PG Diploma


What is Music Therapy | Aims and Objectives | Approach | Where do Music Therapists work | Beneficiaries | Benefits | Projects | Music Therapy in India | Music Therapy in Nepal

arrow What is Music Therapy

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 is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the qualified music therapist provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, clients' abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives. Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in many areas such as: overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing people's motivation to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings. (American Music Therapy Association ( 2011)

Music therapy is based on the understanding that the ability to respond to music is an inborn quality in all human beings. This ability usually remains unimpaired by impairments, injury or illness and is not dependent on musical training.

In music therapy we work to achieve therapeutic aims by developing a musical relationship where emotions and thoughts can be expressed. Music is used as a tool to develop individuality, communication and social skills, sense of confidence, motivation and self expression, as well as to enhance well being and quality of life for people of all ages with a range of needs and challenges.

arrow Aims and Objectives

This program is set up to have long-term benefits by training Indian music therapists and helping them to initiate, develop and promote music therapy throughout India, thereby reaching thousands of children, adults and families with difficult life challenges and issues.

The establishment of music therapy in India will not only bring huge improvements to the quality of life of marginalized children and adults, but to their families who may be prevented from working and trapped in a cycle of poverty leading to stress and sometimes crime. Wider society will also benefit from the availability of treatment for mental health issues and from the raising of awareness of the issues surrounding treatment for children and young people with critical needs.


Approaches to music therapy rely on the spontaneous incorporation of music that is personally adapted to meet the clients? needs. The therapist commonly improvises music through the use of percussion or tuned instruments, or his/her own voice, in order to respond creatively to the client?s strengths and the sounds or movements produced. In sessions, the therapist finds ways to support the client?s needs and encourages the client to create his or her own music and/or musical language.

Instruments are selected which are non-threatening to the client. Some people have a strong preference for one type of music genre or sound and find others intolerable, so an individualistic approach is used for people.

The aim is to create a safe and aesthetically pleasing environment within which the client feels comfortable and confident to express him/herself. For some clients who have expressive issues, music therapy techniques often help them experience a wider range of emotions and discover what it is like to be in a two-way communicating relationship. For persons facing losses, music therapy methods are found to help them find comfort, support and sense of hope.

arrow Where do Music Therapists work

Pre-school nurseries and assessment centres for children with special needs
Special schools, including those for children with mild and severe learning difficulties
and with hearing or visual impairments.
Residential centres for children with social, behavioural or emotional problems
Hospitals and palliative care centres for people with a range of illnesses or medical or
neurological problems.
Rehabilitation centres for people recovering from illnesses, trauma or chronic
Community-based services for marginalized children, adults, families
Centres offering care to people with learning difficulties and mental health problems
Day or long term centres or homes for the elderly
Business premises for those experiencing stress-related symptoms

arrow Beneficiaries

Music therapists work with adults and children of all ages and with a wide range of physical, developmental, emotional and social needs including:

? Autistic Spectrum Disorder
? Cerebral Palsy
? Learning Difficulties
? Down?s Syndrome
? Epilepsy
? Emotional Behavioral Concerns
? Communication Problems
? Challenging Behavior
? Mental Health Problems
? Neurological Conditions
? Physical Impairments
? Sexual Abuse
? Cancer, Life Threatening Illnesses, End-of-life Care
? HIV / Aids
? Post Traumatic Stress
? Addiction

arrow Benefits

Music Therapy helps people to:
? Build positive relationships with the therapist, carers, friends and othe people
? Develop an ability to listen and attend
? Improve physical, emotional and cognitive development
? Relieve tension, anxiety, symptoms of stress
? Develop communication, motor and social skills
? Develop self-awareness, motivation, confidence, creativity and choice
? Reduce isolation and distress and fulfill their potential.
? Find comfort and sense of peace
? Manage Pain

arrow Projects

?The Songs for Hope Project?: Beginning in the beginning of 2012, TMTT will be conducting ongoing music therapy sessions with small groups of children at the Bal Sayhog Centre, a residence for orphans in Delhi. The music therapists will engage children in group song writing activities, incorporating the lyrics and melodies created by children in sessions and the process will be facilitated by the therapists. During the 6 month process, each child in each group will have his own opportunity to compose a song and each child will have his own opportunity to direct his own song process, serving as the ?group director.? Songs will be audio recorded onto CDs and children may design their CD covers, as art work will be encouraged as a way to help children creatively express feelings, thoughts, dreams and hopes.

Capacity development projects:

Blind Welfare Council, Dahod, Gujarat

The music therapy classes with special educators have enabled 5 special educators to set up a music-based unit to work with 270 children with disabilities. TMTT provided free music therapy by a TMTT music therapist to 15 special children for three months. 35 special children did dance and music performances in a special show ?Celebration of Life? designed by TMTT.

Mangal Murti Trust Vikalang Trust, Junagadh, Gujarat

The music therapy classes with special educators are ongoing and are enabling 15 educators to use music-based activities with 810 children with special needs.
Navashkti Vidyalay for Developmentally Challenged Children? Rajkot, Gujarat,
22 participants from 13 organizations and special needs schools attended ?An Introduction to Music Therapy? Workshop. This workshop aimed to help raise awareness of the potential for music with special needs children.

Shree Mahadev Educational and Rehabilitation Public Charitable Trust Surat, Gujarat,
A TMTT music therapist conducts ongoing sessions and workshops with 15 educators to help them use music with 80 special needs children. The music therapist offers demonstrations and provides hands-on suggestions to help benefit the children in this region.


TMTT provided music therapy services to several special needs children as part of a series of ongoing monthly workshops held with 10 special educators. These workshops aimed to inform educators about music therapy and suggest ways to incorporate music in their classes. These workshops have helped approximately 540 children with special needs to receive music-based services.

Specialized Projects:

Music Therapy in Oncology and Palliative Care

Clinical music therapy services are now being provided by Dr. Lucanne Magill in hospitals caring for patients of all ages who are diagnosed with cancer and their families. In addition, a Student Training Program has been developed within which students are learning the aetiology of cancer, assessment methods, treatment goals and common approaches used to address symptoms such as pain, anxiety, fatigue, dyspnea/apnea, isolation, nausea and depression. Pre and post familial support skills are also being taught, including bereavement follow-up. Students have observation time and learn to work as members of multi disciplinary teams. A 900 hour Music Therapy Internship Program is offered. As patients and families in these settings may experience a range of emotions due to loss, students spend significant time in self reflection and in supervision.

Music Therapy in Trauma and Disaster Relief

The TMTT Music Therapy team is offering music therapy services in areas in and around Delhi in which individuals have been affected by trauma and disaster. For example, there are refugee camps where music therapists are working with survivors of war. The Post Graduate Diploma students are trained in disaster relief including services to support those facing global crises, such as, for example, poverty, war, public health diseases and/or natural disasters.

arrow Music Therapy in India


?Music Club? is a unique music club run by a TMTT music therapist for children and teens with physical or emotional challenges. The ?excluded? children, i.e. who have been rejected or excluded by family or society, work together with a music therapist using rhythms, songs and instruments. The project aims to enhance self esteem, to offer support and to help the children through music to express their pain, anger and neglect so they can return to mainstream education.

?Music Therapy with the Disadvantaged? TMTT is working in collaboration with Bal Sahyog, a Delhi-based Children?s Home for children in need of care and protection, which provides residential and educational facilities to about 100 children from disadvantaged families. With TMTT music therapists, the orphaned and street children and teens engage in instrument playing, music making and song writing to help enhance self esteem, sense of pleasure and improve their social and leadership skills.
?Music Therapy with Autism? TMTT works closely with autistic children and their families through an ongoing collaboration with Action For Autism (AFA). At the TMTT Music Centre situated at AFA, many children receive individual/group music therapy sessions and parents attend workshops to explore the use of music at home. Likewise, TMTT partners with Anchal Charitable Trust to offer music therapy sessions to 24 children and teens with autism, cerebral palsy, learning difficulties or physical disabilities in the slums of East Delhi and Ghaziabad.

?Music Therapy with Children with HIV?: India is home to the world?s largest population of HIV orphans and these children face staggering risks and typically die young or live on the streets. TMTT provides music therapy services to children at the NAZ AIDS Foundation, New Delhi, a foster home for children who are HIV positive, many of whom have been abandoned and are traumatized. The children are engaged in interactive music making in sessions and build nurturing and affirming relationships through sessions the music therapists and with others at the home.

?Music Therapy Drum Circles with Mainstreamed School Children?: TMTT conducts ongoing drum circles with children receiving main stream education. Groups of children engage with TTMT music therapists in drum circles that are directed towards helping the children develop social and leadership skills through exploring rhythms, vocal and natural sounds. Sessions take place at ?Teen Murti Bhavan,? Delhi.

Download India Newsletter

arrow Music Therapy in Nepal

The Music Therapy Trust was successful in introducing the first clinical music therapy to Nepal. Nepalese musician, Mr Kedar Gandhari, trained in New Delhi with The Music Therapy Trust for the Postgraduate Diploma in Music Therapy. His training was sponsored by a benefactor from the Ealing Kathmandu Friendship Association UK. Mr Gandhari qualified in December 2009 and has now returned to Nepal to set up the first clinical music therapy there in partnership with Autism Care Nepal. Autism Care Nepal sees music therapy to be an integral part of their work with children and The Music Therapy Trust is joining them in this unique development.

Kedar belongs to the Gandharba community, one of the traditional musical castes of Nepal. He previously worked as a street musician in Kathmandu and taught traditional folk instruments, such as Sarangi and Drum. As a volunteer he taught drumming to street children in Thamel, Kathmandu to help rehabilitate them by the means of music. Now that he has qualified, Kedar is using his skills and experience to provide music therapy to autistic children at Autism Care Nepal and to the wider community of Nepal.

In order to spread music therapy to more children in Nepal, Mr Gandhari will also train other special educators in modified music therapy and they in turn will then be able to help hundreds of disadvantaged and disabled children throughout Nepal.

The Ealing Kathmandu Friendship Association UK is committed to supporting Kedar?s work and in 2010 raised funds to contribute to the success of the project. Members of the Association visited Autism Care Nepal in 2010 to provide training workshops and gather information and evidence of the effectiveness of music therapy at ACN.

Music Therapy session with Kedar Gandhari


Autism Care Nepal (ACN) is a small organization founded in April 2008 by a group of parents of autistic children. Their aim is to provide information and support for families with an autistic child. There is very little awareness of autism in Nepal, a lack of medical expertise means children are rarely diagnosed, there are no specialised teachers, therapy or support and society is not willing to accept children with autism. Most are left undiagnosed, and will end up in a mental institute or be hidden in the house away from the social world.

Working with Children at Autism Care Nepal

Due to the lack of diagnosis there are no reliable figures, but Autism Care Nepal estimates that there are between 10,000 to 50,000 autistic people in Nepal.

Autism Care Nepal wants to educate, raise awareness and act for the rights of autistic children throughout Nepal. They are working to improve diagnosis, provide information and therapies and are running specialised behavioral and educational programmes for children to develop social skills, speech and language skills and life skills. Music therapy is a vital part of this work.

Download Nepal Newsletter

All contents copyright 2012, The Music Therapy Trust India, New Delhi India All rights reserved.
Website Designed and Developed by