Did you know that music can help reduce stress? In fact, music is being used to promote individual health, enhance healing, and relieves symptoms of disorders such as ADHD, and more. Music therapy has become an established healthcare practice that focuses on the development of a therapeutic relationship that addresses emotional and cognitive needs of patients. There are many organizations such as the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) that promote the therapeutic use of music for health rehabilitation and special education.
Music can affect the mind and body in powerful ways. Hospitals and other healthcare institutions are now actively using music therapy for treatment and healing among patients. Although it is a relatively new field, music therapy is gaining worldwide attention and has opened up doors to many exciting career opportunities.
Why Get a Music Therapy Degree?
Becoming a music therapist requires skill and education. If you love music, love people, and want to help others through music, this path may be the perfect career choice for you. However, you will need to successfully complete a music therapy degree, acquire clinical training, and also get certified. You can choose from a wide range of degree programs in this field to prepare for the occupation and certification exam. Music therapy degrees are designed to equip students with healthcare knowledge, clinical skills, and in-depth knowledge of music as a therapeutic field.
Bachelor Degree in Music Therapy
The bachelor degree in music therapy is a four year undergraduate program that aims to provide students with knowledge and develop competencies in the area of music therapy. The program will help students understand how music therapy is practiced and used to treat clinical disorders, intervention and rehabilitation, and counseling.
Students will cover all aspects of the field of music therapy which includes musicianship, performance, composition, clinical instruments, music therapy foundation, and therapeutic foundation. The curriculum will entail various courses, each carrying a certain number of credit hours that must be earned. Here are some of the course descriptions:
This course will cover the use of music in clinical settings. Students will understand the relationship between music and therapists. Topics such as theories of psychotherapy, therapy practice, and experimental music will be covered.
Methods and techniques in music therapy
This course will provide students with an overview of techniques used in music therapy. Students will learn how to apply different therapy techniques in individual and group settings.
In this course, students will study the acoustical and psychological aspects of music. It will highlight literature related to music, and its affect on the human body.
Guitar techniques for music therapy
This course will cover guitar instruction and the study of repertoire. Emphasis will be on adaptive techniques used for special populations.
Masters in Music Therapy
The master’s degree in music therapy is a two year graduate level program. It is designed to provide students with advanced knowledge and skill needed for the profession. The program will cover advance theory, research, and practical areas of music therapy.
The first few semesters are dedicated to building theory-based knowledge in music and its applications. Students will thoroughly study subjects that explain the relationship of music and the human mind. Further in the program, students will take part in practical training and gain hands on experience in therapy. Here are some of the courses covered in the program:
Advanced research methods in music therapy
This course will provide students with an understanding of research methods used in music therapy. Students will cover topics such as quantitative research, qualitative research, statistical testing, and components of research design.
Neuroscience/music foundations in therapy
In this course, students will be introduced to scientific foundations of neurologic music therapy. The course will highlight biomedical research in music, scientific evidence for clinical practice, biological foundations of music, and more.
Composition for music therapy practitioners
In this course, students will learn how to compose music and improvise skills. Topics such as music theory, music recording technology, harmonic improvisation, and creative music skills are covered.
Historic foundations of music therapy
Before students can advance in the program, it is important to learn about the historical developments of the field. This course will highlight the history of music therapy that dates back to the 1700s. The course will examine the original scientific studies that helped in the development of the field.
PhD in Music Therapy
This is a post-graduate program that is designed to prepare individuals for research and developing theory in music therapy. The program focuses on music medicine, music psychotherapy, and research paradigms. Students will gain in-depth knowledge of music therapy and will be required to conduct an independent research that will be the basis of a final dissertation. The coursework will include subjects such as the following:
Research in music medicine
This course will examine the use of music in medicine. Students will learn about researches conducted and their contribution to this field.
Theory development in music therapy
This course will highlight the nature of theory and theorizing process in music therapy. Students will learn how to develop theory through practice and research.
This course will examine the use of music and its affect on mental disorders.
A doctorate in music therapy can take 4-8 years to complete. Students must complete all the components of the program to successfully earn the degree.
Music therapy courses are also offered online by a number of distance learning colleges. Students can cover the coursework through videos, online lectures, and slideshows. Please remember that not all colleges are offering 100% online music therapy degree programs. You may have to take a few classes on-campus for practical training.
Music Therapy Certification
The Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) is a leading board that certifies music therapists. Getting certified can improve career prospects and will reflect your level of expertise. Individuals must meet certain requirements and pass a certification exam conducted by the board.
Individuals can prepare for the exam by completing a music therapy certificate program, or by taking prep courses. A music therapy certificate program is a short course that equips students with career-oriented knowledge and skills.
As a music therapist, you may work in hospitals, schools, social assistance agencies, and other healthcare organizations. Music therapists made a median annual income of $44,000 in 2014 according to O*NET OnLine.
Frequently Asked Question(s)
Q:What is a music therapy certification?
A:The Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) grants the credential of Music Therapist – Board Certified (MT-BC) to music therapists who demonstrate an understanding of the skills necessary to practice music therapy. The purpose of this certification is to provide a national standard that can be used as a measure of qualification level by interested parties, agencies, individuals and groups.
Q:What are the key areas of study in a masters in music therapy?
A:A masters in music therapy would cover a specific set of courses including the likes of clinical context for music therapy, music studies, clinical improvisation, infant observation, music therapy theory, clinical case work and supervision, personal therapy, introduction to research and finally a dissertation to conclude the 2 year long degree.
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