Music therapy session


In this section, you can find the following information:



Services are focused on several clinical units. Staff from other departments may refer patients for music therapy, and they will be placed on the list for service as time permits.

Patients can be referred to music therapy by completing the referral form and forwarding this to the music therapy department. Patients may be referred for music therapy by medical, nursing or allied health staff. Patients may also request a referral to music therapy through their primary nurse, team leader or another member of their rehabilitation team.

Please be aware that the music therapy service does have waiting lists, and may not be able to provide immediate service.

The music therapy service at Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre has been established to provide an alternative therapeutic medium through which to address rehabilitation goals, emotional needs and quality of life issues for patients who have experienced trauma.

Services to all clinical service units and programs including both inpatient and outpatient services:

  •      Acquired Brain Injury
  •      Spinal Injury
  •      Neurology
  •      Amputee/Orthopaedics
  •      Mental Health Units: BDU, APU, SECU & Ward 17
  •      Cancer Services


Emotional expression

Music therapy can facilitate emotional expression or release for patients who may be immobilised by anger, frustration and/or grief, particularly when cognitive or communication difficulties prevent verbal expression of these feelings. Patients may be able to express feelings nonverbally through singing, song writing, or playing instruments.

Song writing enables patients to express feelings associated with their changed lifestyle, role changes, grief and loss issues and can help to facilitate adjustment. Listening to songs may enable patients to understand their moods and gain some insight into their situation, enabling them to deal with their own issues more effectively.  Songs can be used as a source of strength for those who struggle to reintegrate into the community.


Physical rehabilitation

Specific physical movement tasks involving instrument playing can be designed to target rehabilitation goals for strength, coordination and range of movement. These goals are addressed by focusing on rhythm, which is a fundamental requirement for movement co-ordination; the appropriate rhythmic structure of the music aids in the redevelopment of movement patterns.

Music can elicit unconscious physiological responses (eg. foot tapping) and is able to physically energize a patient to engage in physically demanding exercises for longer periods.


Cognitive rehabilitation

Percussion instrument tasks of varying levels of difficulty may be used in music therapy sessions to address cognitive issues such as attention, concentration, memory and initiation. Listening to songs can also be used to assess and address listening skills, recall of information, concentration and abstract thinking.

Songwriting may also be used to redevelop a patient’s skills at initiating and developing ideas. Alternately, music therapist may write songs with a patient who has memory difficulties as a strategy for encoding important information such as phone numbers or names of family and friends.


Communication rehabilitation

Therapeutic singing exercises can assist patients to develop muscle control and expand lung capacity. Singing familiar songs is a motivating way to practice articulation, phonation, voice projection and appropriate speech rates as well as redeveloping prosodic (the musical aspects of speech) features of conversation.

The rhythmic structure of music enables patients to organize their breathing and phonation through the rhythm of the music and again enables participation for longer periods before fatiguing.  Articulation problems can be addressed through selection or composition of songs targeting specific consonants, sounds or words.

Melodic Intonation Therapy may be used to assist patients with language difficulties learn to speak again by singing melodic phrases that replicate natural speech patterns and intonation and gradually withdrawing these musical elements.

Staff consultation

On request, music therapists advise other staff members about the application of music in their area. They may work with staff to prepare suitable auditory stimulation for areas such as wards and treatment rooms.

Seminars & lectures

The music therapists present lectures, seminars and talks to professional and community groups.

If you are interested in having a music therapist speak to your group please contact us. In some instances a fee is charged for this service.

Acknowledgement flags

Austin Health acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.
We celebrate, value and include people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, cultures, bodies and abilities.