Music Therapy

Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music-based interventions are used to address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages and levels of functioning.

Music Therapists work across a variety of clinical settings including medical hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and mental health centers. 

Music therapists at Nationwide Children's Hospital serve all inpatient areas as well as some outpatient areas, including at-home Hospice care, Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), Dialysis Clinic, Intensive Pain Rehabilitation and Education Program (iPREP), William’s Syndrome Clinic, and our early childhood groups, Sounds of Love in Early Childhood.

How Music Therapy Helps

 Music therapists work with patients on individualized therapeutic goals, including:

    • Create a positive sensory environment
    • Educate on adaptive leisure and coping skills
    • Encourage positive self-esteem and self-expression
    • Foster positive patient, family, and peer interactions
    • Improve mood and energy levels
    • Manage stress, anxiety, and pain perception
    • Normalize the hospital environment
    • Promote procedure tolerance
    • Promote comfort and relaxation
    • Promote coping to health care experiences
    • Promote non-nutritive sucking in infants
    • Regulate physiological parameters
    • Assist cognitive, motor, social, and emotional development
    • Support memory making and legacy building
    • Support patient and families at time of death

What Music Therapy Looks Like

Music therapy is a consult-based service, and families may request music therapy services from their medical providers.

Music Therapists use a wide variety of music and musical experiences in their sessions.

A patient receiving music therapy may engage in:

  • Playing instruments
  • Writing songs
  • Directed music listening
  • Music and relaxation exercises
  • Lyric discussion
  • Singing/Toning
  • Moving to music
  • Creating recordings and videos
  • Adapted instrument lessons

NICU Follow-up Care | The Power of Music Therapy

About Our Staff

Music Therapists at Nationwide Children’s Hospital hold degrees in music therapy at the bachelor's and master’s levels.

They are nationally certified by the Certification Board for Music Therapists and hold the Music Therapist Board Certified (MT-BC) credential. In addition, Music Therapists working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) receive post-graduate training through the National Institute for Infant and Child Medical Music Therapy

Music Therapy Internship

What it is: Nationwide Children’s Hospital is an American Music Therapy Association National Roster Internship Site. Interns will be exposed to all inpatient areas of the hospital as well as selected outpatient populations and will lead both group and individual sessions under the support and supervision of our music therapy team.

Who is eligible to apply: Music Therapy students from an AMTA-approved academic program who are in their final year of coursework before sitting for the board exam.

Length of our internship: We are excited to offer two different “tracks” for internship length, both equaling the minimum number of hours as outlined by AMTA. Please include your preferred track on your application submission.

  • Track A: traditional 6-months (26 weeks), 5 days a week
    • Ideal for applicants who thrive in faster-paced environments with hands-on experience or desire an earlier completion date
  • Track B: 7.5 months (31-32 weeks), 4 days a week
    • Ideal for applicants who Succeed with opportunity for more time to process new learning and practice new skills or are pursuing part-time outside employment

Application deadline and start date: The application deadline for a summer/fall start date is October 31. The start date is flexible (May-September).

For additional information regarding the internship and for the application, please email Internship Director Lelia Emery, MMT, MT-BC at

Nationwide Children's Hospital Patient Photo
Music Therapy

Sounds of Love in Early Childhood: Music Therapy Class Helps Your Baby Grow

Sounds of Love in Early Childhood is a research-based music therapy class, led by certified music therapists, to aid your baby’s growth and development. During music and play activities, parents learn new ways to help their babies grow. For families of NICU babies, it’s especially important that parents and babies have a chance to “catch up” on early building blocks of development. Classes are tailored to meet each child’s developmental needs. Classes are now offered virtually!