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Online Harmonies, Offline Healing: A Detailed Overview of Virtual Music Therapy

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Picture this: A lively music therapy session is unfolding, not in a clinic or a living room, but in a moving car on a bustling highway. Meet 'Amanda,' a board-certified music therapist, and 'Cameron,' her spirited young client. Both names have been changed to protect their privacy, but their story remains a powerful testament to the boundless possibilities of virtual music therapy.

Amanda and Cameron's sessions typically involve lots of movement and interaction. When a sudden family trip threatened to disrupt their routine, they faced a choice: Reschedule, or take the session on the road. Embracing the spirit of adaptability at the core of her practice, Amanda took on the challenge, turning a simple car ride into a breakthrough therapy session. The result? An engaging, effective, and deeply memorable musical experience that transcended the boundaries of traditional therapy settings.


Embarking on this journey with Cameron was not only a testament to the adaptability of our therapists but also an exemplification of how transformative virtual music therapy can be. This unique approach to therapy, as you will soon discover, isn't limited by location or circumstance, and we at The House of Music Therapy are committed to turning every situation into a potential moment of growth.


What most people don’t know about music therapy is that it’s a modern and widely-applicable approach to therapy that can help nearly everyone overcome obstacles or challenges. In fact, music therapy is a tool used by people across all walks of life - it’s not “just for kids” or reserved for those facing specific disabilities or struggles.


Our goal at The House of Music Therapy has always been to make music therapy accessible and approachable to ALL, which is why we’re so passionate about our virtual music therapy offering. In an effort to make it easier than ever for anyone, anywhere to experience the power of music therapy, we’re proud to offer virtual therapy options and expand our reach even further.


In an effort to help you better understand the benefits of music therapy and the accessible options we offer through virtual programs, we’re highlighting some of the most commonly asked questions and important considerations.


What is Music Therapy?

In its simplest form, music therapy is a form of therapy that focuses on addressing the concerns and needs of a person through a variety of music-focused support options specific to each individual. This approach can vary greatly when used, which is a great example of our client-specific approach.

When it comes to our music therapy offerings, we create a custom-tailored approach that blends together a collection of musical options chosen specifically for the individual to meet their specific needs. You will find that your music therapy sessions might look nothing like your neighbor’s, and that is by design.


Music therapy can be used to improve any cognitive, emotional, mental, and social needs that a person might want to address. As a bonus, it does all of this while offering a genuinely pleasant and fun experience. While therapy does have a tendency to make each of us feel a bit more vulnerable, and we might face difficult thoughts or emotions, music therapy also offers an added degree of catharsis that people really love.


Want to learn more about how music therapy actually works inside your brain? Check out this video from Neuro Transmissions which answers the question “Can music be medicine?”


Who Can Benefit from Virtual Music Therapy?

Like most other kinds of therapy, music therapy is a therapeutic approach that a lot of different people can benefit from. It’s often mistakenly believed that music therapy is only beneficial for those with a complex understanding of music, but this really isn’t true. Though you will rely on musical techniques in music therapy, there aren’t any prerequisites to this kind of therapy. And while some clients, such as young children or seniors, may require additional assistance with setup and login procedures, the therapeutic goals remain consistent across virtual and in-person sessions.


Most people find that music therapy is a productive, valuable fit for them, which is why there’s a growing interest in this approach to therapy. Not only is music therapy effective for treating anxiety, depression, and PTSD—but it can also be used for someone on the spectrum looking to improve their social skills, or someone who is looking to move past their fear of certain situations or spaces. This is a truly broad approach to therapy, and that is part of what makes it so special - and so comfortable - for those who embrace it.

As you get further into your music therapy, you will find that it has a tendency to evolve alongside you. As you make improvements and take on new challenges with your music therapist, there will always be new options to try and new ways to explore. This form of therapy is deeply personal, and your music therapist will work to provide you with complete support along the way. There is music therapy for children, music therapy for adults, and music therapy for teens too!


With the addition of our virtual music therapy offerings, we’re now able to bring music therapy to an even larger audience, including those who find outings a challenge or who live a bit farther away from our South Florida service area (which generally includes Lee, Collier, Sarasota, Orange, and De Soto counties and surrounding areas). Thanks to our effective, comprehensive virtual offerings, we’ve extended our reach into new areas and continue to help our clients thrive. This means that if you live in a more rural area, or location has never permitted you to consider music therapy as an efficient option, that can change thanks to virtual therapy.

 

“Virtual music therapy can support a variety of goal areas, including speech and language development or rehabilitation, fine and gross motor skill development or rehabilitation, cognitive development or rehabilitation, emotional regulation, coping skills, and self-confidence enhancement.” – Ana Lopez, Clinical Director, The House of Music Therapy

 

Why is Virtual Music Therapy Important?

As we’ve already mentioned, there’s a wide variety of music therapy options available. However, the importance of virtual music therapy has become more evident than ever. After the events of 2020, many of us found solace and comfort at home, leading to a surge in the demand for virtual services across nearly every industry.


Recognizing this shift, we’ve worked diligently to create virtual music therapy programs that are accessible to those who need them most. This means that instead of visiting our music therapy locations in person, we’re utilizing innovative tools and technology to offer virtual music therapy right where you are.


By enhancing accessibility with virtual music therapy, we allow our clients to benefit from music therapy from the comfort of their own homes or while they travel. This approach has further instilled a sense of safety, trust, and inspiration in our clients. Our virtual music therapy sessions also help reduce feelings of overwhelm or overstimulation, making therapy more comfortable and effective.


This evolution towards virtual music therapy has not only made therapy more accessible but also flexible to fit the unique needs and lifestyles of our clients.


What to Expect From a Virtual Music Therapy Session

New experiences can be stressful, anxious, or overwhelming to some, and we always hope to give you the information needed to feel more at ease and comfortable ahead of your therapy experience. While we can’t guarantee what the future of your sessions will look like, we can address where it will start and what you might expect.

Every single one of us is different, and we all have different needs. Our initial virtual assessment will help your music therapist to understand your needs so that they can make a tailored approach that will help you to meet those goals through virtual means.


During your first session, it’s likely that you and your music therapist will focus on familiarizing the technological aspects of virtual therapy. From your equipment to software to limitations or enhancements, we’ll focus in finding balance and creating an optimal experience for you. From there, you might engage in activities like song sharing via online platforms, engaging in virtual music games, or establishing a reliable tech support contact.

 

“As therapy progresses beyond the initial session, activities will align more closely with the individual's therapeutic goals. Clients may participate in a variety of musical experiences such as singing, playing instruments either virtually or in real life, engaging with virtual music resources like GarageBand and Chrome Music Lab, composing music, or simply listening to music.” – Ana Lopez, Clinical Director, The House of Music Therapy

 

The Benefits of Music Therapy

You might be wondering what kinds of tangible impact music therapy can have on you or a family member, and we’re eager to share some of the most common and impactful benefits that we see across our experience. That being said, it should be noted that since no two people, or their support plans, are alike, benefits can and do vary from person to person. We can tell you that most of our patients experience a wide variety of benefits over time, and continue to build upon their learned skills and improved confidence long after their sessions are over.


In our “Skeptic’s Guide to Music Therapy,” we address some of the more indisputable benefits of music therapy, including encouraged feelings of calmness and security, relief from stress and anxiety, released endorphins, improved communication in young people, improved motor skills, and activation across brain regions.


But beyond some of these more commonly known benefits, here are a few of our favorite ways we’ve seen our patients thrive thanks to music therapy:

● Increased confidence with peers or strangers

● Focused motor skills for relevant job tasks, hobbies, and activities

● Socialization for children and adults who struggle to connect with others

● Newfound sense of purpose or passions towards music or creativity

● Stability across mental health challenges and reduced stress or anxiety

● Increased clarity across other areas of life

 

“Among the most rewarding aspects of providing virtual music therapy services are the opportunities to reach clients in rural areas where in-person therapy may not be feasible, and fostering a sense of independence in clients through their interaction with technology. Witnessing clients broaden their understanding and use of technology beyond simple internet browsing or gaming to support their overall well-being is particularly gratifying.” – Ana Lopez, Clinical Director, The House of Music Therapy

 

After continued support through music therapy, most of our patients find virtual sessions to be a highlight of their week, enabling them to unwind and enjoy themselves amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life. From homework to taxes to careers to self-criticism to learning how to speak and beyond, our approach to music therapy aims to help our clients reach their goals while having fun.


What Sets The House of Music Therapy Apart?

While there are a number of music therapy options available to you, The House of Music Therapy is proud of the experience they’ve created for their patients and members. We’re eager to spread the word about what makes us so unique, especially when it comes to virtual music therapy.


Our virtual music therapy service distinctively sets itself apart from other virtual therapies by effectively leveraging cutting-edge technology and innovative techniques. We are pioneers in the creative application of green screen technology, traditionally used in film and television, to immerse our clients fully in the therapeutic musical experience. Taking inspiration from some of our favorite children's cartoons, we’re able to craft lively, engaging, and visually stimulating environments that resonate with clients of all ages.


Another distinguishing factor is our emphasis on non-verbal communication. With input from body language experts, we enhance the nuances of therapy in a virtual setting, maintaining the personal touch and subtleties of in-person sessions. This unique approach enables therapists to better understand and respond to a client's feelings, reactions, and progress even through the digital medium.


By merging innovative tech tools, valuable insights from diverse fields, and our deep-rooted music therapy expertise, we’re able to offer a unique virtual therapy experience that is immersive, intuitive, and holistic. This service surpasses conventional teletherapy boundaries, reaching and positively impacting clients in ways that are more engaging and therapeutic than ever before.


Our Interactive Approach to Virtual Music Therapy

Knowing that many families struggled to navigate virtual learning throughout their schooling experiences during the pandemic, we’ve continued to prioritize a more engaging and interactive approach. In an effort to keep young ones feeling connected through virtual means, we’ve continued to innovate across our offerings in order to make a tangible impact on their lives through a virtual therapy experience.


In an effort to flip the script on virtual learning and virtual telehealth, we’ve leveraged several of the tools already mentioned above to create a value-packed and resource-driven YouTube channel. Not only is our page regularly updated with new content, we continue to define what it means to be innovative in the space by creating virtual music therapy content that works.


Parents can explore fresh interactive video therapy options that incorporate their children’s favorite songs and characters and enable growth through singing, dancing, and colorful self-expression. Videos like Sleepytime Melodies and Fun In The Sun leverage the power of storytelling to engage young minds and nurture their sense of creativity. These videos exemplify our mission to provide virtual therapy resources to families who otherwise face barriers to entry in the space, making it easier than ever before to dabble in virtual learning from the comfort of your own home, the car, or when traveling.


Other videos, like Hello Around The World, nurture language and communication skills through colorful visuals and engaging voices. Some of our resources focus on breathwork and calming approaches to self-regulating, allowing parents to set their kids up for success in school and at home. No matter your age or comfort level with therapy options, these videos exist to serve anyone who might need more fun, relaxation, or enrichment at home.


Unexpected Virtual Music Therapy Perks

While you might imagine virtual music therapy to be fairly screen-intensive, requiring prolonged focus on a screen during a session, this isn’t always the case. Our virtual music therapy sessions often involve turning screens off for a different experience, and encourages physical activity (like dancing, moving from room to room, going on scavenger hunts, or exploring your environment) throughout a session. This multi-faceted approach often provides our patients (or their families) with encouraging enrichment during our time together.


For families or individuals who have felt burned by previous virtual health care or music therapy experiences, we can understand why there might be some hesitancy surrounding our programs and offerings. With the goal of providing a surprisingly and delightfully enjoyable experience, we put your time with us at the top of our priority list. This might be why we have a reputation for innovating and evolving to meet the needs of our communities across a variety of services and programs.


In fact, we’ve been honored to hear stories from several of our current clients who once lamented about previous experiences with other virtual therapy or music therapy options. After deciding to give us a chance to change their mind about therapy, they’ve been thrilled with their The House of Music Therapy experience.


Get In Touch With Us

Interested in learning more about The House of Music Therapy and what sets us apart? We offer a variety of resources across our website to help you gain a better understanding of music therapy and what we do. From our website, you can access our comprehensive blog (which features free resources and activities, as well as information about music therapy), authorization forms for various health plans and scholarships, free consultation booking, a comprehensive list of services and structures, information about who we are, and so much more.


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