Music therapists work with people of all age groups from children to adults in a variety of settings including special learning environments, geriatric centres, hospitals, universities and research centres. They deal with those having mental disorders, physical disabilities, psychiatric problems, speech and hearing impairments, Alzheimer’s, Cancer and other degenerating and life threatening diseases and many more. Music therapists use music and all of its features to help patients improve their mental health. Sometimes they are also called Recreational therapists.
Music therapy helps to promote brain and motor activity. Music therapy interventions can be designed to promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, enhance memory, improve communication, and provide unique opportunities for interaction. Music therapy is based on the idea that music is a universal form of communication that everyone can relate to, regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances. Music has a way to keep depression and anxiety at bay. Depending upon the needs of the clients involved, music therapy sessions are offered on an individual or group basis. All sorts of musical experience can be integrated into music therapy, from listening to music to playing music to writing music.
Music therapists being musicians as well as therapists, a background in music and love of music is essential. In India, it is an emerging field and graduate or post graduate courses in Music therapy are rare. But diploma and certificate courses are available.
Abroad, becoming a music therapist involves obtaining a bachelor’s degree or higher in music therapy and obtaining certification through the Certification Board for Music Therapists.
Music therapists should have a desire to help people, care and concern and be able to offer emotional support for clients and families. Empathy, patience, creativity, imagination, an openness to new ideas, and understanding of self are also important attributes. They must possess high level of musical ability and an appreciation for a wide range of music styles. Music therapists must express themselves well in speech and in writing. Must have the ability to relate to people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. In addition, they must be able to work well with other health care providers.
Healthcare professionals who use music to help individuals suffering from physical, emotional or mental issues are referred as Music therapists. Music Therapists use a balance of scientific, theoretical, and musical dimensions in their clinical work.