How to become a Music Therapist

Music therapists work in health-related fields, treating clients of all ages from babies through to the elderly, and assist with varying problems and disabilities. Music therapy can be used to help patients with developmental, cognitive, neurological, or physical disabilities, from speech and hearing impairments to psychiatric disorders. Sometimes the therapeutic benefits of music are simply used to bring relaxation and enjoyment to patients with long-term physical or mental health problems.

If you are empathetic, passionate about music, and love helping people, working as a music therapist could be a very rewarding career to consider.

What skills do I need as a music therapist?

  • Caring & empathetic
  • Passionate & dedicated
  • High level of musical proficiency
  • Creative & intuitive
  • Great imagination
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Non-judgmental & flexible
  • Great communicator

What does the job involve?

  • Meet with clients to assess their needs
  • Plan & design customised music therapy sessions
  • Provide instruction & motivation to clients
  • Analyse & measure clients’ progress
  • Adapt plans or goals if needed
  • Write progress reports & provide feedback
  • Liaise with other health professionals

What industries do music therapists typically work in?

  • Health Care & Social Assistance
  • Education & Training
  • Public Administration & Safety

What Career Cluster do music therapists belong to?

Because their work involves helping others to feel their best, music therapists are usually strong Guardians.

What kind of lifestyle can I expect?

Many music therapists work part-time, so there is some room for flexibility. You can expect to do most of your work during normal business hours, and you probably won’t need to do much work on weekends, holidays, or overtime.

Music therapists can work in hospitals, mental health centres, aged and day care centres, schools, community groups, or their own private practices. In some cases, you might even be able to do some work from home, or conduct sessions remotely via Zoom.

Most music therapists earn an average salary throughout their career.

How to become a music therapist

Music therapists typically need to complete a recognised training program, which can range from several months to several years in length, depending on the level and complexity. The training often includes both theoretical and practical components, as well as supervised clinical practice, and may also require ongoing professional development to maintain certification or registration with relevant industry bodies.

If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as a music therapist is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:

  • Keep your passion for music alive, learn to play different instruments, and explore lots of different kinds of music.
  • Volunteer in health and care settings or find work experience in a related area.
  • Work on your interpersonal skills, put yourself out there, and engage with lots of people from diverse backgrounds.

Find out more here:

Similar careers to music therapist

  • Music teacher
  • Dance therapist
  • Counsellor
  • Psychologist
  • Social worker
  • Acupuncturist
  • Massage therapist
  • Occupational therapist

Find out more about alternative careers.


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