What happens in a session?
Depending on age and the needs of the client, the duration of a session usually last from 30 minutes to 1 hour. This will be agreed in advance. There can be exceptions.
There are four main methods or types of music experience that can be used. These are improvisation, recreating, composing and listening (Bruscia, 1998).
The most common form of music interaction is improvisatory music making. A wide selection of instruments are on hand to offer everyone regardless of age, ability and musical experience an opportunity to express themselves through sound and play. This is usually done with supportive musical structures provided by the music therapist. How we feel can often manifest in how we play music. The trained music therapist is on hand to help validate feelings, direct musical experiences and help the client reflect on the creative process when appropriate.
Use of song writing, lyric analysis, song parody and singing are also common musical activities which can happen within a session.
Receptive music therapy involves the use of music listening. The music might be chosen by the client or the music therapist. Common goals in this area might include the use of recorded music for relaxation or for reminiscing on life events.
A session might involve participating in any one of these methods or a combination.