Music Therapy Overview

Music therapy is the therapeutic use of music to help people gain greater health and vitality.


Music therapists are board-certified, licensed, and professionally educated in music therapy.

What is music therapy?

Music therapy is the research-based and therapeutic use of music to help people gain greater health and vitality. Music therapists are board-certified and licensed allied health professionals, who serve people of all ages with a wide variety of needs and diagnoses.

Music therapists address needs in the following domains:

  • Physical
  • Cognitive
  • Emotional
  • Relational
  • Speech

Because music therapy is effective in all of these domains, it can be applied to help people with a great many diagnoses, including physical pain, traumatic brain injury, stroke recovery, emotional control and coping skills, memory, PTSD, social isolation, and speech disorders.

Please give us a call 775-324-5521 or contact us by email to talk with one of our music therapists about how music therapy can help you or someone you love.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who do music therapists work with?
Music therapists work with individuals of all ages with a variety of challenges, including developmental delays, sensory impairments, autism, traumatic brain injuries, dementia, mental health issues, neurologic diseases, and physical disabilities. Music therapists also work with hospice patients, veterans, at-risk youth, medically fragile individuals, and more.
Where do you provide music therapy?
We currently offer individual music therapy at the McKinley Arts and Culture Center in downtown Reno, as well as at many partner locations. We offer music therapy for groups and individuals. Please contact us at 775-324-5521 or if you would like information about adding music therapy to your agency, school, or program.
What do music therapists do?
Music therapists facilitate musical experiences for groups and individuals. Therapeutic activities can include drum circles, performances, songwriting, instrument play, musical improvisation, singing, and dancing. While these activities may seem purely musical and recreational in nature, music therapists focus on the other goals that are accomplished in the process – such as social connection, self-confidence, listening and communication skills, motor skills, and relaxation. These skills can then translate into daily life. In some settings, the music therapist will provide live music to reduce pain or anxiety; in other settings the individual(s) will actively play instruments, sing, and write songs with the therapist. From a clinical standpoint, music therapists assess the needs and strengths of an individual and use evidence-based research, and clinical expertise to develop personalized goals and outcomes.
How does someone become a music therapist?
In order to become a music therapist, a person must obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree in music therapy at an accredited university, complete a 6-month AMTA approved internship, and pass a board certification exam. In certain states, like Nevada, an additional license is required by the state in order to practice music therapy. We have two licensed board certified music therapists at NMTS, Manal Toppozada, and Jodi McLaren.
How do I schedule a music therapy session for myself, my child, or my organization?
In order to schedule, please call us at 775-324-5521 or We will determine availability, schedule a time for you to get a tour of the facility and meet the music therapist you will be working with before your first session. For more information on hiring a music therapist for contract work at your facility, school, or home, please contact Manal Toppozada at 775.324.5521 or
How often are appointments typically scheduled?
We offer music therapy on a weekly basis to support the needs and goals of the individuals we serve. Most individuals receive 30-minute sessions, but some adults or children with the ability to focus for longer periods of time may enroll in hour long sessions. People may also enroll in adaptive workshops or group classes.
Is music therapy the same as music lessons?

No. Music therapy uses music to address non-musical goals. Music lessons teach musical skills. We do offer adaptive music lessons, many of which are offered by board-certified music therapists, that focus on teaching musical skills to people of all abilities and backgrounds. If you are unsure about which category you would like to pursue, you are welcome to call 775-324-5521 or email

What the Research is Saying

We gather our favorite new research as it rolls out, documenting the power of music therapy to effect deep and lasting change in people's lives.


Recent Blog Posts

Women of the Lullaby Project

Inspired by Carnegie Hall’s ‘Lullaby Project’, Note-Able Music Therapy Services (NMTS) partnered with STEP2 and the Reno Phil to make the Lullaby Project a reality in our community. For the last month, women from STEP2 (a residential addiction treatment center for...

More Resources

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