dcsimg
GET MATCHED TO A SCHOOL
In Seconds
Where do you want to take classes?
Online
Campus
Either
When would you like to start?
What's your zip code?
GO ›
What degree are you interested in?
GO ›
You're almost there...
Processing your information

Music Therapist

Explore the Music Therapy Career

music therapy

The Greeks claimed that astronomy and music were two sides of the same coin: astronomy being the relationship between observable, permanent, external objects, and music being the relationship between invisible, internal, hidden objects. They said that music discovers these big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls, helping us figure out the position of things inside of us.

Karl Paulnack, division director of The Boston Conservatory, told this to incoming freshman at the Conservatory a number of years ago. He was speaking to student musicians, but his speech, entitled "The Power of Music" applies - and probably with more relevance - to those musicians who go on to study music as therapy, turning their love of music and its healing properties into a music therapy career.

Music therapists today qualify the Greek's prescient observation, noting that not only does music find and move pieces of our hearts and souls, but our psyches as well.

But whether music affects the heart, soul, psyche, or all three, is no longer questioned. The field of music therapy has showed, through numerous empirical studies, that the Greeks were correct. Music is powerful, as powerful as astronomy, and as important as the sun, stars and planets to our existence. Why? Because music helps us figure ourselves out.

Music therapists as spiritual chiropractors

Paulnack told the group that musicians aren't really entertainers, but "therapists for the human soul, a spiritual version of a chiropractor, physical therapist, someone who works with our insides to see if they can get things to line up, to see if we can come into harmony with ourselves and be healthy and happy and well."

Certainly Paulnack, a professional pianist who has traveled the world performing with the world's top musicians, understands music's force for good, personal growth, and change.

It's also no coincidence that the field of music therapy attracts musicians to the career. Before studying the empirical evidence proving the effectiveness of music as therapy, musicians know on an intuitive, personal level, the impact that music makes on themselves, others, and communities around the world. They know that music therapy is medicine, sometimes more effective than the strongest prescription or antidote for lessening pain, discomfort, depression (see Depression), anxiety (see Anxiety) or a number of other illnesses and disorders (see Mental Health Disorders).

Music therapists as trained professionals

According to the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), music therapists apply therapeutic musical interventions to address physical, psychological, cognitive, and the 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," the AMTA website states.

The trained music therapist assesses clients within the context of their individual circumstances and health needs. A therapist working in a hospice, for example, will apply musical interventions that ease end-of-life pain, fear, sleeplessness, anticipatory grief, and restlessness. Other music therapists working in drug rehabilitation facilities help clients deal not only with physical withdrawal symptoms, but the spiritual and psychological pain that contribute to the addictions.

And those who work with individuals suffering from motor and impulse disorders can use melody and rhythm interventions to overcome or live more comfortably with these disorders.

Whatever the context, the music therapist uses music to achieve the following:

  • Facilitate movement and aid in overall physical rehabilitation.
  • Motivate people to cope with treatment and pain.
  • Provide emotional support for clients and their families
  • Provide a way of expressing thoughts, feelings and emotions that clients are unable to express verbally.

Holistically healthy

Traditional healthcare facilities and programs were the first to employ music therapists, but now as the nation's emphasis on the mind-body connection and alternative approaches to medicine grows, so do the opportunities for those with music therapy careers.

Music therapists are now found working in oncology treatment centers, pain and stress clinics, correctional facilities, hospice care, and substance abuse and addiction facilities and organizations. School districts also employ music therapists to work with children with a range of social and emotional disorders, mental illness, and special education needs. And, with more U.S. citizens living longer, aging programs and services also now hire music therapists.

How to become a music therapist

Music therapists are musicians as well as therapists, so a background in and love of music are essential for this career, states the AMTA website. But it also stresses that those seeking a career in this field have a genuine interest in people and a desire to help others empower themselves. Other attributes required for this career, according to the AMTA, are:

  • empathy
  • patience
  • creativity
  • imagination
  • an openness to new ideas
  • an understanding of oneself

After completing an approved college music therapy program (including an internship), music therapy candidates are eligible to sit for the national examination offered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Passing the national examination provides individuals with the music therapist-board certified credential (MT-BC).

If you are a musician, have a desire to work with people, helping them discover the "hidden, invisible sections of themselves," in order to heal, grow, and live well, request information from a school offering a degree in music therapy.

Psychology Schools & Colleges
Refine School Matches
LOCATION
Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
SUBJECT

DEGREE

PROGRAM TYPE

START TIME

Showing 10 results
            Results open in new window
            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
            • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
            • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
            • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
            • Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            University of Phoenix , Online (campus option available)
            • Partnerships with thousands of companies
            • Alliances with many national industry associations
            • Personalized career guidance
            • Job market research tools to help you explore your career of interest
            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
            • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
            • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
            • Michigan's largest independent college.
            • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
            • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Its Fast Track program enables qualified students to save up to 30% on tuition and graduate up to 30% faster.
            • Its online MBA program was named by the International Graduate Forum as a top 10 Online MBA Program in 2012.
            • Listed as a military friendly school by G.I. Jobs magazine in 2014.
            • Lets students watch, view, read, or hear content through its program, My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.).
            • Has additional campus locations near military bases in Colorado Springs and Denver.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Intertwining academic excellence and faith since its founding in 1941.
            • Offers traditional undergrad, adult and graduate, as well as seminary programs.
            • Gives laptop computers to all incoming freshman students.
            • Has nearly 20 study abroad programs available across 10 countries.
            • Located less than 5 miles from Grand Rapids, the 2nd largest city in Michigan.
            • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found
            South University , Cleveland
            • Began in 1899 as Draughon’s Practical Business College.
            • Features campuses that are heavily engaged in their respective communities, providing professional service from students and faculty.
            • Offers financial aid, scholarships, and counseling for both active and post-duty military students.
            • Has 15 campuses across the United States, as well as 4 art institutes in North Carolina and Texas.
            • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked 25th among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
            • One of the world’s leading private research universities.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 9:1, and 56.8% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has an average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, of 96.8 percent.
            • Dedicated to a strong tradition of integrating liberal and professional education since 1880.
            • Its faculty includes National Academy members, Nobel Laureates, MacArthur Fellows, and more.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            4 Program(s) Found

            Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose. Our 20,000 alumni, from more than 110 countries, are changing the world as accomplished professionals. Named a top-15 school nationally for online bachelor's programs (U.S. News & World Report, 2015), Regent is among the most affordable undergraduate Christian colleges (CCCU 2015). Fully accredited, challenging programs are available online and on campus. New classes begin every eight weeks.

            • Online Courses
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Several institutional scholarship opportunities are available to students who qualify.
            • Features several learning model options, including online, residency, and hybrid options.
            • Offers graduate degree programs in organizational leadership, mind-body medicine, psychology and human science.
            • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
            • Three teaching locations in Seattle, Washington and Houston, Texas, with the university headquarters located in San Francisco, California.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses