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How to become a Music Therapist

music therapist careers

What does a Music Therapist do?

Music therapists work with people with disabilities or people who are recovering from illness. Using music, therapists help their clients to express themselves, become aware of their feelings, interact with other people more confidently, and effect positive changes in their lives.

Music therapists do not teach music; instead they encourage clients to try different instruments and their own voices, to explore sound and to create their own method of communication via music. The type of music depends on the needs and interests of the client, and is improvised by the client and therapist during group activities or on a one to one basis.

Music therapists work closely with a range of other health care professionals such as nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, psychiatrists and psychologists.

What's the working environment like working as a Music Therapist?

Working hours may be full-time or part-time, but are likely to vary according to clients' needs.

Music therapists work in all types of places including schools, prisons, hospitals, retirement homes and day centres. Most working environments are fully accessible. A driving licence is often useful.

What does it take to become a Music Therapist?

As a music therapist you should:

  • be an excellent communicator
  • be a skilled musician
  • have the desire to understand and assist people
  • have a lively and imaginative approach to work, with the versatility to address situations in different ways
  • have a good understanding of the principles and working practice of therapy
  • have the patience to establish and sustain a possibly lengthy therapeutic relationship.

Music Therapist Career Opportunities

There are over 300 music therapists registered in the UK. They work in the NHS, in education, social services, the prison service and for voluntary organisations. Jobs are often on a part-time or temporary basis.

Some music therapists work in private practice and are self-employed.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Music Therapist that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

The Association of Professional Music Therapists (APMT)
61 Church Hill Road
East Barnet
Tel: 020 8440 4153

Health Professions Council (HPC)
184 Kennington Park Road
SE11 4BU
Tel: 020 7582 0866

Incorporated Society of Musicians
10 Stratford Place
Tel: 020 7629 4413

NHS Learning and Development Service
Tel: 08000 150 850
Email: learning@nhscareers.nhs.uk

Courses to help you become a Music Therapist