Music Therapy

Medical Reviewers: Danielle Porter, MM, MT-BC; Brittany Harmon, MM, MT-BC; Alexandria Denne MM, MT-BC
Last Updated: March 18, 2021

What is music therapy?

The music therapy program at Brooks Rehabilitation utilizes neuroscience research to help patients heal. Rehabilitation goals are addressed through individualized and standardized Neurologic Music Therapy techniques.

Benefits of music therapy

By using music, the brain can be leveraged to elicit different responses. These responses (whether it be motor, cognitive or language based) are not always observed in traditional therapies. For this reason, co-treatment between music therapy, speech, occupational and physical therapy occur often.

What happens in a music therapy session?

A common misconception is that music therapists provide entertainment or teach music. Rather, music therapists use elements of music such as rhythm, dynamics, pitch, and harmony to prompt desired non-musical responses. These elements can be used functionally to create alternative pathways or strengthen damaged ones in the brain. Rhythm can be used to optimize movement and elicit verbal expression. Harmony can be used to cue speech and direct movement. Additionally, the multisensory aspect of music provides patients with constant visual, auditory and tactile feedback within the context of an engaging task.

Examples of Music Therapy

  • Walking to live rhythmic music to improve stride length and pace
  • Playing exercises on harmonica to improve respiratory support
  • Striking drums to improve coordination and range of motion
  • Singing overlearned songs to elicit verbal expression and improve articulation
  • Ringing color coded bells in a row to improve visual scanning
  • Playing two instruments simultaneously to improve attention
  • Using music as a mnemonic cue to improve memory

Who is appropriate for music therapy?

Persons of varying abilities and ages are appropriate to receive music therapy services.

What if the patient doesn’t have experience playing an instrument or singing. Can he/she still participate?

No prior experience or musical skills are required to benefit from music therapy since music is intrinsic.

Where is music therapy offered in the Brooks System of Care?

Music therapy is offered at the following locations in the form of both individual and group sessions:

Training and Qualifications of Music Therapists at Brooks

  • Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy
  • National Board Certification (MT-BC designation)
  • Certification/Fellowship in Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT, NMT/F)

How to reach us

For more information about the music therapy program or to get involved, contact Danielle Porter at




Medical Reviewers

Danielle Porter, MM, MT-BC

Music Therapy Program Coordinator, Neurologic Music Therapist Fellow
Danielle Porter is a Board Certified Music Therapist with a Master’s Degree in Music Therapy and a Certificate in Gerontology from Florida State University. She received specialized training in Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) and obtained the distinction of NMT Fellow. Danielle implemented the first music therapy program at Brooks Rehabilitation in Jacksonville, FL in 2015. Danielle’s passion for education and advocacy has led her to present at regional and national conferences including the American Congress of Rehabilitative Medicine and the American Music Therapy Association.

Brittany Harmon, MM, MT-BC

Music Therapist
Jacksonville native, Brittany Harmon, received her master’s degree in music therapy from Florida State University in 2011. For nearly a decade, she has had the priviledge to serve a variety of populations including individuals struggling with substance abuse as well as the elderly. Brittany takes a holistic approach to music therapy to address body, mind, and soul. Living life to the fullest level possible and promoting dignity for all are values that guide her practice.

Alexandria Denne MM, MT-BC

Music Therapist
Alexandria (AJ) Denne is a board certified music therapist who received her Master’s degree in Music Therapy from Florida State University in 2017. Since January of 2020 when AJ joined the Music Therapy department, she has worked at various facilitates throughout the Brooks system of care. She particularly shows interest with the inpatient rehabilitation population and our pediatric recreation program.