top of page

About Music Therapy

What is music therapy?

The Canadian Association of Music Therapists defines music therapy as:

“a discipline in which Certified Music Therapists (MTAs) use music purposefully within therapeutic relationships to support development, health, and well-being. Music therapists use music safely and ethically to address human needs within cognitive, communicative, emotional, musical, physical, social, and spiritual domains.” Canadian Association of Music Therapists, September 2020.


What do music therapists do?

Certified music therapists (MTAs) conduct initial assessments, establish clinical goals in collaboration with the client and/or their care team as appropriate, directly implement the treatment plan, and document and evaluate the client’s progress on a regular basis. 


In music therapy sessions, certified music therapists (MTAs) combine counselling techniques with music-based interventions to accomplish non-musical goals within the context of a therapeutic relationship. Examples of this may be: 

  • facilitating a song-writing activity with a client for them to express their grief

  • using music as a motivational tool to improve gross motor function for a client with cerebral palsy

  • singing a familiar comforting song with a client experiencing agitation/anxiety. 


MTAs may also conduct or participate in research initiatives and provide and/or receive supervision. They may also take on instructor, consultant, or leadership roles.

Where do certified music therapists (MTAs) work?

MTAs provide music therapy services in a wide range of settings including healthcare settings such as hospitals, long term care centres, rehabilitation, schools, community, institutional, corporate, and private practice. MTAs may also provide services remotely via online video conferencing platforms.

Who do certified music therapists (MTAs) work with?

Music therapy is accessed by a wide range of persons of varying ages, experiences, and abilities. Music therapy can support individuals with a variety of challenges/needs/, including but not limited to: 

  • Early Childhood Intervention

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Developmental Delays and Disabilities

  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s

  • Trauma

  • Mental Health and Wellness

  • Childbirth and Neonatal/Paediatric Care

  • Brain Injury

  • Critical Care 

  • Substance Addiction

  • Palliative/End-of-Life Care and Bereavement


The Canadian Association of Music Therapists’s Code of Ethics is a statement of ethical principles, values, and standards to guide all CAMT members in their everyday conduct and in the resolution of ethical dilemmas.

The Canadian Association of Music Therapists (CAMT) recognizes that the purpose of the profession is to promote the use of music to accomplish therapeutic objectives, and the development of training, education, and research in music therapy. In doing so, the CAMT advocates adherence to the principles of Respect for the Dignity and Rights of Persons, Responsible Practice, Integrity in Relationships, Extended Responsibility, and Responsible Leadership. Membership in the CAMT commits members to abide by the CAMT Code of Ethics. (From The Introduction to the CAMT Code of Ethics)

Active voting members of MTAA have agreed to abide by the CAMT Code of Ethics.

If you have questions or concerns regarding MTA Ethics, please contact our Ethics chair at

bottom of page