Music Therapists

Health Science > Therapeutic Services

Projected Growth: Faster than average

Projected Job Openings

Considerable Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to Plan, organize, or direct medically prescribed music therapy activities designed to positively influence patients’ psychological or behavioral status.

Common job titles of Music Therapists include:

Experience and Education

A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for this occupation. For example, a person in this occupation must complete four years of college and work for several years in industry to be considered qualified.

  • 75% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.

  • 12.5% said they needed a Master's Degree.


    Sing or play musical instruments, such as keyboard, guitar, or percussion instruments.

    Compose, arrange, or adapt music for music therapy treatments.

    Improvise instrumentally, vocally, or physically to meet client's therapeutic needs.

    Plan or structure music therapy sessions to achieve appropriate transitions, pacing, sequencing, energy level, or intensity in accordance with treatment plans.

    Engage clients in music experiences to identify client responses to different styles of music, types of musical experiences, such as improvising or listening, or elements of music, such as tempo or harmony.

    Observe and document client reactions, progress, or other outcomes related to music therapy.

    Assess client functioning levels, strengths, and areas of need in terms of perceptual, sensory, affective, communicative, musical, physical, cognitive, social, spiritual, or other abilities.

    Design or provide music therapy experiences to address client needs, such as using music for self-care, adjusting to life changes, improving cognitive functioning, raising self-esteem, communicating, or controlling impulses.

    Select or adapt musical instruments, musical equipment, or non-musical materials, such as adaptive devices or visual aids, to meet treatment objectives.

    Integrate behavioral, developmental, improvisational, medical, or neurological approaches into music therapy treatments.

    Communicate with clients to build rapport, acknowledge their progress, or reflect upon their reactions to musical experiences.

    Design music therapy experiences, using various musical elements to meet client's goals or objectives.

    Supervise staff, volunteers, practicum students, or interns engaged in music therapy activities.

    Apply current technology to music therapy practices.

    Document evaluations, treatment plans, case summaries, or progress or other reports related to individual clients or client groups.

    Gather diagnostic data from sources such as case documentation, observations of clients, or interviews with clients or family members.

    Customize treatment programs for specific areas of music therapy, such as intellectual or developmental disabilities, educational settings, geriatrics, medical settings, mental health, physical disabilities, or wellness.

    Confer with professionals on client's treatment team to develop, coordinate, or integrate treatment plans.

    Apply selected research findings to practice.

    Assess the risks and benefits of treatment termination for clients.

    Establish client goals or objectives for music therapy treatment, considering client needs, capabilities, interests, overall therapeutic program, coordination of treatment, or length of treatment.

    Communicate client assessment findings and recommendations in oral, written, audio, video, or other forms.

    Analyze or synthesize client data to draw conclusions or make recommendations for therapy.

    Analyze data to determine the effectiveness of specific treatments or therapy approaches.

    Participate in continuing education.

    Collaborate with others to design or implement interdisciplinary treatment programs.

    Identify and respond to emergency physical or mental health situations.

    Conduct information sharing sessions, such as in-service workshops for other professionals, potential client groups, or the general community.

    Adapt existing or develop new music therapy assessment instruments or procedures to meet an individual client's needs.

    Conduct, or assist in the conduct of, music therapy research.



Video game consoles


Tablet computers

Snare drums

Rhythm instruments


All Tools

Personal computers

Orchestral cymbals

Musical flutes

Music video games

MP3 players


Laptop computers

Heart rate monitors

Handheld microphones


Electronic organs

Electronic keyboards

Digital video cameras

Digital audio recorders

Computer laser printers

Compact disk CD players


Bass drums

Automatic blood pressure cuffs


Acoustic guitars


Avid Technology Pro Tools

Electronic health record EHR software

Musical instrument digital interface MIDI software

Virtual instrument software


Social Perceptiveness

Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Active Listening

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Service Orientation

Actively looking for ways to help people.

Learning Strategies

Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.


Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Judgment and Decision Making

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Active Learning

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Teaching others how to do something.

Complex Problem Solving

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Systems Analysis

Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.


Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.


Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Systems Evaluation

Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.


Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.


Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Identify and understand the speech of another person.

Auditory and Speech Abilities › Sensory Abilities › Speech Recognition

Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Problem Sensitivity

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