Music therapy is an allied health profession and one of the expressive therapies, consisting of an interpersonal process in which a trained music therapist uses music and all of its facets—physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual—to help clients to improve or maintain their health.
Music therapists primarily help clients improve their health across various domains (e.g., cognitive functioning, motor skills, emotional and affective development, behavior and social skills, and quality of life) by using music experiences (e.g., free improvisation, singing, songwriting, listening to and discussing music, moving to music) to achieve treatment goals and objectives. It is considered both an art and a science, with a qualitative and quantitative research literature base incorporating areas such as clinical therapy, biomusicology, musical acoustics, music theory, psychoacoustics, embodied music cognition, aesthetics of music, and comparative musicology. Referrals to music therapy services may be made by other health care professionals such as physicians, psychologists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Clients can also choose to pursue music therapy services without a referral (i.e., self-referral).