Music therapists visit with patients individually or as a group to conduct music therapy such as singing, listening to music, playing musical instruments, and/or moving to music, among others. These therapists' duties vary based on their employer and position, and the ability to meet the client population's needs using best practices and effective techniques is needed. For example, a music therapist employed by a hospice facility is generally required to coordinate with caregivers, pastoral staff, supervisors and others within their facility; in a hospice setting, therapists must be well-versed in techniques for caring for hospice patients and their families. Other populations with whom music therapists may work include older adults, developmentally disabled individuals, at-risk youth, and hospital patients, among others.
A bachelor’s degree in music therapy or a related field is typically the minimum educational requirement for this position. Previous experience with the patient population in question is often required or preferred as well. Music therapists must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills; basic computer skills are often required as well.
Music therapists typically work full time, though some work on an as-needed basis. Common employers include hospitals, health systems, behavior health facilities, and hospice care providers.
Music Therapist Tasks
Develop treatment plan with instrumental and vocal music strategies based on assessment, interests and objectives of therapy.
Assess patients' development, abilities, personality, interests and conflicts.
Prepare and submit patients' reactions and progress reports, confer with treatment team.
Encourage patients with special needs and circumstances to express themselves creatively with music.