Making Music Meaningful to You

A couple years ago for a school assignment, I was asked to design a survey in which I asked anonymous individuals for the various reasons why they listened to music. Out of fifty individuals who took the survey, top responses included:

  • listening to music as background sound during everyday activities
  • listening to music as entertainment
  • listening to music as motivation for everyday activities
  • listening to music to release built up tension

While this survey was designed for a research methods class and may not be representative of the general population at large, it did show that music was listened to and utilized for a variety of different reasons!

For myself, music provides a creative outlet to express my inner thoughts and make connections with others that otherwise would have been difficult to verbalize. It’s that powerful connection I feel with I’m singing a song together with a close friend and we instantly make eye contact when a meaningful lyric is sung, or the affirmation from certain lyrics in songs that seem to clarify exactly what I had been having difficulty processing in mind.

Music impacts individuals in many unique ways, so why not ask yourself how music impacts your life! Did you know that at MTC, we specialize in making music an enriching experience for anyone, whether it be through music lessons, adaptive lessons, or music therapy? Take a minute and explore our service options. Whether it’s registering for lessons or music therapy services, I hope that you’ll find meaningful ways music can shape your life in every season!

All the best,

For more information about music therapy services or lessons, email us at or register below!

Register for music lessons or music therapy

Music Therapy and Music Lessons: The Best of Both Worlds

When first meeting a new client, I am often asked something like this:

I think my son would really benefit from music therapy, but he has always wanted to learn how to play piano. Is there any way that we can do both? 

The short answer is…absolutely! First, lets break down our service options. Here at Music Therapy Connections we offer lessons, adaptive lessons, and music therapy in addition to other groups and services.

Lessons are the best fit for students who feel comfortable learning at a traditional pace and level of complexity. These students are assigned to one of our many teachers based on their interests, schedule, and special requests.

Adaptive lessons are the primary choice for students who want to focus on learning an instrument and the related musical goals, but need some additional time, support, understanding, or even alternative teaching methods. We assign these students to a teacher who can meet their special considerations and needs all while supporting them in reaching their musical achievements.

Music Class at Pleasant Park

Music therapy is a service provided by one of our board-certified music therapists and focuses on non-musical goals regarding domains such as communication, academia, cognition, motor, emotional, social, behavioral, life skills goals and more. Music therapy can be a wonderful support for people of all ages and abilities in reaching their non-musical goals. That being said, I am often asked if I can incorporate a music lesson or similar structure into Music therapy sessions. We absolutely can. The only differentiator is that in Music therapy, any musical goals are always secondary to our non-musical goals.

My focus as a therapist and teacher is that my students and clients walk away from my studio with more than when they came in, whether that be more resources, more strength, more support, or more knowledge. I am so blessed to be a part of my clients’ story, lives, and growth.

Adult Piano Lessons in Springfield, Illinois

Is Music Therapy Right for My Loved One?

Is Music Therapy Right for My Loved One

“Is music therapy right for my loved one?”

I am asked this question almost every time I begin with a new client. Many people are unsure of what music therapy is, how it works, if it works, and for whom it works. I am going to break down this question to help you answer for yourself: is music therapy right for my loved one?

Let’s dive right in… so what exactly is music therapy?

Music Therapy is the practice of using music to address and support non-musical goals by a board-certified music therapist.

In music therapy sessions, a client will participate in music making, music listening, music analysis, and personal music experiences to help to reach his or her individual goals. We may hold a drum overhead to encourage a client to stand or analyze songs to process emotional trauma; the options are truly endless and based entirely on the client’s needs and goals.

Early Childhood Music Class in Springfield, Illinois

That sounds interesting, but does music therapy work?

In short, yes! Music therapy is an evidenced-based practice, meaning that our techniques have been and are regularly tested in scientific studies to assess and support the efficacy of what we are doing. In addition, all music therapists are required to complete at least a bachelor’s degree and study the human body, human behavior, and musical techniques before receiving hands-on training in a 1,040-hour internship and passing a national board certification exam.

Music Therapy for Older Adults

Who can benefit from music therapy?

I am often asked, “Who do you work with?” The short answer is…everyone! Music therapy is a holistic therapy modality, meaning that we treat the client as a whole and often end up treating multiple domains at once.

I have had many clients whose goals are both socially and emotionally based or academic and motor based. Our services are available to people of all ages & abilities. We currently serve clients with speech delays, difficulty reading and spelling, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, ADHD, depression, anxiety, rare genetic disorders, and more.

For answers to more frequently asked questions click here.

If you are wondering if music therapy could be a fit for someone you love, I would encourage you to email us at or fill out our registration form for services below.

Adult Piano Lessons in Springfield, Illinois

Tuning In to Our Community

This week has been an eventful one at Music Therapy Connections! One of the most exciting parts of this week happened when I had the opportunity to share a presentation with a local women’s fellowship group.

They were so welcoming, kind, and very intrigued by music therapy. I had the pleasure speaking with them and sharing a little bit of what do as music therapists! They asked questions, we sang, played instruments, and laughed together over the course of my time with them.

My favorite questions of the night were…

  • Do you have to be musically inclined to receive music therapy? No, that is my job as the therapist! The benefits of music therapy are available to anyone, regardless of musical background.
  • Do you work with people who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease? Absolutely! For more information on how we support neurologic engagement, memory recall and more click here.
  • Are your services covered by insurance? Many states offer a waiver for music therapy services; the state of Illinois does not at this time. Because of that, we keep our fees affordable (about the cost of a co-pay) so that those who are interested in services can absolutely pursue them!

This event, and others like it, are a vital part of what we do at Music Therapy Connections.

I think our team would agree that we became music therapists to help others, share music, and share moments. We know that what we do is so important for the nearly 200 people that receive our music therapy services from week to week, and showing our community what we do, how we do it, and answering any questions they have is the foundation to sharing our services with even more individuals!

We know that beyond anything else, we must invest time and care into our community for the business we love to grow and flourish. We have the deepest appreciation for our Music Therapy Connections community, Central Illinois community, and our online community.

Thank you to you all!

Do you know a group that would be interested in hosting a music therapist as a presenter? Do you have any questions yourself? We would love to speak with you; please email us at

Music Therapy with Older Adults: What Can Music Therapy Do for My Loved One?

Music Therapy for Older Adults

This month, Music Therapy Connections made another addition to our weekly services! Rachel Rambach is heading up the launch of a new music therapy group for older adults. I wanted to interview Rachel and share with you how we approach music therapy for older adults.

Alisabeth: Rachel, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. I am really excited to share with everyone the great work you’re doing!

Rachel: It’s my pleasure! I’m really excited about this new avenue of services, especially since it was seeing first-hand the effect music had on my grandmother that led me to music therapy. She was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease when I was in middle school, and as the disease continued to progress, I saw that she was still able to enjoy and communicate through music. One of my last memories with her is singing Christmas carols together at her nursing home.

A: What does music therapy with older adults look like?

R: My new group takes place in the memory care unit of a large senior living facility. There are about 15 residents on the unit, and the group varies in size each week depending on how many residents feel up to coming. The group is held in a really nice common area with a piano, comfy chairs, and couches.

I start with a welcome song, and then sing a variety of tunes both with and without my guitar. I also bring movement props like scarves and small percussion instruments like hand drums and shakers. I reserve the last 15 minutes or so for singing and playing the piano, since the residents really enjoy that. We end with a goodbye song, and then I usually stay for a few minutes to chat with everyone before I leave.

A: What kind of music do you use with older adults?

R: This is the fun part! Since I’ve worked primarily with kids up until now, it’s been a new adventure building up my repertoire of songs for older adults. I’ve compiled a variety of traditional folk songs, spirituals, hymns, musical numbers, older country music, and popular songs from every decade all the way back to the 20s. Some of the residents have also made song requests during our sessions, so I make sure to jot those down and prepare them for the following week.

A: What goals would a music therapist work toward with older adults?

R: Since this is such a new group, right now I’m working on building rapport with the residents and establishing group cohesion. My immediate goals are engagement through singing, facial expression, and body language, and as we continue our work together, I would like to increase verbal communication, encourage gross motor movement, and focus on reminiscence as well.

A: Why does music therapy work for older adults?

R: It really is magical to see an older adult, especially one suffering from memory loss or dementia, connect with a song that has meaning for him or her. Music affects and stimulates the brain in a way that speech alone does not, which is why it can be such a powerful form of communication and therapy for an older adult. The stimulation brought about by music can lead to conversations, surfaced memories, and expression that would not otherwise occur.

A: What would you say to someone who is thinking about music therapy services for an older adult in their life?

R: I would answer first as someone who has seen the powerful effects of music therapy on an older adult family member: it’s an opportunity not only to work on the goals I mentioned above, but to bring added joy into your loved one’s life. On the surface, music therapy can look or seem like a form of entertainment, but the benefits are far-reaching.

Thank you Rachel, for answering some questions today. I am so excited to see this new program grow!

If you or someone you know would be a good candidate for music therapy you can register them for services below! If you have questions email us at!

Adult Piano Lessons in Springfield, Illinois

Music Therapy & Dementia: Improving Quality of Life and inspiring Memory Recall

I will never forget the first time I watched a patient with Alzheimer’s come to life again.

I was in a music therapy practicum and providing group music therapy services to a group of older adults with varying states of awareness in a residential home. Many of these residents had some form of dementia. One particular resident often enjoyed music therapy by looking downward toward the floor, and when asked, rarely recalled her own name.

That is, until the day we brought in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. It was like someone lit a candle within her and the light and warmth swelled up in her. She straightened her back, lifted her head, and look straight at me before taking a deep breath and singing every single word. I was taken aback. I couldn’t bring myself to stop playing, so I kept going back to the beginning again and again to hear her wise voice sing yet another time.

When we finally cadenced, I expected her to sink back into herself and retreat again, but that is not what happened. For a few moments she was present as she told an elaborate story of playing ball with her brothers. She recalled her hometown, her brothers’ names, and the great details of the trouble they got into together. She belly laughed and smiled for a short while before retreating again.

That day, I left knowing that we gave her a great gift.

For a short while she wasn’t another resident, she was herself again.

Music therapy is a great resource for individuals and families suffering with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Music therapists use techniques alongside client-preferred music to encourage vocalizing, verbalizing, eye contact, social interaction, orientation to time and their environment. In addition, specific groups can be organized to help support residents who experience sundowning. Sundowning occurs when residents experience a higher severity of symptoms and confusion later in the day.

In this video, a music therapy student describes a study she conducted on patients’ experience in mid to late stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia, and the effect music therapy had on varying quality of life measurements. Watch the video to see her findings.

Here at Music Therapy Connections, our therapists provide therapeutic support for families and music therapy for individuals suffering with dementia or Alzheimer’s and its effects on their lives.

Our primary objective is to improve every individuals quality of life and provide them with an opportunity to express themselves regardless of their diagnosis or any other barriers.

If you know someone who would benefit from music therapy services you can register them below or email us at

Adult Piano Lessons in Springfield, Illinois