Please complete this brief survey. is a resource for Board-Certified Music Therapists (MT-BC) who are uniquely trained to provide music therapy services of any kind. This website also aims to educate students, patients, families, employers, contemplative non-employers, and the general public. Please read the Music Therapy Activities Wiki homepage for more information.

Background music is defined as the use of passive music listening while a non-musical activity is being implemented.


Art Projects Music may be used to help facilitate art projects.

Background Music Puzzles and Games: Puzzles and games are a positive leisure skill which distract, focus, challenge at diverse levels of executive functioning, and provide the opportunity to introduce topics.

Booklet for Self-ConceptCreate a therapeutic resource that includes needs, things you want to address, things you want to learn about patients, or simple categories for low-functioning to participate. 

Cut & Paste Songwriting uses preexisting song lyrics to arrange individualized art projects. Select, cut-out, and arrange song quotes.

Family Orchestra: Personify instruments and identify self-concept and then family dynamics by transferring characteristics (Strutzel, 2010).

Live MusicPatient-preferred, predictable, and stylistically simple music best reduces agitation and anxiety, increases orientation, and distracts from distressing or confusing thoughts (Baker, 2001).

Music for Relaxation Training: Select appropriate musical stimuli to assist muscle relaxation training sessions to teach music as a cue for relaxation. 


Sources of Background Music Links to several websites for new music.

Therapeutic Recreation Treatment and Activity Ideas This beautiful index of hundreds of non-musical ideas provide a population, group size, objective, and description for each activity. An MT-BC may learn from complementary therapies, or make musical adaptations.

ZOOMGames Lists of different non-music games and activities.


Baker, F. (2001) The effects of live, taped and no music on people experiencing posttraumatic amnesia. Journal of Music Therapy, 38(3), 170-192.

Gfeller, K. E. and Thaut, M. H. (2008). Music Therapy in the Treatment of Behavioral-Emotional Disorders. In Davis, W. B., Gfeller, K. E., and Thaut, M. H. (3rd Edition) An Introduction to Music Therapy: Theory and Practice (209-246). Silver Spring, MD: The American Music Therapy Association, Inc.

Strutzel, Michelle. (December 13, 2010) Understanding family dynamics. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Further ReadingEdit


James E. Riley, MT-BC

Evelyn Pinder

Katie Myers, MT-BC