6 components of Bruscia’s working definition of music therapy

Systematic process of intervention

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therapist helps client

Promote Health

Using Music Experiences

Relationships formed through them

As dynamic forces of change

Music Therapy is a systematic process of intervention wherein the therapist helps the client to promote health, using music experiences and the relationships that develop through them as dynamic forces of change.

5 major populations served by music therapists

individuals in need of mental care

individuals with developmental disabilities

older adults and those with Alzheimer’s 

hospital care

individuals with neurological disorders

Populations recently being served by music therapists
women with premature children as well as in individuals in prison care
What was the initial purpose of institutional music programs? How does it differ now?

Originally institutional music programs were to develop performance groups. Now institutional music is used as a method of communication and expression. 

List five most prevalent settings in which music therapists work.

Hospitals/healthcare facilities

Schools/Childrens facilities

Geriatric facilities

Mental health facilities


1. Describe the use of music in health care in the following:

a. Preliterate cultures

b. Antiquity

c. European Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque Periods

(a) Music was used in preliterate cultures as a way to fight off the evil spirits. They believed music was a way to soothe the Gods.

(b) In ancient Egypt, 5000 B.C.  healers generally based a treatment philosophy on only one. Egyption music healers enjoyed a priviledge existence due to their close relationships with priests.

Music was a special force over thought, emotion, and physical health in ancient Greece.

(c) In this time frame music began to be used in instutitions as well as an important part in the four humors. They believed that one must have a balance of the four humors in order to live healthy

What and when was the earliest known reference to music therapy in the United States? What did it say? 

The earliest reference to music therapy in the U.S. was an unsigned article in the Columbian Magazine in 1789 entitled “Music Physically Considered.” The article noted how music can be used to regulate and influence emotions ( a principle first popularized by Descartes)

Where was the first university-based music therapy course taught and by whom?

The first University to offer a music therapy course was New York City’s Columbia University with Margret Anderton as the founder. 

. Who was E. Thayer Gaston?  Why is he important to the history of music therapy in the US? What did some associates call him?

Gaston started the first graduate music therapy program in the US at the University of Kansas. He was known as the “father of music therapy.”

William Sears
William Sears edited the journal of music therapy. 
Eva Vescelius

Eva Vescelius- promoted music therapy through numerous publications and the National Therapeutic Society of New York (she founded in 1903)

Music and Health she provided a view of music therapy based on old and contemporary concepts of health and disease. She felt that the object of therapy was to “return the sick person’s discordant vibrations to harmonious ones.” She provided precise treatments for fevers, insomnia, and other ailments with music. 

Seymour founded the National Foundation for Music Therapy in 1941. She eventually wrote a text on MT. 
Isa Maud Islen

Isa Maud Ilsen founded the National Association for Music in Hospitals in 1926. Worked with Anderton at Columbia.

Believed that mt can be used for physical ailments and helping pain.

Believed rhythm to be the vital therapeutic component in music (and that jazz music was inappropriate for treatment)

National Assocation of Music Therapists founded in 1950 (first profession music therapy program)
American Association of Music Therapy established in 1971
American Music Therapy Association, established in 1998