Episode 51 – Music Therapy!

Have you ever had days when you were just so happy to be able to find the perfect song to accompany you while driving your car, getting to work, running a marathon, or even while putting your kids to bed? Regardless of what song you put on (or lullaby you sing), there’s no denying that music has this amazing ability to affect our moods, boost our energy, bring back memories, and even sometimes, soothe our pain. Our guest today talks more about the wonderful benefits of music and how she uses it as a therapeutic tool in her practice working with families, children, young adults.

Dr. Grace Thompson is a music therapist and senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne. Grace has worked with children, young people, and families for over 20 years within the early childhood intervention and special education sector. In her clinical work, Grace developed a collaborative approach to music therapy practice for families guided by ecological theories and family- centred philosophy. Her research continues to explore the ways music therapist can foster relationships and social connection through participating and engaging in accessible music-making. Grace is past president of the Australian music therapy association and co-editor of the book, Music Therapy with Families: Therapeutic approaches and theoretical perspectives. She is also currently an associate editor with the Nordic Journal of Music therapy.

Key Takeaways:

Tune in to this episode and learn:

  • What led Dr. Grace to discover music therapy and how she became a music therapist
  • What is music therapy?
  • The key areas where a qualified music therapist typically deals with
  • Who music therapists most frequently work with
  • The impact music can have on our mental health and wellbeing
  • How we can proactively use music as a tool for therapy
  • What happens during a typical music therapy session?
  • Why Dr. Grace insists on playing live music and using live instruments in her sessions?
  • The benefits of music therapy not only for kids but also for our young adults
  • Some ways we can help our kids use music as therapy in their everyday lives
  • Ways to know if you need to consider music therapy for your child
  • How long would a music therapy session last and how many sessions would my child need?
  • The interesting crossover between music therapy and music education
  • What you would need to do if you would like to explore music therapy as a profession

Tips for Parents, Carers, and Educators on How We Can Incorporate Music to Impact Our Positive Wellbeing for our Children:

  1. Draw attention to the way certain music makes you feel. Link that with what’s happening inside the house and share that with your children. Ask them how does this music make you feel? Ask them how it makes their body feel and draw their attention to that.
  2. Keep trying to introduce variety in the music you play or listen to. Some children with disabilities really love a certain type of music. For parents, please don’t take their favourite music away from them, respect the fact it’s their favourite, but make sure you have a turn, so keep introducing different music to them.
  3. Make sure in your family that you muck around with music. Make up silly songs, compose them yourself, show your creativity with children, and encourage them to do that too. It’s a way to show your personality.


“The types of goals that music therapists are often working on are around being able to social interaction. It’s about being able to read people’s cues, initiate social interaction, concentrate and stay focused on the social environment, Hopefully, the domain of music provides a rich learning opportunity for all of those social elements. So, through music, the children’s social development is actually being enhanced.”

“Remember that music is a domain of play, and to be playful with music I think is the greatest gift you can give any child or young person.”

Links and Resources:

Australian Music Therapy Association – https://www.austmta.org.au/

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Any information and links presented within the Chatabout Children™ with Sonia Bestulic podcast are aimed to provide general information and advice only.
Information is to be used at the discretion of the consumer/ listener. The information presented does not replace or substitute the expert advice received from a direct consultation with the relevant qualified professional.


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Award Winning Book: FLOURISH FOR MUMS by Sonia Bestulic