What Makes A Music Therapist?

Published by Sara Chigani on: Nov 04, 2019 — Music Therapy

Sometimes a music therapy session may look like fun and games with singing, playing instruments, and activities, but there’s actually a lot of work that goes into becoming a music therapist. Music therapy is an actual major in college that’s 4+ years of school. A music therapy student is a full-fledged music student who takes all the required music classes like music theory, ear training, ensembles, and music history, just to name a few. In addition to all the music classes we must take, we also take biology, anatomy/physiology, psychology, and sociology. During school, we are required to learn various instruments; guitar, piano, voice, and percussion. We are tested on our ability to play these instruments, but also how we use them with the various patients we may meet. Throughout our schooling, we attend “practicums” in various settings and observe and work with a supervising board-certified music therapist to learn how they work in the setting they do. Throughout our education we are taught how to assess our client(s), plan treatment, implement treatment, measure progress, and document. Finally, students are required to complete 1,200 hours of clinical training during an approved music therapy internship. Once all requirements are met, the student may sit for the board exam, which if he/she passes, will earn the title of “board-certified music therapist”. Even though it is a lot of work, being a music therapist can be extremely rewarding. For more information on becoming a music therapist, please visit the American Music Therapy Association website at www.musictherapy.org.

Sara Chigani, MA, MT-BC

Infographic depicts the requirements to become a music therapist, including Education, Music, Practicum, Internship and Board Exam
Requirements to become a music therapist


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