How to become a Music Therapist

Music therapists provide therapeutic programmes through the planned and controlled use of music to help people of all ages, including those with special needs because of social, emotional, psychiatric, physical or intellectual impairments.

Personal requirements for a Music Therapist

  • An appreciation for a wide range of music styles
  • High level of musical ability
  • Able to respect and relate to people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds

Education & Training for a Music Therapist

To become a music therapist you usually have to complete a degree followed by a postgraduate qualification in music therapy. Graduates with a degree in teaching, music, occupational therapy, nursing, psychology or a relevant allied health field can be considered for postgraduate degrees if they possess an appropriate level of musical experience and practice on a particular instrument. To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with English. Applicants may also be required to attend an audition and undertake a musicianship test. Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.


Additional information

On successful completion of an appropriate course, graduates may be eligible for registration with the Australian Music Therapy Association. Employers are increasingly looking to hire music therapists registered with the association.

Duties & Tasks of a Music Therapist

Music therapists:

  • Assess individuals and groups to identify abilities and needs, and develop objectives that address clients' needs
  • Plan and carry out specific music-making activities to address the client's needs and concerns, such as singing, moving to music, reflective music listening, playing music, music and drama, improvisation, song writing and other creative activities
  • Assess, monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the musical and therapeutic interactions.

Tasks

  • Evaluates and documents patients' progress through treatment plans..
  • Assesses patients to determine the nature of the disorder, illness, problem or need by questioning, examining and observing..
  • Develops and implements treatment plans using applications such as dance, drama, hypnotic and music therapies..

Working conditions for a Music Therapist

Music therapists require a large repertoire of popular songs relevant to all age groups, and the ability to explore, interpret and develop the creative use of sound. Music therapists work with children and adults in individual and group settings.


Employment Opportunities for a Music Therapist

Music therapists work in homes, schools, childcare centres, community support groups, hospitals, clinics, community centres, aged-care facilities, hospices, rehabilitation centres and centres for people with disability. Music therapists are also employed in private practice. Job opportunities depend on the number of people in the community requiring this type of service, level of awareness in the community of the benefits of music therapy and government policy, legislation and funding for community health care, education and social services.


Specializations

Music Therapist

Music therapists provide therapeutic programmes through the planned and controlled use of music to help people of all ages, including those with special needs because of social, emotional, psychiatric, physical or intellectual impairments.

  • Average age
    Average age
    45 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    80% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    42 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    Unavailable
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    28% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    920 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.3%
    NSW: 29.8%
    NT: 0.7%
    QLD: 18.4%
    SA: 5.3%
    TAS: 1.3%
    VIC: 34.7%
    WA: 8.5%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0%
    20-24: 2.9%
    25-34: 21.1%
    35-44: 24.8%
    45-54: 23.6%
    55-59: 11.2%
    60-64: 8.3%
    65 and Over: 8%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 27.1%
    Bachelor degree: 26.9%
    Certificate III/IV: 4.3%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 37.8%
    Year 10 and below: 0.7%
    Year 11: 0.3%
    Year 12: 2.9%
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