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. (American Music Therapy Association
Meet the Team
Crystal Weaver, CRC, MT-BC
Crystal Weaver is a board-certified music therapist and a certified rehabilitation
counselor. She graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in music therapy in 2004
and graduated with a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling in 2010 from Maryville
University in St. Louis, Missouri. During her time at Maryville University, Crystal
was presented with the Leadership in Music Therapy Award from the Music Therapy Program
and the Faculty Award for Excellence from the Rehabilitation Counseling Program. From
2009 to 2010, Crystal was the graduate assistant for the Rehabilitation Counseling
In 2004, Crystal completed a National Roster Internship at Hospice of Palm Beach County
in West Palm Beach, Florida. Later that same year, she accepted a full-time music
therapy position at BJC Hospice in St. Louis, Missouri. During her time at BJC Hospice,
Crystal was a part of the Missouri Baptist Hospital Speaker's Bureau and was a member
of the Quality Assurance Performance Improvement Committee. In 2010, Crystal was named
Employee of the Year at BJC Hospice.
In 2011, Crystal accepted a music therapy position at the St. Louis University Cancer
Center. This position focuses on conducting music therapy based research studies and
providing music therapy services to patients diagnosed with cancer. Crystal is also
responsible for fostering community partnerships with the St. Louis Symphony and the
Saint Louis University School of Fine and Performing Arts.
In addition to her responsibilities at the St. Louis University Cancer Center, Crystal
is a site supervisor for music therapy internship students and is an adjunct faculty
member at Maryville University and the Saint Louis University School of Fine and Performing
Andrew Dwiggins is a music therapist at the Saint Louis University Cancer Center.
He graduated from Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri, with a bachelor's degree
in music therapy in July 2013. After completing a music therapy internship, Andrew
was hired as a full-time music therapist at the Saint Louis University Cancer Center.
At the Cancer Center, Andrew is responsible for conducting music therapy sessions
and assisting Crystal Weaver with music therapy research studies.
Before pursuing a career in music therapy, Andrew was a professional musician. His
band, Greenwheel, was signed to Island Records from 2000-2006. Andrew composed the
song Breathe which was recorded by Melissa Etheridge for her 2004 album, Lucky. In
2005, Melissa Etheridge received a Grammy nomination for the song composed by Andrew
Dwiggins in the category of Best Rock Solo Vocal Performance.
Music therapists assess emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning,
communication abilities, and cognitive skills through musical responses; design music
sessions for individuals and groups based on client needs using music improvisation,
receptive music listening, song writing, lyric discussion, music and imagery, music
performance, and learning through music; participate in interdisciplinary treatment
planning, ongoing evaluation, and follow up.
Children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly with mental health needs, developmental
and learning disabilities, Alzheimer's disease and other aging-related conditions,
substance abuse problems, brain injuries, physical disabilities, and acute and chronic
pain, including mothers in labor.
Music therapists work in psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitative facilities, medical
hospitals, outpatient clinics, day care treatment centers, agencies serving developmentally
disabled persons, community mental health centers, drug and alcohol programs, senior
centers, nursing homes, hospice programs, correctional facilities, halfway houses,
schools, and private practice.
The idea of music as a healing influence which could affect health and behavior is
as least as old as the writings of Aristotle and Plato. The 20th Century discipline
began after World War I and World War II when community musicians of all types, both
amateur and professional, went to Veterans hospitals around the country to play for
the thousands of veterans suffering both physical and emotional trauma from the wars.
The patients' notable physical and emotional responses to music led the doctors and
nurses to request the hiring of musicians by the hospitals. It was soon evident that
the hospital musicians needed some prior training before entering the facility and
so the demand grew for a college curriculum. The first music therapy degree program
in the world, founded at Michigan State University in 1944, celebrated its 50th anniversary
in 1994. The American Music Therapy Association was founded in 1998 as a union of
the National Association for Music Therapy and the American Association for Music
Persons who complete one of the approved college music therapy curricula (including
an internship) are then eligible to sit for the national examination offered by the
Certification Board for Music Therapists. Music therapists who successfully complete
the independently administered examination hold the music therapist-board certified
The American Music Therapy Association promotes a vast amount of research exploring
the benefits of music as therapy through publication of the Journal of Music Therapy,
Music Therapy Perspectives and other sources. A substantial body of literature exists
to support the effectiveness of music therapy.
Music is used in general hospitals to: alleviate pain in conjunction with anesthesia
or pain medication; elevate patients' mood and counteract depression; promote movement
for physical rehabilitation; calm or sedate, often to induce sleep; counteract apprehension
or fear; and lessen muscle tension for the purpose of relaxation, including the autonomic
That the client or patient has to have some particular music ability to benefit from
music therapy — they do not. That there is one particular style of music that is more
therapeutic than all the rest — this is not the case. All styles of music can be useful
in affecting change in a client or patient's life. The individual's preferences, circumstances
and need for treatment, and the client or patient's goals help to determine the types
of music a music therapist may use.
The American Music Therapy Association is the largest professional association which
represents over 5,000 music therapists, corporate members and related associations
worldwide. Founded in 1998, its mission is the progressive development of the therapeutic
use of music in rehabilitation, special education, and community settings. AMTA sets
the education and clinical training standards for music therapists. Predecessors to
the American Music Therapy Association included the National Association for Music
Therapy founded in 1950 and the American Association for Music Therapy founded in