Music Therapy Vs Music Education:

Despite the continued growth of the music therapy field, many may have trouble grasping a solid understanding of what music therapy really is and how it can help.  It is common to confuse music therapy with other forms of musical activity, especially music education.  You may be asking yourself, “why would my son or daughter need music therapy when he or she already is taking music classes at school?” or “how can music therapy help me beyond what my private music lessons are already doing?”.

The key to understanding the difference between music education and music therapy can be found when we take away the word ‘music’ Education is “the act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills”. Therapy on the other hand is “the treatment of disease or disorders, as by some remedial, rehabilitating, or curative process”. 

When we look at music therapy and music education under this light, we are able to more clearly see how they are different.  While music education focuses on improving musical skills, music therapy focuses on improving non-musical skills.  

That being said, many music therapists (including us at Wellington Music Therapy Services!) offer adapted music lessons.  Essentially, an adapted or integrated music lesson is exactly as its name suggests.  It is a music lesson in which certain adaptations or modifications have been implemented in order to best suit the special needs of the individual(s) involved.  The quality of learning and many concepts in an adapted music lesson will be the same as in a standard music lesson, but the modifications allow the participant to learn at a pace they are comfortable with and in a style that works best for them!  

Music therapy is very versatile and can look different depending on the unique and specific needs, abilities, and goals of the individual.  There are countless approaches to music therapy, each based on theories of psychology and musicality.  Music therapy is an evidence-based health profession with a strong research foundation.  Music therapists are fully equipped to assess needs and abilities and develop an approach and appropriate plan of action that works for you!  To learn more about the programs and sessions Wellington Music Therapy Services offer, please visit our website or contact us directly!

When to work with a music teacher:

  • You are interested in learning a new instrument 
  • You are interested in improving musical skills through study of technique, repertoire, sight-reading, and theoretical concepts

When to work with a music therapist:

  • You are interested in improving quality of life through improved motor skills, social skills, communication, emotional expression, behavioural development, cognitive functions, or coordination. 
  • You are interested in finding out about how you can use music as a tool to improve your mental, emotional, and physical well-being
  • You are interested in working with a clinically trained professional to discover therapeutic approaches that best serve your needs and that utilize your unique skills and abilities
  • You would like to learn or improve musical skills through adapted music lessons

Contact us to schedule a music therapy assessment or to start music lessons today!


“American Music Therapy Association.” American Music Therapy Association | American Music Therapy Association (AMTA),

by Admin. “ADAPTED MUSIC LESSONS VS MUSIC THERAPY SESSIONS – Queen Street Music: Located in Hespeler, Cambridge.” Queen Street Music | Located in Hespeler, Cambridge, 6 Sept. 2016,


“Music Therapy.” Theravive Counseling,