What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is specialty area of the mental health profession that calls for the evidence-based use of music interventions to fulfill carefully chosen goals in a therapeutic setting by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. In this type of therapy music is used within a therapeutic relationship to meet physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. After assessing the needs of the client, the music therapist delivers the prescribed treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music.

Who Can Be Treated With Music Therapy?

There is a wide range of disorders and life issues that can be treated with the use of music therapy. Individuals suffering from depression and anxiety have shown improvement with the use of music therapy. A recent study found that music therapy can be applied to a range of medical settings, including the treatment of pre-mature infants, those with chronic pain disorders and even in the flowing of symptoms for those with Parkinson’s Disease.

How Can I Become an Music Therapist?

In order to pursue a career as a music therapist, one must have a minimum of a master’s degree in the field. It is recommended that students pursue a degree from an American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) approved school. For a list of these programs, click to view the AMTA accredited school list.

How Many Music Therapy Jobs Are Available and What Salary Can I Expect to Earn?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not yet collect salary and trend data for the field of Music therapy, this occupation is included in the category labeled “therapists, all other.” In this specific category, there are 11,770 as of May 2014 with a median annual wage of $55,900. According to a Forbes.com article titled 12 Music Jobs That Can Pay Six Figures, music therapists can expect to earn anywhere between $20,000 all the way up to $120,000 annually.

Where Can I Work?

Music therapy is practiced in a vast array of settings including hospitals, psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities, wellness centers, schools, crisis centers, assisted living communities, private practice, and other clinical and community settings. The list of potential places of employment continues to grow and this specialty area becomes more and more popular and accepted as a mental health profession.

This sub-field within the greater field of psychology is seeing a tremendous amount of growth. As more people are accepting naturalistic ways of dealing with mental and physical health difficulties, fields such as art therapy and music therapy are making a name for themselves. Research has shown that in some cases this type of therapy can be as effective and even more effective than more traditional routes of therapy. So, for those living with a chronic disability, mental health diagnosis or health issue, Music Therapy is something to consider.


American Music Therapy Association