page border

Music Therapy at Central Coast Conservatorium of Music


What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy differs from music education as its main goal is not to develop musical skills or learn a new instrument, but rather to aim to improve a person's health, functioning and well-being in a therapeutic setting that uses music interventions as the primary tool. Goals such as increasing social skills, providing ways to interact and communicate verbally and non verbally, developing cognitive awareness, gaining sensory motor skills, promoting relaxation, providing opportunities for reminiscence, working towards rehabilitation and providing opportunities for self expression can all be addressed through various Music Therapy techniques. An example of techniques that might be employed in a typical Music Therapy session are improvisation, song-writing, action songs, music and movement, receptive music and familiar song singing.

Who is Music Therapy for?

Many people of all ages and abilities can benefit from Music Therapy. Populations that Music Therapy may be used with include children and adults with:
  • intellectual and/or physical disabilities 
  • mood disorders
  • neurological disorders 
  • rehabilitation for stroke patients
  • behavioural problems
  • elderly and dementia patients
Each program is individualised to best suit each client’s needs and can range from ‘one-off’ visits, individually tailored programs and group programs.

What are Music Therapy goals?

Music Therapy sessions are structured according to the goals set out between the therapist and the client before sessions start. They may meet physical, psychological, social or emotional goals. These are then monitored throughout the sessions and evaluated at the end of a program or school term.

Music Therapy and Autism

Research shows music as an effective intervention for children and adults with autism, with various studies having shown a common connection and enjoyment that people with autism often have with music. As a person with autism may find it difficult to communicate through words, music can offer opportunities to express and interact with others in a non-confrontational way. This can assist in increasing their social skills and developing positive relationships with the people around them. Music Therapy has demonstrated its positive benefits and effectiveness as a motivating tool for children and adults with autism for increasing social skills, communication and positively affecting eye contact and tactile sensitivity.

Music Therapy and Dementia

The effect of music to bring back special memories for people with dementia has been illustrated in various studies, as well as its positive effects on behaviours such as anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness and wandering. As music pervades so many areas of the brain, it continues to function well after other parts of the brain do not. For people with dementia, music can provide moments of clarity and allow them to reminisce about special memories. It can also provide discussion points for groups, which can promote social connectedness and a sense of belonging.

Music Therapy and Rehabilitation

For stroke patients who have lost or had a reduction in their speech capacity (aphasia), singing lyrics to a song is often easier than speaking the words. As music pervades many parts of the brain, music therapy can be an effective way for the rehabilitation and recovery of speech through the use of melody, rhythm and lyrics.; For stroke patients, music therapy has shown to increase a patient's positive emotions and motivation for physical rehabilitation. It has been shown to be effective when coupled with other traditional therapies, with a significant increase in patients' recovery rates and their motivation for the use of traditional therapies.

About Us

Mission Statement

We seek to inspire our Central Coast community to engage in and value music as an integral part of life through comprehensive music education and artistic endeavour.