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What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is the use of music to achieve non-musical goals. Such non-musical goals can include physical, emotional, social, cognitive, or interpersonal goals, addressed through the use of music listening, instrument play, singing, instrumental improvisation and exploration, and movement. Each music therapy session may include some or all of these components in helping clients achieve their full potential. Music therapy is provided by a board-certified music therapist and sessions are individually tailored for the needs of each client served.

Music therapists help their patients achieve a number of goals through music, including improvement of communication, mental ability, attention span, and motor skills. They may also assist with behavioral therapy and pain management.

Some of the populations and diagnoses served by music therapy can include (but are not limited to):

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Anxiety Disorders

  • Behavioral Disorders

  • Cancer/Chronic Diseases

  • Chronic Pain

  • COPD

  • Developmentally Disabled

  • Early Childhood Intervention

  • Eating Disorder

  • End-of-Life or Palliative Care

  • Geriatrics

  • Language Learners/Learning Disabled

  • Labor/Delivery and Pregnancy

  • Mental Health

  • Neurologically Impaired/TBI

  • Parkinson’s Disease

  • Physically Impaired

  • Stroke

Flint Hills Music Therapy offers services to individual clients, small groups, and large groups. Email us at to discuss and set up services for your family, clients, or facility. Availability is limited and prioritization of scheduling is determined according to the music therapist’s judgment.

Katie Just is a board-certified music therapist working at Flint Hills Music in Emporia, KS. A graduate of the University of Kansas, Just completed her clinical internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics where she gained experience in using music with patients in NICU, palliative care, behavioral health, and pediatrics. Upon receiving her board-certification in April 2014, she worked in hospice care and with children and adolescents in behavioral health settings. In August 2015, Just joined Flint Hills Music to form Flint Hills Music Therapy and currently serves individuals and groups in various settings through her work at Flint Hills Music. Her populations served include eldercare, adults with developmental disabilities, children and adolescents with emotional/behavioral disorders, toddlers and preschoolers in early childhood/early intervention, and students within the Flint Hills Special Education Cooperative. Just is passionate about advocating for and improving the life quality of individuals with disabilities and seeks to empower others in thinking outside of the box in expanding educational and social opportunities for differently-abled individuals.

Frequently Asked Questions about Music Therapy by Katie Just, MT-BC

So….what is music therapy?

Music therapy is the evidence-based practice of implementing musical interventions to address non-musical goals of individuals of varying abilities. Some of these musical goals might include working towards physical, social, emotional, cognitive, or behavioral goals via music making, listening, or composing.


Does that mean that you are basically a nurse with a boombox?

Music therapy is implemented by a board-certified music therapist and draws from a broad variety of musical interventions. While listening is sometimes implemented in a session, it is often paired with movement, composing, instrument play, or any number of related interventions.


Is music therapy only used with children on the autism spectrum?

Individuals of all ages might be eligible for music therapy services. Flint Hills Music Therapy serves clients in populations such as: elderly, adults with developmental delays, adolescents, school-aged children, and preschoolers, all with different goal areas or overall styles of music therapy services.


How do you determine if someone is eligible for music therapy services?

If a client has needs in physical, social, emotional, cognitive, or behavioral domains, they may be eligible for music therapy services. Once a client is referred for services, an initial screening is held to see how the client interacts with music and to what extent they need work towards various goals. From there, a treatment plan is formulated with basic goals listed and how they will be addressed through music therapy interventions.


Is music therapy basically like Kindermusik?

Although music therapy often is fun for clients, therapeutic goals are being addressed in each and every intervention. Each song or intervention chosen is used in order to address a specific goal, predetermined by the client’s treatment plan.


Why should I hire a board-certified music therapist instead of someone who likes to play music?

A board-certified music therapist has had at least 5 years of training in the field of music therapy and using music interventions to address the specific goals of each client. This training includes an undergraduate program, a clinical internship in which the music therapist practices therapy for 6+ months under the guidance of a board-certified music therapist, and a board exam. Many volunteers like to share music with others, and that is great; a board-certified music therapist knows how to use and manipulate music in order to address goals towards improving life quality.


Do you have observation opportunities for students interested in music therapy as a profession?

There are opportunities for student observers on a limited basis. Contact Katie at to set up a time.


Where can I learn more about music therapy?

Visit to learn more about music therapy as a profession and service.

701 Commercial St. Emporia KS
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