These are usually carried out in conjunction with other assessments (OT/PT Speech etc). They are useful in that some people participate more actively in the music setting than other mediums. This has partly to do with how the brain processes music, and also makes use of "innate/automatic' reponses to music.
Sometimes music therapy assessments are carried out to find out if music therapy is a suitable/necessary intervention for a particular person. For example, most children in special education settings have had OT/PT Speech, and perhaps also Psychological assessments as part of an overall assessment. Music Therapy has sometimes been included in these assessments.
It can be time consuming and expensive to assess for example, every child in the school who has not received a music therapy assessment. However, on completion of such a task, the school then has only to assess each new child for music therapy, as they arrive at the school.
Basically, a music therapist uses musical activities, and the child's responses (both musical and non-musical) to these interventions. The musical context takes away the "formal" requirements of an interview setting, where the a person is expected to speak "correctly", or display certain knowledge or ability. Music therapy is essentially non-verbal in character and is flexible in nature, so that any one can participate in a way meaningful to them. Music therapy assessments are non-threatening, in that the client does not need to have prior knowledge or musical ability to participate.
Most music therapists require
- background information
- a 1 hour session 1 to 1 with the client
- 1 hour for writing a report (written results of the music therapy assessment).
This normally takes about 3 hours, but can sometimes be condensed (e.g., verbal information being given about the client which cuts down on chart reading time). The client might have a 45 minute session (but not less because the assessor and client need time to get to know each other. The report takes an hour because in addition to writing what happened, a "musical synopsis" of the client is written, and it includes recommendations.
Recommendations can include
- suitability of music therapy for the client
- musical ideas for the classroom/music teacher (if applicable)
- ideas for songs, musical activities which can be used at home
- ideas for musical groups the client can be part of
The rate of pay for this type of work is a minimum of $60 per hour.