The Music Place, San Jose California, Where Learning Is Fun!

THE place for wholesome MUSIC and DANCE education for children of all ages in San Jose, Sunnyvale and around the South Bay.

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Children Learning Trumpet
Class Descriptions
Singing class for pre-schooler
Piano Teacher Helping child
Music Therapy Enrollment


Read more about Music Therapy

How to get started in Music Therapy at The Music Place


What is the difference between music therapy and music instruction?


 This is a great question! The primary difference is in the goals of each:

THE GOALS OF THERAPY are therapeutic, to help the child in whatever physical, cognitive or emotional areas of concern can be identified and addressed. Learning music may be an ancillary benefit but never the primary goal of Music Therapy. NOTE: Although any therapy requires varying degrees of effort for the client, the highly sensory and pervasive impact of music makes it a more engaging and useful tool, particularly for those who are already responsive to music. This is why we call it the FUN therapy.

THE GOALS OF MUSIC INSTRUCTION: At The Music Place (and its non-profit sister organization Arts Educators Group), music instruction for kids with special needs is called Adaptive Teaching. The goal of coaching/music instruction is to teach those with special needs to sing or play an instrument. This is offered at the child's own pace by music educators who are experienced and patient with those who have special needs. In these cases, the ancillary benefits but not the goal, are therapeutic.


What is the difference between Adaptive Music Teachers and Music Therapists?

answer The primary difference is in their education:

Music Therapists are vocal and/or instrumental musicians who may be equipped to teach music, but who are specifically trained and Board Certified (MT-BC) to use music-based interventions to work with clients of all ages (neo-natal to geriatric) who experience one or several of a broad spectrum of impairments. These may include but are not limited to physical (i.e. CP; MS), emotional (i.e., depression; PTSD) or mental (i.e., autism;  Alzheimer's) disorders.

Adaptive Music Teachers are vocal and/or instrumental musicians who are trained to teach music, but who, because of their unusual patience, creativity and experience find delight working with high-functioning children and adults who have special needs.  Although many of these instructors have studied special needs populations and how to serve them, they are not Board Certified therapists.  The tuition for Adaptive Music teachers is less than that of a therapist.

How will I know if my child can be served by an Adaptive Music Teacher?

answer The best way to determine your child's placement is to have an assessment of some kind.

FREE ASSESSMENT: If your child is high functioning, verbal, interactive and responsive, an Educational Specialist may be able to assess the suitability of adaptive teaching for your child through a free assessment. The E.S. will help you determine one of the following options:
  • Set up a paid trial lesson with an adaptive teacher and follow up to determine the suitability of the specific adaptive teacher and/or music learning
  • Refer you to the Music Therapy department
MUSIC THERAPY ASSESSMENT: If your child is less verbal, responsive or interactive, then a paid session with Music Therapist will help determine if your child is ready for a Group or private Music Therapy 

What are some examples of the difference between music therapy and music instruction?

answer ADAPTIVE TEACHING: A high-functioning child may develop stronger fine motor skills or better attention as a result of learning to play the piano, but this would be considered an ancillary or secondary benefit while pursuing the educational goal of playing the piano.

THERAPY: Singing and/or echoing may be a tool used to help develop speech skills, but it is not a voice lessons. In the same vein, playing flute may be a tool to help develop lung capacity, but in therapy the focus will be on overcoming the physical impairment not on learning to play the instrument. Music learning is a tool but not the goal: a therapist who can use flute to help a client is not necessarily (and rarely is) a trained flautist.

Can anyone from a special needs population work effectively with an adaptive teacher?

answer Not always.  We want the experience to be positive and not frustrating for any client or student, and the impairments of some clients are such as to be best served by a trained therapist; however, as the therapeutic goals are met, some clients may add specific instrumental learning to their experience.  The therapist can help determine if and when the client is ready for specific instrumental instruction from adaptive teachers. 

How do I choose between group and private therapy?


We understand that in most cases, families are extremely desirous of social opportunities for their children with special needs; however certain regulatory abilities are necessary in order for a group to be a feasible way to meet this need. Since our therapy groups are designed by age and differing levels of functionality, an assessment is first required in order to determine the best group or private therapy environment.


Where do you offer Music Therapy?


As of 2017, Music Therapy (offered through our therapy partner, Arts Educators Group) is offered on four Music Place Campuses:

  • Sunnyvale: 510 Lawrence Expressway #221

  • Near Santana Row: 352 So. Baywood Avenue

  • South San Jose/Cambrian: 5150 Camden Avenue

  • South Willow Glen: 1121 Koch Lane @ Almaden

Special boy

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Last Modified: 2017.11.07T23:09:01

Actual Customer Testimonials:

"We have recommended to many of our friends. We love the place. It has totally helped our daughter to not only know the notes but to truly have fun with them! We love the teacher(s) and wish them all the very best. - " -- Happy parents

"Our daughter, Melissa, loves her music class, and she looks forward to the recitals. She's made friends and become more confident. We'd recommend the Music Place to anyone. -- Melissa's parents, Kathy & Matt, Los Gatos" .

I tell everyone who will listen about the amazing introduction to music that our daughter is getting with the Music Place. People are always amazed when a 3-year old explains that she played an oboe last week and is going to play a piccolo next week! Most importantly, our daughter can't wait for music class & asks to go every day. -- The Pace Family