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Music Education vs. Music Therapy: Should there be a line?

I studied music therapy in college. At the end of my four years I decided to forgo the internship necessary to become certified and took up teaching the violin. I mention this only to make clear that I have exposure to the field but am not a certified, practicing music therapist.

What was interesting to me in my therapy classes was the emphasis placed on drawing the line between the fields of music education and music therapy. In many ways this makes perfect sense to me. Music therapists must define their role in order to "sell their product." They wish to work in a therapist capacity rather than be hired to direct the high school band or teach an instrument.

About three months ago I took on a special ed violin student. He has ADHD and occasional anxiety attacks. He's doing really well on the violin and his mom commented to me that playing the violin has improved his fine motor skills and has really helped him to organize and focus his thoughts. That comment made me start to think. Is the line between music education and music therapy really all that clear cut?

The way I see it, the process of learning or participating in music is therapeutic by nature. It has been scientifically proven that musicians develop certain areas of their brain that non-musicians do not. Even those who do not play an instrument will use music to affect their mood. For example, people will listen to certain music to make themselves excited or to relax.

I would be interested to see everyone's opinion on this matter. Does anyone have any experience with music therapy? How do you think that compares to a more traditional music lesson setting? Do you think people take away different things from these two environments?

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