During my today, I practiced music as therapy and music therapeutically. Is there a difference? Yup (see below). I was lucky enough to have time to visit my grandma- and I'm sooooo glad I did. It made the day for both of us- maybe even the week! I wasn't her music therapist, I was her granddaughter; she wasn't a client, she was my Gram. We sat opposite each other in our respective chairs- much like a music therapist and a client might- but I wasn't watching reactions for the purpose of data-taking and reporting (although I did find myself doing so at times, it wasn't my intent...just a work habit!). I watched her face to see the smiles she gave, looks of pride as I accompanied on my guitar and she on a keyboard on her lap, and listened as she found harmony to join me in singing "You Are My Sunshine" (one of my favorites we sang together during my childhood). It was therapeutic for both of us as we engaged each other and found enjoyment and relaxation in participating in and creating music together. We bonded and made memories over an activity that's seemingly so simple. I loved it. She told me that it was "wonderful."
Now, people can and do definitely use music in the same manner we did- recreationally to support emotions, energize, or de-stress...it happens every day, and that may be therapeutic for you. Think about psyching yourself for a run, turning to a piece you recognize as soothing on a long drive home from the office, or playing with your kids. All awesome! However, it's music therapy when a board certified music therapist assess and creates a tailored treatment plan for his/her client(s). Today, singing along with some of my grandma's favorite tunes, I was perfectly happy to be a music therapist using music in a therapeutic manner.
By the way...my Gram used to play the accordian- cool, huh?