Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized/group goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.
Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the qualified music therapist provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, clients’ abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives. Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in many areas such as: overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing people’s motivation to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings.
The following listing provides only a glimpse at the types of facilities that currently employ music therapists worldwide:
Day Care Treatment Centers
Residences for Developmentally Disabled Persons
Community Mental Health Centers
Drug & Alcohol Programs
Drug and Alcohol Programs
Professional Requirements for Music Therapists
A professional music therapist holds a bachelor’s degree or higher in music therapy from one of over 70 American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) approved college and university programs. The curriculum for the bachelor’s degree is designed to impart entry level competencies in three main areas: musical foundations, clinical foundations, and music therapy foundations and principles as specified in the AMTA Professional Competencies. In addition to the academic coursework, the bachelor’s degree requires 1200 hours of clinical training, including a supervised internship. Graduate degrees in Music Therapy focus on advanced clinical practice and research.Upon completion of the bachelor’s degree, music therapists are eligible to sit for the national board certification exam to obtain the credential MT-BC (Music Therapist – Board Certified) which is necessary for professional practice. The credential MT-BC is granted by a separate, accredited organization, the Certification Board for Music Therapists(CBMT), to identify music therapists who have demonstrated the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to practice at the current level of the profession. The purpose of board certification in music therapy is to provide an objective national standard that can be used as a measure of professionalism by interested agencies, groups, and individuals. In addition, music therapists who currently hold the professional designations of ACMT, CMT or RMT are listed on the National Music Therapy Registry (NMTR) and are qualified to practice music therapy. For information on current holders of the ACMT, CMT or RMT designations, please contact the NMTR at (301) 562-9330. Music therapists adhere to specific standards for clinical interventions and ethical conduct in professional practice.