What are the Different Music Therapist Jobs?

Britt Archer

There is an old proverb that states, “Music tames the savage beast.” While this saying may not be entirely accurate, the healing power of music is known to the world, and is harnessed in a form of expressive therapy called music therapy or musical therapy. Music therapists work with people from all walks of life, including those with physical disabilities, mental disorders and illnesses, the elderly and more. Music therapist jobs are highly personal, and usually a session with a music therapist is conducted on a one-on-one basis, as is the case for most mental health careers.

A music therapist may work with the elderly.
A music therapist may work with the elderly.

Music therapist jobs can be found in a variety of settings. Music therapy is sometimes prescribed as a psychiatric treatment, so music therapists may work in a psychiatric facility or office. A musical therapist working at a psychiatric hospital job is considered to be one of the most highly paid musical therapist jobs. Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, as well as physical rehabilitation centers for those with physical handicaps, are also common places one might find a music therapist at work. Some music therapists may choose to go into practice for themselves, and less commonly they might work with a patient in the patient's own home.

Music therapy may help Alzheimer's patients recall certain memories.
Music therapy may help Alzheimer's patients recall certain memories.

Obtaining music therapist jobs requires training. The type of training required varies by location, but usually requires a four-year or more degree from an accredited university program. Music therapist jobs also require the practitioner to be licensed to perform such work in their country. This usually requires more than 1,000 hours of clinical observation and training and passing a board exam. If a music therapist is thinking of pursuing a more in-depth job and also providing psychotherapy, more training is required. While the necessary qualifications depend upon the location, music therapists generally have to show proficiency in several types of instrument and vocal instruction, as well as some of the healthcare skills that would generally be required of someone working in a healthcare field.

Music therapy has been shown to improve almost every aspect of human lives, from allowing patients with Alzheimer's disease to recall certain memories, to improving motor skills in children with autism. This has been discovered through clinical trials, leading to another aspect of musical therapist jobs: research. Many studies are performed yearly to see how music therapy promotes brain and motor activity, and researchers are almost always needed in the field. Music therapy is considered a valid form of therapy by most mental health agencies, and is reimbursable in the United States by Medicaid and Medicare.

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