What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is the intentional use of music as a tool to work towards therapeutic goals.  This can include listening to music, making music, songwriting and composing, and using rhythm and rhyme.  Music therapists are trained to use a huge variety of genres, instruments and approaches to match each individual’s goals, which might be social, cognitive, emotional, spiritual or even physical.  This makes music therapy an incredibly flexible modality, with as many different approaches as there are people!  Music has a way of slipping past our conscious processes and offers a back door entrance to our minds, helping us process difficult experiences, connect with our emotions and access untapped strengths.

Music therapy is a discipline in which Certified Music Therapists (MTAs) use music purposefully within therapeutic relationships to support development, health, and well-being. Music therapists use music safely and ethically to address human needs within cognitive, communicative, emotional, musical, physical, social, and spiritual domains. – Canadian Association of Music Therapists September 2020

Who benefits from Music Therapy?

Music therapy is used with individuals of various ages, abilities, and musical backgrounds in clinical, educational, community and private practice settings. As well as being a helpful, positive tool for enrichment for all of us, the list below includes examples of medical conditions, living conditions and goal areas that might lead to someone accessing music therapy.

  • Acquired Brain Injuries
  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Developmental Disabilities or Delays
  • Emotional Traumas
  • Geriatric Care
  • Hearing Impairments
  • Mental Health Difficulties
  • Personal Growth
  • Physical Disabilities
  • Speech and Language Impairments
  • Social anxiety
  • Substance Abuse
  • Teens at Risk
  • Victims of Abuse
  • Visual Impairments

(From https://www.musictherapy.ca/) At NowWhat, MTA certified Music Therapist Dana Dempsey offers creative and inclusive options for people of all ages, stages and abilities to work towards therapeutic goals via all kinds of musical experiences.  Sessions can take place in groups, with individuals, or even in curated ‘mini groups’, with siblings, learning pods or friend groups.  Generally, sessions are booked in blocks of 8 weekly sessions, to allow time for specific goals to be worked on.

Dana is able to provide in-home sessions for clients within 10km of our Ancaster clinic, or in select Cambridge locations – please enquire!  We can provide a guitar, ukulele, hand drum, or glockenspiel for these sessions; and use

Sessions can take place either in the clinic, or, we have a limited number of in-home session slots available each week for individuals with mobility challenges or for those who would benefit from in-home therapy.  Dana is also able to offer adapted music lessons for those who haven’t been able to access standard lessons, as a tool to work in harmony with your therapeutic goals (working towards a performance to aid with confidence, writing, producing and recording a song containing a narrative that helps process a difficult experience, etc).

Wait –What are Adapted Music Lessons?

Have you avoided music lessons in the past even though your kid loves music, because you know they wouldn’t be set up for success and enjoyment?  Good news!  Dana provides adapted music lessons for beginner piano, guitar, ukulele, and voice.  Adapted lessons help individuals for whom traditional lessons may not be effective or appropriate, to access this formative brain-building experience, and build competence and confidence through learning an instrument or learning to sing.  Lesson style, content and pace is designed around each client’s goals and passions, physical and developmental abilities, attentional challenges, and sensory needs.  We can provide adapted lessons either in the Ancaster clinic, or in your home if you’re within 10km of the clinic (or in select Cambridge locations).  Please note, if you’re looking for adapted piano lessons in your home, y0u’ll need to provide a full keyboard or piano on site.

Adapted music lessons are $100/hr and are booked in blocks of 8 weekly sessions.


Ukulele Group

We’re currently taking expressions of interest for a 6-8 week Ukulele Group (no experience necessary!) focusing on building confidence and overcoming social anxiety.  Please reach out if you’d like to be added to the waitlist for this opportunity!

How do I Get Involved?

Reach out to us and let us know you’re interested.  We’ll be happy to connect via our 30-minute complimentary intake, or a phone call with our team if you’re an existing client, and let you know of any upcoming group opportunities or help you set up a block of individual sessions if you think Music Therapy may be a good fit for you!