How to Become a Music Therapist?

5 minute read
How to Become a Music Therapist?

Music always works as a stress buster. Listening to music doesn’t only reduce stress but also enhances one’s mood. Music therapy is a heart-warming therapy which is a reliable source of mental wellness. It helps to improve mental health, improve memory skills, and improve communication. Music therapy can involve singing, dancing, composing songs, and even discussing music. We may understand music as a therapy for lowering stress or for leisure time but you can make a career out of it. A Music Therapist has a good-eyed career and may be counted in medical terms too. 

Who is a Music Therapist?

A Music Therapist is a person who deals with the problems and stress of a person using a form of music. They can work with people of any age group, be it children or elder people. They aid people with brain injuries, physical disabilities, mental health issues and developmental disabilities. Music Therapists use the power of music to deal with unsaid feelings. They use techniques like relaxation, guided imagery and improvisation, and involve sound, music, and rhythm in a way to engage persons or patients. 

Skills Required

They should have and learn the skills of a Music Therapist-

  1. Supportive

They have to deal with people suffering from some mental problem. They should be willing to help and offer emotional support to their clients and their families. 

  1. Listening 

Having full attention to what others are saying, taking time to comprehend the key points being put, asking relevant questions, and not interfering at the wrong times. 

  1. Humanity

They should have empathy, patience, imagination and creativity to become a successful and efficient Music therapist.

  1. Social insights

Being apprehensive of others’ reactions and understanding why they react in a particular way. 

  1. Learning approaches

Selecting and employing training methods and procedures relevant to the situation when learning or teaching things.

  1. Good management 

They should be aware of health and safety measures and should have time management skills, and tactful, and caring attitudes.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Become a Music Therapist 

Follow the steps to become one-

Step 1 – Practice music

It is essential to have good knowledge of music and they should practise it regularly. Also, no particular stream is required in +2 for being a Music Therapist. 

Step 2 – Go to Music School

They should get a bachelor’s degree in music therapy from a university that is affiliated with the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). Their subjects may include music theory, behavioural sciences, disabling conditions and general studies. They can go for a master’s degree and a doctorate. 

Step 3 – Experience

Gain experience with an internship with hospitals, schools and rehab institutions approved by AMTA. 

Step 4 – Certification

The Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) is a certification exam which they can take for self-assessment. 

Step 5 – Certification Exam

The National Council For Therapeutic Recreation Certification will examine getting a certificate. If they pass, they will be offered a licensed Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC). They should renew their certification every five years. A degree in Complementary Health Care might be an additional godsend in this field.


Many undergraduate and postgraduate courses are offered by various universities in the field of music therapy. Let us know about them-

Undergraduate courses – 

  • B.A.
  • UG Diploma

Postgraduate courses – 

  • M.A.
  • PG Diploma

Top Music Therapist Universities in the World 

S. No. University Country Ranking Course
1. Temple University Boyer College of Music Philadelphia 751-800 MMT, PhD
2. Berklee College of Music Boston 501-600 Advanced
3. Western Michigan University Kalamazoo 351-370 B.M.
4. Florida State University Tallahassee 475 B.M.
5. University of Georgia Athens 541-550 B.M.
6. Utah State University Logan  1001-1200 B.S.
7. Arizona State University Tempe 216 B.M.
8. University of Miami Frost School of Music  Coral Gables 311 UG
9. Montclair State University Montclair 401-500 B.A.
10. Eastern Michigan University Ypsilanti 299-391 UG

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Top Music Therapist Universities in India

  1. Music Therapy Academy, New Delhi
  2. Chennai School of Music Therapy, Chennai
  3. Indian Association of Music Therapy, Delhi
  4. Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry
  5. MET Institute of Alternative Careers, Mumbai
  6. Indian Association of Music Therapy, Kalkaji, Delhi
  7. Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth University College of Allied Health Science, Pondicherry
  8. Rayat Bahra University College of Medical & Allied Sciences, Mohali


To become a Music Therapist the least desired qualification for the 12th class is music as the main subject and then some certificate or diploma course in Music Therapy. They should have studied music, biology, psychology, physiology, and social and behavioural sciences. They must have at least a B.A. in their field. 

Also, Music Therapists should be keen to help people and should be caring. They should express themselves well in speech and writing. They should have the ability to talk to people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds.

When they are abroad, they must have a bachelor’s degree or higher in Music Therapy and obtain certification through the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Also, they should register themselves with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).


A music Therapist’s salary depends on many factors such as business type, location, therapist experience and qualifications. The least salary they can earn is INR 2,77,092, if they are a senior they can earn up to INR 4,69,075 and on an average INR 3,76,209. 

If they are abroad, they can earn at least $31.7K (INR 24L), $47.9K (INR 37L) on average and a maximum of up to $80.6K (INR 62L). There are many opportunities for a Music Therapist abroad. 

Job Role 

A Music Therapist should take part in the following roles-

  • Offer music therapy sessions.
  • Maintaining records of client progress.
  • Encourage their clients to use musical instruments.
  • Enhance their clients’ creative development.
  • Write notes and reports and make recommendations for further sessions.
  • Plan and give relevant music sessions.
  • Giving progress reports to families, or professional staff.
  • Actively participate in sessions by playing, singing and listening to music.
  • Aid their clients with increased self-awareness.


Is Music Therapy a good career?

As qualified Music Therapists, they can have their practice. They can engage with hospitals or mental health clinics. They can also work for NGOs or schools, and colleges and earn well. 

Do Music Therapists have to sing?

Music Therapists should know how to play at least one instrument and sing. They should understand music history, theory, and composition.

What are the edges of being a Music Therapist?

You can motivate yourself and others, help in personal growth, and help to relax your mind and soothe your soul. 

What are the drawbacks of being a Music Therapist?

In some cases, you can feel anxiety from some clients. Some cases can be memory triggering.

 If you are willing to be a successful Music Therapist and need assistance to get through your dream university around the world then Leverage Edu is for you. Our experts will help you get into any course and university of your choice. So, halt your search here and contact us now at 1800 57 2000 for a free 30-minute consultation.

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