How to Become a Music Therapist

Music Therapist professionals work in a variety of health facilities to provide therapeutic relief to patients diagnosed with an illness or disease.

A Music Therapist’s goal is to help rehabilitate a patient by using a musical treatment program.

This type of therapy uses the healing effects of music and is geared to improve the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual facets of a patient’s life and health.

Music therapy is extremely helpful in treating the physiological and psychological aspects of a diagnosis.

This type of therapy can be used with a variety of patients.

Some patients can be young children or elderly adults who have served in the armed forces.

The types of disorders and ailments a Music Therapist helps treat also vary ranging from psychological, developmental, physical, substance abuse and handicap disorders.

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Music Therapists perform their healing services in several types of health facilities including: correctional institutions, state mental health hospitals, youth residential facilities, veteran hospitals or schools for the deaf and blind.

Someone who wants to become a Music Therapist must not only have a passion for music, they must apply their talents and passion to help their patients.

Candidates should also have an interest in interacting with a wide range of people who are dealing with a diagnosis.

These professionals may also work in a community setting and require innate people skills.

Education Requirements to Become a Music Therapist

In addition to having an affinity for melodies and songs, a candidate who wants to become a Music Therapist must fulfill a unique set of requirements in order to provide their talent and skills in this field.

A majority of Music Therapy professionals are also musicians and are able to perform songs on at least one type of instrument.

Candidates must begin a Bachelor’s program that focuses on Music Therapy in order to be considered for jobs.

Some helpful skills that a candidate should have in order to become a Music Therapist include things that are specific to music.

Candidates must be able to read music scores; they must also have a general background of music theory and be able to direct a band, orchestra or other types of groups.

Music Therapists must also have thorough knowledge of music therapy and its applications.

They must be able to determine the types of therapies that help patients with different conditions.

For example, a qualified Music Therapist would be able to determine the type of treatment a mentally handicapped patient would require versus a patient with a physical condition.

Finally, a qualified Music Therapist will need to learn the different types of equipment that is used in music therapy.

Music Therapist Job Description

Music Therapists use their knowledge of music to implement a treatment plan to help their patients overcome the psychological or physiological aspects of an illness.

They can begin by getting to know their patients and reviewing their medical history.

Using the information they gather, they will then create and organize a treatment plan specialized with the patient’s needs, potential and interests in mind.

A Music Therapist professional will plan a variety of activities using the following techniques: vocal or instrumental music, solo or group singing, music activities or performing in a band.

All the techniques used will depend on the patient and works best for them.

During all activities, a Music Therapist will observe the patient and determine whether the treatment is helping the patient.

For patients who perform activities in a group setting, a Music Therapist will create a general treatment program.

This type of setting will engage patients who are able to work with others.

Music Therapist Salary and Career Path

According to, the national salary range for this type of career is $24,644 to $50,844 per year.

In addition, a Music Therapist can expect to move up the ranks as they gain experience in the field.

Candidates who are fresh out of college will begin at the entry level and are regarded as trainees in some facilities.

They will develop their expertise and skills and move into an intermediate level once they show an understanding of music therapy.

The last level includes highly experienced professionals who perform their services that affect the development of their program as a whole.

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