Music Therapist Career Information, Jobs, Degrees & Training Programs

Music Therapists utilize music to assist people struggling with social, psychological, and physical problems. After evaluating patients, music therapists recommend music to listen to, or they encourage patients to sing or play musical instruments. This allows patients to channel frustrations into productive activities. Music therapy is especially effective for people that struggle communicating their feelings. Research has proven that music therapy can help people recover from serious injuries, cope with depression, and resist urges to abuse drugs and alcohol.

Personal Qualifications

Music therapists should have genuine concern for the welfare of others and the ability to empower people to resolve their own problems. They should also be able to relate with, and form relationships with people from various backgrounds and ages. Since these specialists recommend musical therapies for patients, they should also be creative and open to different viewpoints. It's also essential for them to understand various musical genres. If you're interested in this profession, volunteer at a children's hospital, rehabilitation clinic, summer camp for children, assisted-living facility, or any clinic where people with disabilities receive treatment.

Education and Training

Music therapists are trained to understand music and mental health therapy. Students enrolled in music therapy undergraduate programs are typically required to complete courses in behavioral science, sociology, biology, counseling, music, psychology, and music therapy. Music therapy students generally complete fieldwork where they apply what is learned in the classroom to practical clinical applications at student health centers and other medical clinics. During college, students are taught how to evaluate patients, design and administer treatment plans, and assess the effectiveness of treatment. Once AMTA-approved training is completed, students are permitted to take the Certification Board for Music Therapists examination. If they pass, they're recognized as certified music therapists.

Individuals with bachelor's degrees in other fields can apply to a music therapy degree equivalency program administered by AMTA-recognized universities. In these programs, students are only required to complete major-related classes since they've already finished general education requirements. Students earning music therapy graduate degrees complete more in-depth classes, conduct original research, and often complete clinical internships. Universities that offer graduate degrees in music therapy typically only admit students who've obtained music therapy bachelor's degrees or completed equivalency programs.

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