When people think of Music Therapy, writing songs with deep emotions is the first thing that comes to mind. Expressing deep emotions through the practice of songwriting is a technique that is used in a Music Therapy session. However, there are many ways to use songwriting in a session with a variety of diagnosis. In the podcast, “Music therapy and neuroplasticity: Rewiring the brain through therapeutic songwriting”, they discuss three different scenarios where songwriting was used in a music therapy session.
The first scenario was a client with a traumatic brain injury. The client had aphasia, the loss of the ability to understand and express speech, and dysphasia, the inability to correctly form words. The client was able to communicate with a picture book but felt it made her diagnosis obvious. The client was able to sing because that portion of the brain was not damaged. The music therapist took phrases the client would need in everyday life and put it to a melody line. The client would learn the phrase, practice the phrase, and then test it out in the appropriate setting.
The second scenario was a teenage girl who also had a traumatic brain injury. After the injury the client communicated with one word answers and would not reciprocate conversation; her parents wanted her to ease back into high school. The music therapist had the client write a song about a topic most teenage girls wish to talk about: boys. The music therapist ask the questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how; these helped facilitate the songwriting process. Once the song was completed the client then had points to talk about in conversation with other girls her age.
The final scenario was a group setting of high school students who did not have particular friend group or a club they were a member of. These students went through a group songwriting process lead by a music therapist. At the end of the process the students recorded a music video and performed two flash mobs; one flash mob took place in police office. After the students danced with the police officers and sang their original song one student stated that the police have never had a good memory of the police and now that had been changed.
These are all various scenarios that use songwriting as a therapeutic technique to help achieve a variety of therapeutic goals.
-Dana LaValley, Music Therapy Intern
Music therapy and neuroplasticity: Rewiring the brain through therapeutic songwriting. (March 25,
2017). Collective Music Therapy. Retrieved from: