MusicWorx and The San Diego Regional Center

What is music therapy and how does it work?

According to the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA): “Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.”

Music therapy interventions can address a variety of healthcare and educational goals:

  • Promote wellness
  • Manage stress
  • Alleviate pain
  • Express feelings
  • Enhance memory
  • Improve communication
  • Promote physical rehabilitation
  • And more

In short, music therapy can assist and enhance various developmental areas in diverse ways.


Music Therapy and the San Diego Regional Center (SDRC)

If you or your child is a client through SDRC, you may be eligible to receive music therapy services through MusicWorx, an approved service provider. Music therapy is classified as a non-medical therapy with SDRC and families may receive funding for our program via social recreation or self determination.

Social recreation through the regional center provides opportunities for families to receive non-medical services, such as music therapy. Through self determination, clients have a budget and negotiate services in the community. These services do not necessarily have to be vendors with SDRC.


How does music impact development?

Everyone enjoys listening to music in some capacity, but an important determinant for music therapy services is any change of functioning when music is played. The following lists some examples of potential candidates for music therapy:

  • A child who has difficulty focusing attention on a task for a long period of time is more attentive to song-based stories, or activities that involve music.
  • A child who demonstrates increased phrase length or initiation when singing.
  • There is a decrease of maladaptive or aggressive behavior while listening to music.
  • Music is a primary motivator or behavioral incentive.

This is not a definitive list, music therapy has the potential to be beneficial to everyone. Speaking with our music therapists will help determine if music therapy is a fit for you or your child.


How do we get started?”

  1. Initial Contact/Inquiry
    1. Contact MusicWorx to express an interest in music therapy.
    2. MusicWorx staff will then gather general information such as name, age, primary diagnosis, contact information, general goals, and most importantly, your service coordinator’s name and contact.
    3. You can contact Seika Bishton, our SDRC coordinator, at 858-252-6225 or email:
  2. Contact your Service Coordinator
    1. As soon as you are contacted about availability with a therapist, you should contact your service coordinator immediately to let them know to begin requesting funds for music therapy services.
  3. Application
    1. Your service coordinator will work with you to complete an application that will be processed and eventually approved for music therapy services. This process can take up to a month.
  4. Notification of Approval
    1. As soon as you hear from your service coordinator that your application has been approved, have them contact MusicWorx to confirm, and we will get you scheduled as quickly as we can. For billing purposes, we are unable to start sessions without notice of approval.


“What can I expect at the first session?”

This answer varies for each therapist. Typically, this is our assessment session. There is no formal assessment required through the regional session, however, as therapists, it is helpful to conduct an informal assessment to learn more about the client. This can include their goals, interests, motives, skills, and more. Your therapist may ask parents of younger clients more questions regarding what they hope to see for their child and other information regarding behaviors and triggers. This allows for the therapist to create a safe and productive environment for each client.

Sample first session:

You enter our facility and are immediately immersed in instruments galore. You get to meet your therapist for the first time and explore a new environment. Each therapist is different with how they run their sessions. Typically, there is an introductions part of each session. Here, you can expect a greeting or check-in of some kind. The middle part of the session is where various interventions occur. Some common interventions used in music therapy include:

  • Movement to music
  • Improvisation
  • Active music making
  • Songwriting
  • Music listening

To conclude the session, the therapist will implement a goodbye, or even a summary or review of the session.

During the period in which a child is receiving music therapy services, parents are able to keep in communication with our therapists to learn about progress and accomplishments. Some parents choose to engage in the session, some choose to wait in the lobby. Sometimes it is appropriate and necessary for parents to stay and other times, they are not needed.



Client approvals vary between three and six months. One month before your last approved day, MusicWorx will notify you and your service manager that this date is approaching. We send this in hopes of prompting a conversation between you and your service coordinator to see whether you would like to continue with services or try something different.

As music therapists, we strive to work collaboratively with everyone involved, and we ask all parents to trust our professional knowledge and experience to help guide you through your child receiving the best care. Sometimes this means we suggest a decrease in services, or an increase, or possibly not needing music therapy at all. All of that is ok! Here at MusicWorx we strive to create, cultivate, and celebrate experiences of unlimited growth and potential for all our clients.




CEO / Founder
P: 858.457.2201

11300 Sorrento Valley Rd., Ste. 104,
San Diego, CA