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Music therapists use music experiences as a professional practice to engage and foster change and/or growth in clients. These music experiences allow clients to view their health in an alternative and creative way. Music therapists practice within four main methods—improvisation, recreative, composition, and receptive—which are the foundation of practice and subsequently inform theory and research.

Historical Context

The belief that music affects health is at least as old as the writings of Aristotle and Plato. As a profession, music therapy began shortly after World War II. At the time, musicians were hired to play music for hospitalized veterans. Physicians soon realized the therapeutic value that performed music provided their patients. However, they also realized that musicians may find it challenging performing for severely physiologically and psychologically ill ...

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