Music therapy

What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy with Monty and BlemaMusic therapy is the skillful use of music and musical elements by an accredited music therapist to promote, maintain, and restore mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Music has nonverbal, creative, structural, and emotional qualities. These are used in the therapeutic relationship to facilitate contact, interaction, self-awareness, learning, self-expression, communication, and personal development.
(Canadian Association for Music Therapy, 1994)

At Baycrest, music therapy is available to patients in the hospital and residents in the Apotex. Sessions are offered in both individual and group settings. Our music therapists also provide Glee Clubs in the Freeman Family Day Centre and Apotex.


Who are Music Therapists?
Music therapists have completed undergraduate and/or graduate-level training.  Following a 1000 hour supervised internship, music therapists go through an accreditation process with the Canadian Association for Music Therapy (CAMT), the national governing body for music therapy. Once the accreditation file is accepted the music therapist receives the designation of MTA: Music Therapist Accredited.


What happens in a Music Therapy session?

Music therapy sessions are different depending on who is receiving the services. After completing an assessment, music therapists use aspects of music to help clients accomplish their goals and lead fulfilling lives. You do not need any musical talent or previous experience with music to benefit from music therapy.
Possible music therapy interventions include:

  • SingingBuddysGlee2
  • Playing instruments
  • Listening to music
  • Moving and/or dancing
  • Writing songs
  • Improvising
  • Discussing and analyzing lyrics/music
  • Using relaxation and/or imagery techniques

Benefits of Music Therapy

Music Therapy helps with a wide range of challenges and needs. It can be used for:

  • Increasing self-expression
  • Improving communication
  • Increasing mobility and motor function
  • Improving social skills and interaction 
  • Increasing relaxation
  • Developing or maintaining cognition and memory
  • Personal development
  • Increasing alertness and sensory stimulation
  • Exploring and resolving personal issues

Buddy’s Glee Club

This program provides clients in the Freeman BuddysGleeFamily Day Centre and Apotex with the opportunity to participate in a choir program/community music therapy group. Each week, clients practice specific songs and work toward performance goals. The program, which is led by a music therapist, is modified to suit the abilities and functioning levels of the clients. Goals include promoting a sense of belonging and interaction within a community, and improving emotional wellbeing, health, and overall quality of life.

To make a referral

Anyone can make a music therapy referral. To do so, please contact a member of the music therapy team. You can also speak to the recreation therapist on the unit where you or your family member resides and he/she will get in touch with the music therapy department.


Our music therapy team

Amy Clements-Cortes, PhD, RP, MTA, MT-BC, FAMI – 416-785-2500, ext. 2304 aclements@baycrest.org

Kiki Chang, MA, MTA – 416-785-2500, ext. 5457 kchang@baycrest.org

Chrissy Pearson, MTA, RP, FAMI – 416-785-2500, ext. 5458 cpearson@baycrest.org


Client Testimonials

Although Blema’s short term memory is gone, she retains her music background and remembers and sings songs of yesteryears. I am blessed to have excellent music therapists who have proved that the Glee Club Choirs, and singing popular songs helps Seniors with Dementia. Joining a choir has had a positive impact on the mental health of older adults. I am so passionate about the importance of singing with seniors.