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What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is a process by which individuals obtain treatment for ailments, both mental and physical, through the use of music. Various methods are employed, such as composition, improvisation, listening and discussion, to engage the patient and utilize music as a central theme of that session. The use of music to provide therapeutic treatment has been advanced greatly over the years, providing methods for emotional and physical recuperation. Music therapists will work through hospitals, schools, clinics and other locations that provide therapy and assistance.
Students interested in music therapy must obtain at least a bachelor's degree, though master's and doctoral degrees are also available and prefered. Equivalency programs are also available for bachelor's degree holders in majors that are not music therapy. Such programs will allow the individual to fill in missing courses in order to become a music therapist. Music therapy combines knowledge of music and therapy as well as other fields. Once a program is completed a supervised internship is required, followed by the passing of the national certification exam.
Students enrolled in a music therapy program will learn about music in a variety of forms combined with various therapies used to rehabilitate patients and the various mental or physical issues that may be treated through such therapies. Students will be exposed to a variety of instruments, developing a nominal understanding of how they are used. Additionally, the ability to compose and to teach notation and composition will be explored. Courses in psychology and physiology will also be explored, providing the therapist with the knowledge necessary to treat patients.Specialized courses in the application of music therapy will also be provided, both through theory and observed practice.
Courses that may be offered in a music therapy curriculum:
- Music Theory
- Music History
- Foundations of Therapy
- Methods of Therapy
Employment Opportunities, Salary and Related Fields
Job opportunities are expected to grow for music therapists over the coming years. As various therapies begin to become more commonplace and the developmental role of music therapy expands there will be an increased need for qualified individuals. Music therapists work in clinics, hospitals, at homes or in special offices. A music therapist's work begins prior to encountering the patient through research and review of the patient's profile. A music therapist must be engaging and patient, and willing to work with patients of all ages.
The average salary of a music therapist is approximately $58,000 per year. Salary is based on experience and education, with professional who may demonstrate success over time earning more. Higher levels of education also allow for higher pay rates.