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.
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.
As a music therapist you should:
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.
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