Music therapist playing guitar to male and female care home residents

Music therapy

Music is a key part of our holistic approach to care and support. Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves.

What is music therapy?

Music therapy is a form of creative arts therapy that uses music as a medium to enhance the wellbeing of people of all ages and abilities. It involves a qualified music therapist using clinical, music-based interventions to help people communicate and express their emotions. Music therapy can also support people’s emotional wellbeing, and improve their cognitive and physical functioning.

Male resident plays drums whilst music therapist plays xylophone

Enhancing later life

At MHA, we are passionate about enhancing the quality of life for older people through accessing music therapy. Since the foundation of our music therapy service in 2008, we have grown to a team of 30 highly-skilled music therapists, who deliver individual and group sessions across our homes and schemes throughout England and Wales.

Our music therapy sessions are free of charge for care home residents, thanks to the generous donations from our supporters. In each session, our experienced music therapists employ their therapeutic skills to engage with residents by sharing live music, using singing, percussion, and expressive communication. Sessions also involve conversation and digital music technology when appropriate.

Music therapist plays piano and female residents laughs covering her mouth

Supporting people living with dementia

We work with people to support healthy, active aging. A large part of our work is currently with people living with a diagnosis of dementia, and the team has an in-depth understanding of the challenges that surround this aspect of aging.

Music therapy can help people with dementia to relieve stress, express emotions, and connect with others. The music therapy team collaborate with care colleagues to understand and respond to residents’ evolving needs, developing strategies to help with positive and person-centred relationships.

Music therapist plays guitar with female care home resident

The power of music

Music can evoke many different emotions and memories. It is a valuable way of supporting people’s autonomy, cultural identity and sexual identification, as well as giving them the opportunity to use their creativity. Music therapists consider people’s preferences and experience when providing a skilled clinical intervention for those identified as having specific needs.

Our Music Strategy sets out how music and music therapy enables residents and members to live later life well, as well as how it plays an important role for family members, colleagues, and engagement with the wider community.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Music therapy can have many positive effects on the health and wellbeing of older people, especially those living with dementia. Some of the benefits include:

  • Reducing distress behaviour  
  • Reducing depression
  • Enhancing memory, attention, and communication
  • Stimulating creativity and self-expression
  • Improving mood, confidence, and self-esteem
  • Providing social connection and enjoyment
  • Encouraging mobility and improved muscle tone.