Music therapy

What it is

The use of music to improve health and wellbeing. A music therapist helps people engage with different aspects of music.

Why use it

Music therapy can help people express themselves, feel more in control, focus on healing, feel less anxious, and simply enjoy themselves in the moment.

What to expect

 You don’t need to be musical to participate or benefit. The structure of the session will depend on the needs of the participants. You may play instruments, sing, or write lyrics, or you may simply listen to music and discuss how it affects you.


Some studies in people with cancer have shown that music therapy can improve anxiety, depression, pain and fatigue.

This information was last reviewed in May 2018
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum

Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment

Cancer information

What is cancer?
How cancer starts and spreads

Dealing with the diagnosis
Common reactions to a cancer diagnosis and how to find hope

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends