How To Become a Music Therapist

Music can touch anyone's soul in both a physical and emotional way. Music therapy is a type of healing in which a music therapist uses sounds and rhythms to help improve patient health. Basically, music makes it easier for patients to feel better, therefore promoting the body’s natural way of healing itself. Music therapy is appropriate for persons with both physical disabilities and mental disorders.

Music therapists can work in general hospitals, schools, psychiatric facilities, prisons, community centers, training institutes, and universities. Some can also hold private practices and provide service as independent consultants or practitioners.

If you wish to pursue this kind of career, you must hold a degree from an accredited academic program. You will also need to be certified to be able to advance in your career, and as an advantage when applying for positions with medical facilities.

  • Pursue an academic program. You will preferably want to complete a degree from an institution accredited by the Music Therapy Association. This will help ground you in the theoretical bases of music and music therapy. Currently, there are a growing number of universities and colleges offering programs in music therapy. Go for one that is duly accredited by the MTA, and within convenient reach. 
  • Accomplish your internship. Certification boards usually require a 6-month internship program. This can be in a preferred area of expertise, and is required prior to taking the certification test, which is managed by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Practical training is a vital part of your career, since it enables you to learn how to deal with real world situations.
  • Familiarize yourself the different methodologies. Music can be used to promote healing of people who are in pain, and who are experiencing disabilities.  You can work in one-on-one sessions, or you may have a group setting with a broad assortment of patients of different ages and backgrounds.
  • Appreciate music. Know how much you appreciate music and your ability as a musician. This should help you assess whether music helps you become supportive of other people’s efforts to restore their health or at least to alleviate pain and discomfort they are experiencing due to illness. Look for opportunities at children's hospitals, medical clinics, retirement homes, or veterans' homes for a chance to practice your craft. People everywhere have an appreciation for music, and how it can help ease sufferings.
  • Research and improve your technique. The use of music therapy is backed by research. It is therefore important to keep abreast of trends. Its efficiency has been tested in addressing a range of medical conditions, which include mental disabilities, and developmental disabilities, and aging.

Music has the power to promote healing by improving people's outlooks and promoting a healthy flow of energy. A person interested in becoming a music therapist should be a genuinely musical person who understands the power of music and how it could be used to sustain and develop health. It would also be a requirement for you to know how to play some instruments, as these will be useful in your therapy sessions. You must have the heart and soul of a musician in order to be an effective music therapist.


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