Music Therapy

silhouette of an mp3 player being turned on

Download from our free music therapy library*

Click the link to play/right-click to save the MP3 to your computer

*Composed and Recorded by: Megan Gunnell, LMSW, MT-BC and John Steffenson, MT-BC.

Reduce anxiety, worry and perceptions of pain

What is music therapy?

Music therapy is the use of music intervention to meet the physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of an individual. Therapists are accomplished musicians and certified therapists. It is a field based on science and research.

For details on the profession of music therapy, visit the American Music Therapy Association’s website.

How can music therapy help me?

Music therapy is non-evasive and enhances your cancer treatment plan. It may help:

  • Promote relaxation
  • Express thoughts and feelings
  • Improve quality of life
  • Enhance memory
  • Induce sleep
  • Lift mood
  • Manage Pain
  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Create a legacy project during your journey

What can I expect during a music therapy session?

Every session begins with a review of your health information, treatment goals and individual plan. Then you might:

  • Move to music
  • Sing
  • Write and/or record a song
  • Play an instrument or learn to play
  • Discuss the meaning and purpose of music/songs
  • Develop music therapy strategies to manage your symptoms

Peter Carpenter
Peter Carpenter, MT-BC, NMT
If you're a patient at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, join our Mindfulness-Based Music Therapy Group

What types of music therapy are offered?

  • Private sessions for inpatients take place at the bedside in your private or semi-private room. For outpatients, private sessions take place by appointment in a private room on the third floor of the Med Inn Building.
  • Infusion sessions are offered during your scheduled infusion appointment. These sessions take place chairside or bedside in any of our ambulatory infusion clinics.
  • Group sessions are available on a monthly basis. These sessions provide a safe social environment to explore music and musical elements within the therapeutic context.

Who are the music therapists?

Board certified music therapists have a bachelor’s degree or higher, attend a college approved by the American Music Therapy Association and train for 1,200 hours with patients and health care professionals. Music therapists are also accomplished musicians, often trained in guitar, piano, percussion or singing. Using the combination of musical talent and education, they enhance cancer treatment to help meet the physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of an individual.


The Music Therapy program is made possible by the generous gifts of donors to Patient and Family Support Services. Make a donation.

Learn more about music therapy and the benefits of reducing stress:

updated 08.2016

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