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Music Therapy Goals

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”

-Victor Hugo

Goals and objectives give direction, purpose and focus to music therapy, as they state what the client is to accomplish if interventions are successful. A music therapy goal is a broad statement of the desired long-term outcome of treatment, while behavioral objectives describe smaller, more specific steps in attaining the goal.

Following are examples of long-term goals that may be established for music therapy clients:


Improve motor functioning and skills (movement, range of motion, coordination, muscle control, strength and flexibility, agility, eye-hand coordination, ear-hand coordination, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, perceptual motor functioning, balance, locomotion, laterality and directionality, etc.)
Improve general stamina and endurance (muscle strength, muscle tone, breath capacity, etc.)
Improve sensory functioning (auditory, visual, tactile, kinesthetic)
Decrease sensory sensitivity
Decrease pain (distraction from pain and discomfort, management of pain, stimulation of neurochemicals as natural pain killers)
Improve autonomic nervous system response
Increase relaxation and stress reduction
Improve body awareness (body part identification, placement of body in space, body image, etc.)
Improve physical speech skills (articulation, fluency, pitch, inflection)
Improve perceptual motor skills


Improve cognitive skills (learning, perception, recognition, discrimination, categorization, memory, behavior, impulse control)
Improve communication (receptive and expressive language skills)
Increase attention span/attention to task
Increase alertness
Improve environmental awareness
Increase reality orientation
Provide sensory stimulation/integration experiences
Reinforce pre-academic and academic skills (counting, color identification, word recognition, math, etc.)


Increase emotional awareness
Increase and improve appropriate emotional expression
Elevate mood
Reduce distress, trauma, apprehension and fear of illness or injury
Enhance awareness of self and environment
Increase volition and motivation
Decrease inappropriate behaviors
Improve self-esteem and self-image
Increase impulse control
Increase frustration tolerance
Improve decision making skills
Improve problem solving skills
Improve conflict resolution skills
Improve coping skills
Support a sense of hope
Develop personal insight
Promote validation, acceptance, healing and forgiveness
Reinforce empowerment for personal change
Improve self-direction and independence
Promote a sense of control over life
Promote a sense of security and stability
Provide a sense of accomplishment
Foster creativity and imagination
Promote alteration of consciousness and experiences of transcendence
Promote spiritual exploration


Establish relationships
Increase involvement and participation
Increase peer interaction
Increase eye contact
Increase response to verbal and nonverbal cues
Improve and increase appropriate verbal response
Maintain and strengthen interpersonal relationships
Combat isolation and withdrawal
Improve group behaviors (sharing, turn-taking, working in a group)
Promote group cohesion
Foster a sense of belonging

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