Frequently asked questions

Do I need a referral?

Many clients are self-referred, or recommended by an allied health professional or family member. You can just contact us and make an enquiry. We will send out a referral form and more information about the service and go from there.

What is involved in a Music Therapy session?

Music Therapy sessions vary according to the setting, clients needs and the theoretical approach of the facility and music therapist. These sessions are designed around the non-musical treatment goals and objectives set up by the therapy team and the client. These sessions could be individual or group sessions, they could be with family members or key members of the client’s life or just between the therapist and client. Clients to not have to have any prior training or musical skills to benefit from music therapy.The interventions may include both passive and active participation. The client is not forced to participate in any way during the session and the sessions are set at the client’s participation pace. The sessions may include discussion, singing, playing instruments, relaxation, dyaphramic breathing, improvisation, song writing, movement activities, lyric analysis, or adaptive music lessons. These sessions are reviewed, and the focus of the sessions shift when necessary. The RMT works closely with the clients therapy team and provides a summary of the Music therapy sessions when needed.

Where is Music Therapy held?

You can come to us, or we can come to you. We see clients at our two clinic spaces, at the facilities listed, or in the community. Main Clinic Space: Granada Centre, Halswell Barrington Music Therapy Space: Please refer to the locations tab here Community: Where possible music therapy is carried out in a room where privacy can be guaranteed, and we won’t disturb others as we make sound. You do not need to own a piano as music therapist’s use a variety of portable instruments.

What is the difference between Music Therapy and Music teaching?

The difference is largely in the goals. Music therapy goals are non-musical whereas music teaching goals are musical. MT uses music as a tool to achieve non-musical goals. In some instances there may be improvements in musical abilities however this is not the focus. Music therapists focus on functional non-musical skills.

Can I observe a session?

Due to Privacy we do not have people observing the sessions, however we can have people observe the Cantabrainers choir on request. Please contact for more information or check out Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for regular updates and video content.

What training is required to become a Music Therapist?

Music Therapy is a 2 year Master’s Degree through New Zealand School of Music. To find out more go to: Please note: People do call themselves Music Therapists and they do not have the training. Ask them about their training – and to be sure ask if they are registered. A Registered MT meets the qualifications and professional standards of the NZ registration board.

What is the cost?

SMT services range from $85+gst for individual sessions. Our group sessions are a little less per person. Please contact SMT for an updated list of service costs. Our Service fees reflect the quality, professionalism and integrity of our music therapy service. We accept funding from a number of sources including ACC, individualized funding, carer support and other funding bodies. For a list or further enquire please contact Our Registered Music Therapists have been recognized by Ministry of Education – ORRS Funding Ministry of Health- Individualized Funding ACC – sensitive claims Please talk to your caseworker and contact our director

Do I need to be able to play an instrument?

Music Therapy is not teaching someone how to play an instrument, nor do we require clients to be able to play an instrument, or be able to sing in tune, or even beat on time. The sessions often involve activate engagement, which is well supported by the Music therapists with improvised music on an instrument, or a familiar sung song. Our services focus is on the tool of music, and is a strengthen based approach. Therefore, we do not point out the challenges, but find a successful way to move forward that is engaging and motivating as well as stimulating the neuro pathways in the brain with this incredible tool - music.

Where can I find more information on Music Therapy?

There are plenty of resources online which are included below Artefact series on Taonga Puoro featuring music therapy (only available in New Zealand) Million Dollar Mission feature on music therapy Music Therapy New Zealand Voices online journal American Music Therapy Association Victoria University - Training as a music therapist Working as a music therapist in New Zealand

Yes ! I want Music Therapy. What are the steps to take?

Steps to take to get a session Contact and ask for a referral form. Fill in referral form sent to you after your initial contact. Check on the website LINK to see if you are involved with any of the organisations that may be able to help you with funding. A consultation will take place over the phone to assess the needs and correct fit for the client. We aim to match our clients with the right Music Therapist.

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