Career and Job Search Guide

Music Therapist

Music can have a lasting impact on a person emotionally and socially. Music is a significant aspect of almost all cultures. It is used to create moods, relax, and be entertained. Since music is significant to many people, it is now used in certain forms of therapy. Music therapists utilize music in therapy to treat depression, chronic pain, and various emotional and mental health disorders.

Before therapy is administered, music therapists must complete a psychological evaluation of their clients. Once a diagnosis can be determined, they may recommend certain types of music for their clients to listen to, or they may encourage their clients to participate in musical creation, whether it be singing, playing an instrument, etc. Therapy is designed to empower patients to transfer the energy taken from the music to solve their problems.

Musical therapists usually cater specific treatments to individual needs. For example, a therapist working with someone struggling with chronic pain in a hospital would recommend musical therapy to alleviate pain. A therapist working with recovering drug addicts may recommend treatments to help patients cope with withdrawals and heal emotional problems that trigger the desire to abuse drugs and alcohol.

No matter the circumstance, the purpose of music therapy is as follows:
  • Assist patients recovering from physical injuries
  • Provide a means to cope with emotional trauma
  • Serve as support for people struggling with relationship problems
  • Enable individuals to communicate their feelings when they cannot do so verbally
Those interested in working as a music therapist must understand musical concepts. It is also helpful to have a background in musical performance. Effective musical therapists should also be empathetic, creative, easy to talk with, and understand human psychology.

Numerous colleges offer music therapy programs. Students enrolled in these programs will also be able to easily find internship opportunities. Following graduation, potential candidates must pass an exam administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists to become certified.