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music therapy instruments

What instruments are used in music therapy?

In music therapy, we employ a variety of instruments with care and intention. Music therapists primarily utilise the guitar or piano to support participants based on their specific requirements, while also incorporating other instruments that align with the participants’ needs. In the realm of healthcare, the power of music to heal and soothe is increasingly recognised. Music therapy has gained popularity as a complementary approach to traditional medical treatments. One of the key components of music therapy is the diverse array of instruments used to create a therapeutic environment. Let’s discover the most popular instruments that play a vital role in music therapy.


The human voice holds significant power as an instrument in music therapy. Through vocal expression, individuals can release emotions and embark on a journey of self-discovery. Therapeutic sessions often incorporate singing, chanting, and vocal improvisation to foster communication and self-expression. In vocal exercises, the voice acts as an instrument, refining participants’ skills in breath control, speech clarity, pronunciation, expressive delivery, and muscle development, ultimately facilitating effective communication.

What instruments are used in music therapy?


The piano stands out as a superb musical instrument, offering avenues for growth in various domains. It enhances memory capacity, fosters concentration, nurtures emotional intelligence, and cultivates perseverance, among other benefits. Individuals can attain their objectives while experiencing the joy of playing. Serving as a fundamental element in music therapy, the piano’s extensive range and adaptability make it indispensable. Its capacity to produce both soothing melodies and robust chords renders it versatile for diverse therapeutic applications. Moreover, the tactile engagement of the keyboard contributes to the development of motor skills, rendering it a valuable option for individuals undergoing rehabilitation.

Piano and Keyboard


The guitar holds a special place in music therapy due to its user-friendly nature and portability. Whether strummed gently or played with vigour, the guitar has the power to evoke a wide range of emotions in individuals. Its effectiveness is particularly pronounced in group therapy settings, fostering interaction and collaboration among participants. Furthermore, learning to play the guitar or ukulele offers participants the opportunity to achieve various goals, including the enhancement of both fine and gross motor skills. This not only contributes to their overall well-being but also amplifies their capacity to employ instrumental skills in activities such as songwriting, thereby advancing their personal goals.

Guitar and Ukelele

Wind Instruments

In the realm of music therapy, instruments such as recorders, harmonicas, flutes, clarinets, and other wind instruments are utilised for their ability to encourage deep breathing and breath control. These musical tools can contribute to improved respiratory function, aiding individuals in the effective management of stress and anxiety.

Percussion Instruments

The percussion instruments like drums and tambourines add a rhythmic dimension to music therapy. Drumming, known for enhancing motor coordination and emotional expression, fosters a sense of community in group settings. It benefits individuals with disabilities by improving motor skills, concentration, and providing a non-verbal outlet for stress reduction. Group drumming encourages social interaction, teamwork, and a feeling of inclusivity. As a therapeutic tool, drumming offers sensory stimulation, memory enhancement, and facilitates non-verbal communication, providing a holistic approach to improving the well-being of individuals with disabilities.

Percussion instruments

What instruments are used in music therapy? Conclusion:

Music therapy harnesses the profound impact of sound on the human mind and body. The instruments used in this therapeutic practice are carefully chosen for their ability to evoke emotions, stimulate cognitive function, and promote physical well-being. Whether through the soothing melody of a piano or the rhythmic beat of a drum, these instruments play a crucial role in creating a healing harmony that transcends the boundaries of traditional medicine. As music therapy continues to gain recognition, the exploration of new instruments and innovative approaches promises to unlock even greater potential for the integration of music into holistic healthcare practices.

Music therapy is an allied health profession, so be sure to check with your provider that your music therapist is professionally registered with the Australian Music Therapy Association and has completed a Master of Music Therapy or equivalent. That way you know you are getting the best possible service with someone who knows all the science and methods behind music therapy.

If you’re interested in exploring the transformative power of music therapy or seeking more information about our music therapy services at Creative Therapy Adelaide, we’re here to help. Don’t hesitate to get in touch on our contact page or give us a call at (08) 7080 4618 to find out more. 

Ri Na Yu, Registered Music Therapist

Ri Na Yu, Registered Music Therapist

Rina is a Registered Music Therapist, her focus is on developing emotional well-being, self-expression, and relatedness to others through music. Rina's approach to her work is flexible and tailored to each individual's needs. Her primary instruments are cello and piano.

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