This page is designed to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding music therapy service delivery.
What occurs in a typical session?
There is no “typical” session because music therapy sessions are tailored to each client’s personal strengths, preferred music, and areas of need/therapeutic goals. While sessions may use similar instruments or interventions, an instrument may be used to meet a different need each time. Depending upon the interests and needs of the client, sessions may include one or more of the following: active music making, music listening, song lyric discussion, songwriting, and adaptive music learning. Music therapists receive extensive training prior to receiving certification which allows them to tailor and adapt the music, in the moment, making each session motivating, aesthetically pleasing, and most of all, successful.
How often do sessions occur? How long is each session?
An initial session duration and frequency is suggested by the LIH staff initially and then adjusted following the initial assessment, if needed. Our team believes in quality over quantity and therefore, we determine what is best for each client based upon his/her ability to attend to the session, ability to engage purposefully and meaningfully for the full duration, as well as looking at how to best utilize funds available for services that will best serve the client’s ability to make progress. For example, shorter, more frequent sessions may be more appropriate than longer, every-other-week sessions; it all depends on the client and his/her needs that are being addressed in the music therapy sessions. Our most common appointment duration and frequency is a weekly, 45-minute session; however, 30-minute and 60-minute sessions can also be scheduled on a weekly or every-other-week basis. 15-minute appointments have also been utilized in rare situations for clients who are building tolerance to sensory stimuli, structure, etc. We do have some clients receive services two times per week as well. Weekly visits are most common to ensure carry-over between sessions and advancement of the therapeutic relationship between the client and the therapist. Clients working on more acute goals benefit from shorter, more frequent visits. Clients looking to continue building progress towards current goals do best with consistent, weekly visits (duration is most dependent upon attention and endurance), where clients working to expand independence and carry over of music therapy interventions outside of the session do best with every-other-week appointments to allow time to work independently outside of the session and check in periodically with a therapist. Monthly services are typically not considered music therapy as it makes tracking progress from one session to the next very difficult. The only situations where this would continue to be evaluated using a treatment plan is if a client is fading out of a more regular service to touch base on a home program OR if he/she was working on a special project (such as an original song) where work was being done outside of the session by the client.
Do we need to schedule our next visit each week?
No. LIH believes in consistency and structure and thus, we do our absolute best to assign a time with a client/family that will work as a set time for that individual. This helps the client as well as the person(s) involved in transporting to the appointment to “lock in” this time in their schedule and plan for this time weekly. We find that this decreases forgotten or missed appointments and it also allows for clients to settle in to a weekly routine around various other appointments, events, sports, etc. While we do try our very best to find an ongoing time that works best for all clients and our staff, we do at times need to begin with a time that may be less ideal and work toward finding a time that may work best in the schedule for families. There are also periodic schedule conflicts due to client needs or staffing needs. In these situations, we do try our very best to keep the visit as consistent as possible (on the same day with another team member) or on a different day of the week (with the same therapist or different team member). We understand that schedules may change during the school year compared to summer; thus, we do check in with families periodically during the year to assure that we are best meeting their needs with the availability we can offer.
When are sessions scheduled?
Clients individual or small group sessions will be scheduled as a standing appointment time, Monday – Saturday, during our hours of availability. It is very important to note that a client’s funding source for services may impact when a session can occur. For example, children receiving services through the Children’s Long-Term Support (CLTS) Waiver cannot receive services during the scheduled school day, unless there is a scheduled early-release OR the child has an altered school schedule indicated on his/her IEP. A child receiving services through private pay means is available to come at anytime the family feels is appropriate for the child. We try our best to reserve our later afternoon/early evening and Saturday morning appointment times for individuals who attend school on a regular basis.
Where do sessions take place?
Services are conducted at LIH’s clinic space, on the Songbird Express Mobile Music Therapy Studio, in clients’ homes/place of residence, as well as at other facilities in the community. The following items are taken into account when determining which location is best: 1) What location will allow the client be the most focused and successful?, 2) Are there clinical needs for a client to be seen at a specific location?, 3) What location will provide the most consistent attendance? We strongly encourage clients to first try our clinic location as we feel it provides a controlled, structured, and therapeutic environment free of distractions such as pets, tv, food, etc. that may be more readily available in a residential setting. Our clinic is equipped with a wide variety of instruments (some very large that are not able to be transported out in the community), visuals/manipulatives, and space to target body awareness and motor needs. If we travel into the community, each therapist has a suitcase or travel bag full of various instruments and special request items can be brought as needed. The Songbird Express is used to provide a clinic-based service in more rural communities; however, our team does use this more locally at times to maximize outcomes of individuals who are not able to attend sessions at our clinic space but do not have a location at their home that is best suited for progress.
Can you come to my child’s daycare or school?
Sometimes. This vastly relies on the funding source that is paying for the music therapy service as well as the daycare or school’s ability to accommodate a space for the service. If a daycare-aged child is referred for services, he/she would likely be able to be seen at daycare if approved/allowed by the daycare facility. We just ask that a small room/space away from other children is available. We will discuss these options with families when discussing ongoing session times. If a school-aged child is referred for services and services are funded by a state-based program, we are not allowed to see him/her at school, nor are we allowed to see him/her during regular school hours (when scheduled) at our facility. There are some very unique situations where we may be allowed to see a child during these hours; however, it is rare and based on very unique circumstances. Thus said, if a child receives services for mental health needs there may be more options for services to take place during a school program; however, this must be arranged and decided upon by the child’s care team. While we very rarely see children during the school day (on-site), we do have some local schools where we provide services to a specific child on-site during an “after care” program, such as “Surround Care.”
Can music therapy be included on an IEP?
The short answer is “yes”; however, there are many factors that are considered before a service is added to an Individualized Education Program (IEP). It should be known that in 2000, the Director of Special Education Programs (Kenneth Warlick) confirmed that music therapy is a related service under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). To receive more information to support music therapy as a related service, please contact us. While we strongly encourage you to advocate for music therapy services, LIH does not attend IEP meetings unless required due to being part of an IEP team. We are passionate about empowering parents to advocate for this service and if requested to evaluate a student, we are happy to assist.
What regions/physical locations does LIH cover?
The majority of our work occurs within La Crosse County, also known as the Coulee Region. Our team of six music therapists cover various other communities on a weekly basis. LIH services clients from the following surrounding counties (whether in the community or at our facility): Monroe, Jackson, Juneau, Trempealeau, Vernon, Winona (MN), and Houston (MN). Currently in Tomah and Black River Falls, clients are seen on our Songbird Express Mobile Clinic which is parked at a central location (such as a park or county Health and Human Services building) and clients are seen aboard our mobile studio. For an updated list of communities we are servicing, please check the “Hours & Locations” tab under “About Us”. This is an ever-changing (and GROWING!) list of communities so please contact us directly if you do not see your community listed. We may also be servicing someone from this specific region due to the client traveling to our facility; however, the more interest we have in a region the more likely we are able to provide in-home/community based sessions.
Do you provide in-services or tailored presentations?
Yes! Please contact us to let us know what you are looking to have your audience/participants achieve or learn. Once we know more about your vision we can provide you with available dates/times, cost, and some ideas of what we could provide.
Is your facility handicap accessible?
Yes! Our facility was built in 2008 and meets the ADA standards for accessibility. Our mobile studio is equipped with a lift as well.
Who receives services at LIH?
Our team works with over 125 individuals in a 1:1 setting on a weekly basis! This includes individuals of all ages and levels of need. Music is a tool that can be modified to target various developmental milestones, adapted to meet individuals where they are psychosocially or physiologically, and tailored to support individuals during normal stages of the life cycle such as birth and death. LIH is a vendor with various counties and state programs and we also have private contracts with nursing homes and other organizations looking to incorporate music therapy programming or music enrichment services.
Where can I find more information about music therapy and how music therapy can help with specific populations?
For more information about frequently asked questions about music therapy we strongly encourage you to visit the FAQ section of the American Music Therapy Association Website. This website also has a wonderful selection of fact sheets that provide information about music therapy for specific populations.