Music Therapy as a Career
Roman Music Therapy Services receives many requests from students interested in learning more about music therapy. This page is being created to answer some of those questions and provide additional information regarding schools and training programs.
The following information has been taken from the American Music Therapy Association Website, www.musictherapy.org.
A Career in Music Therapy
A Career in Music Therapy offers challenge, opportunity, and distinctive rewards to those interested in working with people of all ages with various disabilities. Music therapists are employed in many different settings including general and psychiatric hospitals, community mental health agencies, rehabilitation centers, day care facilities, nursing homes, schools and private practice. Music therapists provide services for adults & children with psychiatric disorders, cognitive and developmental disabilities, speech and hearing impairments, physical disabilities, and neurological impairments, among others. Music therapists are usually members of an interdisciplinary team who support the goals and objectives for each client within the context of the music therapy setting.
Music Therapy is an allied health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, psychological, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the qualified music therapist provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, the client’s abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of his or her life. Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. Research in the music therapy profession supports the effectiveness of music therapy in many areas such as facilitating movement and overall physical rehabilitation, motivating people to cope with treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for the expression of feelings.
Personal Qualifications of a Music Therapist include a genuine interest in people and a desire to help others empower themselves. The essence of music therapy practice involves establishing caring and professional relationships with people of all ages and abilities. Empathy, patience, creativity, imagination, an openness to new ideas, and understanding of oneself are also important attributes. Because music therapists are musicians as well as therapists, a background in and love of music are also essential. Individuals considering a career in music therapy are advised to gain experience through volunteer opportunities or summer work in nursing homes, camps for children with disabilities, and other settings which serve the needs of people with disabilities.
The Education of a Music Therapist
The education of a music therapist is unique among college degree programs because it not only allows a thorough study of music, but encourages examination of one’s self as well as others. The undergraduate curriculum includes coursework in music therapy, psychology, music, biological, social and behavioral sciences, disabilities and general studies. Entry level study includes practical application of music therapy procedures and techniques learned in the classroom through required fieldwork in facilities serving individuals with disabilities in the community and/or on-campus clinics. Students learn to assess the needs of clients, develop and implement treatment plans, and evaluate and document clinical changes. At the completion of AMTA-approved academic training and internship, the student is eligible for admission to the certification exam administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists, Inc. Upon passing the national examination administered by the CBMT, the student acquires the credential Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC). Coursework requirements vary; contact individual universities for specific information.
Individuals who have earned a baccalaureate degree in an area other than music therapy may elect to complete the degree equivalency program in music therapy offered by most AMTA-approved universities. Under this program, the student completes only the required coursework without necessarily earning a second baccalaureate degree. Graduate programs in music therapy examine, with greater breadth and depth, issues relevant to the clinical, professional, and academic preparation of music therapists, usually in combination with established methods of research inquiry. Candidates for the master’s degree in music therapy must hold a baccalaureate degree. Some schools require either a bachelors degree in music therapy, the equivalency in music therapy, or that the candidate be working concurrently toward fulfilling degree equivalency requirements. Contact individual universities for details on pre-registration and entry requirements. Although there is no AMTA-approved doctoral degree in music therapy per se, selected universities do offer coursework in music therapy in combination with doctoral study in related academic areas.
Roman Music Therapy Services423 Main St.
Melrose, MA 02176