Music therapy in the public schools may be provided in one of two ways:

By decision of the IEP committee (as a related service)

By decision of the school district (as educational enrichment)

By Decision of the School District (Music Therapy as Educational Enrichment)

With this approach, the school district (not the IEP committee) makes the decision to identify and prioritize groups of students who could benefit from music therapy intervention. Groups of students that are prioritized often include those who, due to disability and/or age, have difficulty responding to traditional types of school instruction -- or those for whom research has shown a benefit. These groups might include: students in early childhood programs, students with autism, students with severe/profound disabilities and students with multiple disabilities.

Service provided in this manner might be described as "educational enrichment," or as "consult to teacher and/or program." Assessments are NOT conducted for each individual student, and specific music therapy goals and objectives do NOT appear on the students� IEPs. Most importantly, music therapy is NOT listed as a related service for the students who are receiving the consult service. However, a description of the student�s class/program may include a statement like "a music therapist serves as an educational consultant to the ______ class."

As an educational consultant, the music therapist makes regular visits to each designated classroom, conducting sessions which serve as models for the teachers and aides. Those staff then carry out the music therapy program during the time period between visits. The music therapist might come weekly to the classroom or come every eight weeks: the frequency of the consult visits is a determination made by the school district. There is a strong focus in this model on assisting the teacher to use music throughout each day as an effective educational tool. Visual aids, recordings, and other materials are provided to the teacher on a regular basis by the music therapy consultant.

When music therapy service is provided in this manner, it is the district's decision as to whether or not service is continued or discontinued. Provision of service in this manner cannot be legally mandated by the IEP committee.

Click here to read about some of the benefits of a music therapy educational enrichment program.

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