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What is a Certified Music Practitioner?

Updated: Aug 23, 2022

A Certified Music Practitioner (CMP) provides live therapeutic music at a patient’s bedside. CMP’s complete a course of study which includes medical, clinical and musical training.

Music Practitioners provide one-on-one palliative care to the ill and dying in hospitals, hospice, homes and other clinical settings. By focusing on a single patient at a time, the CMP can provide therapeutic music which meets the patient’s needs in the moment, creating a nurturing environment which facilitates healing.

CMPs provide unobtrusive, soothing music as a service, not as a performance or entertainment, but a bedside service that is intended to create a healing environment for the patient.

What is expected of the patient?

Nothing is required of the patient except their physical presence and their permission (or that of a loved one) to play.

The CMP pays close attention to how the music is affecting the patient, adjusts and improvises the key, rhythm, tempo, volume and genre of music as needed. Music sessions generally last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, and can be shorter or longer in relation to the patient’s needs.

The goal for the patient is to simply receive the music. It is not necessary for the patient to interact physically or even verbally with the Music Practitioner.

Physical Benefits of Therapeutic Music

  • reduce blood pressure

  • calm and regulate heartbeat and respirations

  • reduce body and muscle tension

  • increase endorphin levels

  • augment pain management

  • relieve anxiety and stress

  • boost the immune system

  • increase oxygenation of the blood

  • accelerate surgical recovery

Psychological Benefits of Therapeutic Music

First and foremost, playing therapeutic music for a patient connects the musician to the patient as a human being. Playing therapeutic music for someone says, above all, that he or she matters and is more than the illness or disability that is getting so much attention.

Emotional Benefits of Therapeutic Music

Therapeutic music provides emotional release. Music reaches beyond the verbal realm. It can put patients and their loved ones in touch with emotions that have been held back. It can create an atmosphere of bonding and healing, or it can provide a segue for grieving.

Why the Harp?

Music played on the harp has several unique healing properties. The resonance from the strings, including the range and pitch and tonal color set up an important relationship between the sound and the recipient.

Even if people cannot hear every tone of the harp, they still receive vibrations as ‘resonance,’ through skin, bone, muscle and the central nervous system. The whole body is positively affected by the administered music.


“Charlene was here visiting my patient who had an uncontrolled arrhythmia and we noticed a visible decrease in her heart rate when she played for this patient. She was wonderful!”

Melissa Knoble, RN, BSN

“Immediately after my Mother died in hospice, Charlene played the harp just for me. I felt broken, but was then transported and held in the music. It felt like a musical massage that helped me release the physical and emotional tension that I was holding in. The therapeutic music session put me back together.”

Christie Knapp

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