Music Therapy

The American Music Therapy Association states: Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.

Music therapy interventions can be designed to:
  • Promote Wellness
  • Manage Stress
  • Alleviate Pain
  • Express Feelings
  • Enhance Memory
  • Improve Communication
  • Promote Physical Rehabilitation
What is public school music therapy (MT) service?
As a related service according to IDEA, MT service assists students to be functional participants in their educational environment.  Music therapists provide direct and consult services to a student when assessed to show that MT is needed to assist in gaining IEP progress.  Music therapy may include:
  • providing and modeling songs to teachers to help with specific IEP objectives
  • providing ideas to assist with MT relaxation techniques and those to assist with regulation and sensory needs
  • use of music and music activities to help a student achieve on their IEP
What are the levels of MT service?
  • Direct: provided directly as coded on their IEP to a student either individually or within a group when MT is shown to provide a unique assist and/or motivation in performing goal related behavior
  • Consult: monthly or quarterly direct sessions with the student, as coded on their IEP, to develop MT strategies to be shared with the classroom for classroom implementation.
  • Resource: MT ideas provided on an informal basis upon request to a teacher or parent when a student would not qualify for direct/consult services. This sometimes includes information on the Supplementary Aides and Services section of the IEP.
Which students are eligible for MT services on their IEP?
Using the Music Therapy Referral Checklist, a teacher determines that a student is not making IEP progress and appears to demonstrate positive behaviors when music is in the classroom environment

The school will contact a MT to have them complete an informal pre-assessment observation to determine if the guidelines are met

If the MT determines that a student qualifies for an assessment, a team is held to give permission to assess.

A SEMTAP (Special Education Music Therapy Assessment Process), MT-SEAS (Music Therapy Special Education Assessment Scale) or other applicable assessment is completed by the music therapist within 60 days.  The SEMTAP (1995) and MT-SEAS (2007) are used nationally by music therapists in public school systems.
Who provides school MT services?
Music Therapy services are provided by nationally Board Certified Music Therapists who are employed by BCPS.  The MT-BC status signifies that each has completed a degree or equivalency degree in music therapy from an approved American Music Therapy Association program, completed an intensive 6 month internship, have passed an MT Board Certification exam, and continue to either retake the exam or complete ongoing continuing education programs equaling 100 credits every 5 years.

Music therapists are part of the transdisciplinary team who use music therapy interventions to assist with IEP objectives provided by other team members for a student.
What is the difference between public school MT and private MT?
School MT services must prove to be required for a student to benefit and make progress in their educational programs when determined by assessment results using the SEMTAP, MT-SEAS or other appropriate assessment.  Private MT can address other areas of a disability that do not interfere with education and qualification is not based on SEMTAP, MT-SEAS or other assessment results.
How can I find out more about school based MT?
If your child attends a Baltimore County Public School: Contact your child’s teacher or IEP chairperson assigned to your child’s school.