So you have decided on taking up a career of a music therapist. But do you have all the details that you need? In this article, we tell you how you can take up music therapy as a career.
In order to become a music therapist, it is first important to understand what music therapy is. It is the process in which a therapist uses the power of music to improve mental, social, physical, emotional, and spiritual health of his patients.
A number of conditions and disorders including psychiatric problems, medical issues, physical problems, aging, social interaction problems can all be healed with the help of this form of therapy, when used in tandem with other forms of therapy. It can also be used to improve learning, increase self-esteem, reduce stress, etc. As a music therapist you can find work in hospitals, schools, colleges, psychiatric facilities, private practices, etc.
Becoming a Music Therapist
If you are sure about taking up a career in music therapy then there are a couple of things that you need to keep in mind. You need to have an interest in not only music but also psychology and you should be able to use both subjects to treat patients. For a good music therapist, it is important to not only understand the power of music but also believe in it unequivocally. You need to have the power and the ability to reach others through your singing and instrument playing.
As a student of music therapy you will have the freedom of majoring in any medium you prefer, from piano and guitar to voice media. You need to have good mental health and the motivation to work with difficult individuals and provide them with necessary care. You need to possess qualities like sensitivity and the ability to selflessly care for another person.
There are degree programs that are available to train in this field. It is important that you join a program that is approved by the American Music Therapy Association. There are as many as seventy colleges that offer music therapy programs. While selecting a college, keep in mind considerations like the standing of the college, the facilities offered, its location, the faculty, and of course, financial viability. Also it may be a good idea to always talk to either former students or present students who will be able to tell you more about the college. Find out if the college meets the requirements that you have.
Also it is important to find out if there is any scope of internships and placements. Understand what requirements you need to meet to apply to the job. Once you have finished the program you will be required to take a national board exam that is given by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. In order to give this exam you first need to have completed at least six months of internship in the specialty that you have chosen for yourself.
The process of learning by no mean gets over the moment you are certified. In fact as a music therapist you will be expected to constantly learn more about the skills and knowledge that you need to do your job well. You will have also many career options. You can be employed by a clinic, or you can opt to work as a consultant. You may also be employed as administrators, supervisors or even as college professors.
Of course, depending on the option for employment that you take up, you will be required to possess different qualifications. The salary depends completely on where the person is employed and how much experience he possesses but for clinicians it may vary between USD 46,000 to USD 53,000. Government sectors tend to pay more than private employers.
The ability to heal someone emotionally and mentally with the help of music can be a gratifying experience. Understanding the requirements of the career has hopefully strengthened your resolve to take up a career in this form of therapy.