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Is online Music Therapy here to stay?

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

The outbreak of Covid-19 pushed us to do a lot of things differently. A lot of families are pleasantly surprised by how quickly they adapted to receiving online inputs. In fact, some have said that online Music Therapy has been their 'lifeline', and others considered that it the highlight of the week. Is online Music Therapy here to stay? Can it replace in person Music Therapy all together? Let's take a look at its benefits and challenges, as well as how we may work around these challenges creatively.


Benefits of online Music Therapy

Since the beginning of the lockdown, I've been offering online Music Therapy sessions to both new clients and clients I've been working with before the lockdown. While it is undeniably different from having sessions in person, online sessions have worked better than I anticipated. Here are some benefits I have discovered in the last couple of months:

1. More time effective and more convenient

With online Music Therapy, travelling time and remote locations are no longer restrictions to our work. Clients based in remote areas who are previously placed on the waiting list are now accessing online Music Therapy. In addition, I now use the time I'd normally be commuting on creating resources to support my clients between each session. For instance, some families I work with now receive pre-recorded musical materials that parents can use to facilitate daily Neurologic Music Therapy inspired training for their children until our next session.

2. Compatible with clients with immunosuppression

I can recall so many occasions before the outbreak where my clients could not receive Music Therapy sessions in person after medical procedures or following a decline of their health. Unfortunately, children can feel particularly isolated in such situations and that could be the time they needed support the most. Online Music Therapy allows us to have continuity in our therapeutic relationship, which is invaluable for children who have already experienced so many social changes within a short span of time.

3. Engage clients who normally find social interaction stressful

Online Music Therapy can be a good 'way in' for children with social anxiety and for those who are protective of their personal space. In fact, a study shows that young people with impaired social skills can engage just as well during online sessions and can display an increase in positive social interactions comparing to having sessions in person (1). Some of my young clients reported that they feel a greater sense of control when engaging online. Even though my clients very rarely choose to mute themselves or to turn off their video, having the options seemed to be reassuring for them and have encouraged them to share their thoughts more freely within our sessions.

4. Model safe use of online resources for chil