Music Therapy

Music Therapist Kirsten Nelson

Music therapy is the systematic use of music as a tool to accomplish non-musical goals that may address the physical, cognitive, social and emotional needs of the patient.

Music therapists have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in music therapy from a nationally accredited program and carry national Board Certification. (MT-BC)

In a music therapy session, professionally trained music therapists use a variety of musical experiences to create a therapeutic relationship with the child.

  • Listening to music encourages movement, comforts and provides relaxation
  • Singing encourages speech, deep breathing and elevates mood
  • Playing instruments establishes interaction and encourages choice-making
  • Songwriting, discussing lyrics, and improvisation improves self expression and encourages adaptive coping skills.

What are the Goals of Music Therapy?

  • Decrease agitation and anxiety
  • Decrease perception of pain
  • Maintain motor skills
  • Maintain/improve physiological function such as heart rate and oxygen saturation
  • Elevate mood
  • Encourage self-expression
  • Teach adaptive coping skills
  • Provide opportunities for social interaction

Patients and Visitors

Music Therapy Internship

Learn more about the Music Therapy Internship we offer.

Songwriters Visit UI Stead Family Children's Hospital

Music therapy at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital offered a series of songwriter workshops for patients and their families.

Individual songwriters, including Alastair Moock and Kevin B.F. Burt, were invited into the hospital to share their music and write songs. The goal? To bring voice to our patients’ experiences through song.

Behind the Scenes Moments from the Songwriter Visits

The Llama-corn Song

The Unicorn Blues

Last Chemo Party

Patient Stories

Locations and Contact

  • UI Hospitals & Clinics
    1701B John Pappajohn Pavilion
    200 Hawkins Drive
    Iowa City, Iowa 52242
    In House Directions: Elevator J, Level 1
    • 1-319-356-4718
    • 1-319-353-8568