How to Become a Music Therapist
Music therapist Amy Love has been inspiring patients and families at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN since she joined their team three and half years ago. A soprano-voiced guitarist who plays piano, drums, ukelele and dolcimer during her sessions, Amy loves to bring joy into people’s lives through music.
A recent study revealed that music-related therapies improve patients’ pain control and self-esteem as well as boost their serum melatonin levels. Furthermore, this practice activates the amygdala, or brain’s emotional center, helping them relax.
Love believes that meditation can assist patients in dealing with pain and stress, building confidence, and improving muscle movement. Furthermore, it raises levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin–which aids sleep–to enhance relaxation.
Gain the training necessary to become a music therapist by enrolling in an accredited, board-certified program. Look for one that provides on-site clinical experience and faculty supervision so you can learn the fundamental principles of music therapy but also how to apply them across various settings. Opt for smaller class sizes so that you have enough time to fully explore this career choice.
If you aspire to become a music therapist, do your research before applying. That way, you’ll be equipped to communicate intelligently with faculty during interviews.
Your internship will give you invaluable experience working with various clients of varying ages and difficulties, giving you insight into what it takes to be successful in this field.
Once your internship is over, the next step is to become a licensed music therapist and start working with clients. To do this, you must complete a master’s degree in music therapy which typically takes two years and involves both clinical and didactic course work.
As you near graduation, make sure that your program is accredited by the American Music Therapy Association and ready for the CBMT exam. That way, you can be certain that whatever program you select is secure and up-to-date.
Meanwhile, keep on singing and playing that guitar! Your clients will surely appreciate it!
Recording a patient’s heartbeat into music can be an amazing way to preserve their memories and make them feel loved, according to Love. “Not only will this build their legacy,” but it also allows you to capture how deeply someone feels loved,” he added.