What is Music Therapy?
Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.
- promote wellness
- manage stress
- alleviate pain
- express feelings
- enhance memory
- improve communication
- promote physical rehabilitation
What Do Music Therapists Do?
According to the American Music Therapy Association (2010), »music therapists assess emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills through musical responses; design music sessions for individuals and groups based on client needs using music improvisation, receptive music listening, song writing, lyric discussion, music and imagery, music performance, and learning through music; participate in interdisciplinary treatment planning, ongoing evaluation, and follow up.» Other applications/interventions also may include:
- Song discussion
- Song stories
- Music legacies
- Music and movement
- Music with other expressive arts
Who do Music Therapists Help?
Music therapists can work with a wide range of populations and in diverse types of facilities. Music therapy can be used with individuals with:
- Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities
- Mental health needs
- Substance abuse problems
- Physical disabilities
- Chronic or terminal illnesses
- Alzheimer’s Disease/dementia
- High risk pregnancies/Maternity
Facilities where a music therapist might work include:
- Medical Hospitals
- Nursing Homes/Assisted-living Facilities
- Mental Health Facilities/Behavioral Stress Units
- Pediatric or Neonatal Units
- Physical Rehabilitation Units
- Correctional facilities
- Private Homes
How does someone become a Music Therapist?
Students must complete a minimum of 1200 hours of music therapy clinical training, with approximately 200 hours in pre-internship field experiences and 1000 hours in a National Roster or University-Affiliated Internship (approximately six months full-time). A minimum of a bachelor’s degree (or Music Therapy Equivalency program) in music therapy also is required, with a curriculum which includes:
- applied music study, music history, music theory/aural skills, and ensembles
- music therapy courses (including clinical skills, research, and music psychology)
- anatomy/physiology, psychology courses, and dance/movement
- other related courses.
Completion of academic and internship requirements leads to eligibility to take the board examination. Passing the examination leads to entry-level credential MT-BC (Music Therapist-Board Certified) awarded by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT).