Designing a Music Therapy Room for Greater Success

As students on the Autism Spectrum are easily distracted, it is important to orient a music therapy room to reduce distraction. Architects and music therapists should be fully aware of the student environment when designing for any new music therapy room. Ceiling fans are great for air movement. The floor surface should be carpet or rubber flooring for sound absorption and have no level change or platform. A hard surface area should be provided for dancing to music as it is easier for a student to move on this type of surface. All musical instruments should be stored away so as not to provide a visual distraction for the group of students. In addition, the lighting should be controllable by a dimmer to provide the opportunity to make a space feel less institutional.

Directly adjacent to this new room ideally is a small office for two people. The door of this office should contain a window to allow observation by an intern. The room should also contain a sink to wash the instruments as necessary in maintaining a sanitary setting. The use of mirrors should be optional and determined in discussions with the therapist of the school for the final design. This may allow for students to see themselves and may enhance their performance.

Although a luxury, if space is available, two therapy rooms should be provided: a big room for group instruction and a small room for an individual teaching. A music therapy room is typically a square or rectangular room that is ideally highly-soundproofed. Some natural light that can be controlled is ideal. Any openings to the outside should be placed such as not to cause distraction thus ideally these windows are held high along the wall. The extent of glass must be controlled due to its lack of sound absorption.

Using these key elements in the design of music therapy rooms will create bright, lively and inviting spaces for our children to continue on a positive path of growth and development. It is well known that music therapy rooms effect and change the lives of ASD individuals of every age.