What is a Music Therapist? Consider Us Your Personal Trainer!

Is music therapy really like personal training?

Posted Mar 31, 2010

Have you read my short bio? In the upper right corner of your screen?

If you have (and if you're like 70% of the people I meet), you'll say, "Music therapy? What's that?"

Last fall, in an attempt to educate the masses, I created this short, 3-minute video that answers the question "What is music therapy?":

But lately, I've been thinking about another way to describe what I do: I'm your personal trainer.

See, most of us already use music as "therapy." We have ways of using music to help us feel better, to help us concentrate, and to help us work harder. For example:

Music is totally my therapy. I listen to Taylor Swift when I'm feeling down.

Listening to Mozart helps me concentrate at work.

I ALWAYS work out to Madonna...she keeps me going!

And, in a sense, those are ways to use music as "therapy." We innately find ways of using music and music-based strategies to help us achieve a different state of being.

In this light, anyone can use music as therapy--just like anyone can go to the gym. We are perfectly capable of creating our own exercise programs, using the machines, and running on the treadmill.

But what do you do if you really want to see results? If you really want to lose those 30 lbs. of baby weight? If you really want to train for that marathon? You hire a professional--a personal trainer.

A personal trainer will come in, assess your physical strengths and weaknesses, help you establish your personal fitness goals, and develop a training program tailored specifically for your needs and body type.

Music therapists---we're like your personal trainers. We come in to a situation, assess your strengths and needs, work with you to establish treatment goals, then develop a treatment protocol tailored to meet your individual needs and goals. We are qualified to help you get better cognitively, emotionally, socially, and physically. We can target communication goals, sensory-integration goals, and interpersonal goals. We approach our work armed with knowledge of how music affects brain and behavior function and ready to use that knowledge to help make your life better.

If you are interested in finding your own music therapy "personal trainer," you can search for one in your area by visiting

Follow me on Twitter @KimberlySMoore for daily updates on the latest research and articles related to music, music therapy, and music and the brain. I invite you also to check out my website,, for additional information, resources, and strategies.