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As explained by the National Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians, "A therapeutic musician uses the inherent healing elements of live music and sound to enhance the environment for patients in healthcare settings, making it more conducive to the human healing process." Although it is often confused with music therapy, the two modalities serve different purposes. Music therapists have a four-year degree and their work usually involves direct interaction with a patient and has specific therapeutic goals. Therapeutic music is played by trained musicians in the moment in response to the patient's present condition and requires no direct participation from the patient -- the  music is the therapist. The patient is free to listen to the music in any manner that makes them most comfortable and drifting off to sleep is often a welcome side effect.

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