. The emotional component of music is unmatched in other types of therapies and it’s what makes music therapy a popular service among older adults and children alike.

To find out more about the many ways music therapy can help  you or your loved ones, visit other pages on this site and then visit the American Music Therapy Association website.


Golden State Music Therapy serves the greater Los Angeles area, including the San Fernando Valley, West Lake Village, Thousand Oaks, Beverly Hills, Glendale, Pasadena, and surrounding areas.

We Are Music Therapists

Music Therapy ServicesIt’s our pleasure to forward this message from our colleague, Judy Simpson, who is working with other MT-BCs  to further define music therapy as a unique profession and identify the unique qualities that set it apart from other allied healthcare fields. Enjoy!

Judy Simpson, MT-BC
Director of Government Relations, American Music Therapy Association

When I started my career as a music therapist in 1983, it was not uncommon for me to describe my profession by comparing it to other professions which were more well-known. If people gave me a puzzled look after I proudly stated, “I use music to change behaviors,” I would add, “Music therapy is like physical therapy and occupational therapy, but we use music as the tool to help our patients.” Over the years as I gained more knowledge and experience, I obviously made changes and improvements to my response when asked, “What is music therapy?” My enhanced explanations took into consideration not only the audience but also growth of the profession and progress made in a variety of research and clinical practice areas.

The best revisions to my description of music therapy, however, have grown out of government relations and advocacy work. The need to clearly define the profession for state legislators and state agency officials as part of the AMTA and CBMT State Recognition Operational Plan has forced a serious review of the language we use to describe music therapy. The process of seeking legislative and regulatory recognition of the profession and national credential provides an exceptional opportunity to finally be specific about who we are and what we do as music therapists.

For far too long we have tried to fit music therapy into a pre-existing description of professions that address similar treatment needs. What we need to do is provide a clear, distinct, and very specific narrative of music therapy so that all stakeholders and decision-makers “get it.” Included below are a few initial examples that support our efforts in defining music therapy separate from our peers that work in other healthcare and education professions.

  • Music therapist’s qualifications are unique due to the requirements to be a professionally trained musician in addition to training and clinical experience in practical applications of biology, anatomy, psychology, and the social and behavioral sciences.
  • Music therapists actively create, apply, and manipulate various music elements through live, improvised, adapted, individualized, or recorded music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages.
  • Music therapists structure the use of both instrumental and vocal music strategies to facilitate change and to assist clients achieve functional outcomes related to health and education needs.
  • In contrast, when OTs, Audiologists, and SLPs report using music as a part of treatment, it involves specific, isolated techniques within a pre-determined protocol, using one pre-arranged aspect of music to address specific and limited issues. This differs from music therapists’ qualifications to provide interventions that utilize all music elements in real-time to address issues across multiple developmental domains concurrently.

As we “celebrate” 2014’s Social Media Advocacy Month, I invite you to join us in the acknowledgement of music therapy as a unique profession. Focused on the ultimate goal of improved state recognition with increased awareness of benefits and increased access to services, we have an exciting adventure ahead of us. Please join us on this advocacy journey as we proudly declare, “We are Music Therapists!”

About the Author: Judy Simpson is the Director of Government Relations for the American Music Therapy Association. She can be reached at

About Music Therapy

Music therapy is an established health care profession that uses musical experience of all types within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals and groups.

Clinical research shows that children, adolescents, adults, and seniors can benefit from music therapy treatment through its use in physical rehabilitation, pain management, enriched special education services, emotional support, socialization, and wellness programs.

Music therapy is delivered by a Board-Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC), someone who has the skills and training to provide a broad range of music-based interventions, assess the needs and abilities of the client(s), recommend goals and objectives, develop treatment plans, and can effectively communicate with other members of the treatment team.

Golden State  Music Therapy provides individual and group music therapy sessions within the greater Los Angeles area for a variety of populations, including:

  • Persons with Special Needs (TBI, DD, ID, etc.)
  • Older Adults in Assisted Living and  Health Care Facilities
  • Adults in Addiction Treatment
  • Groups and Organizations with wellness goals (stress management, conflict resolution, etc.)