Music Therapist Career

Job Description: Plan, organize, direct, or assess clinical and evidenced-based music therapy interventions to positively influence individuals' physical, psychological, cognitive, or behavioral status.


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Music Therapist Career

What Music Therapists do:

  • Apply selected research findings to practice.
  • Assess client functioning levels, strengths, and areas of need in terms of perceptual, sensory, affective, communicative, musical, physical, cognitive, social, spiritual, or other abilities.
  • Collaborate with others to design or implement interdisciplinary treatment programs.
  • Communicate client assessment findings and recommendations in oral, written, audio, video, or other forms.
  • Compose, arrange, or adapt music for music therapy treatments.
  • Conduct information sharing sessions, such as in-service workshops for other professionals, potential client groups, or the general community.
  • Confer with professionals on client's treatment team to develop, coordinate, or integrate treatment plans.
  • Design or provide music therapy experiences to address client needs, such as using music for self-care, adjusting to life changes, improving cognitive functioning, raising self-esteem, communicating, or controlling impulses.
  • Document evaluations, treatment plans, case summaries, or progress or other reports related to individual clients or client groups.
  • Engage clients in music experiences to identify client responses to different styles of music, types of musical experiences, such as improvising or listening, or elements of music, such as tempo or harmony.
  • Establish client goals or objectives for music therapy treatment, considering client needs, capabilities, interests, overall therapeutic program, coordination of treatment, or length of treatment.
  • Improvise instrumentally, vocally, or physically to meet client's therapeutic needs.
  • Observe and document client reactions, progress, or other outcomes related to music therapy.
  • Participate in continuing education.
  • Plan or structure music therapy sessions to achieve appropriate transitions, pacing, sequencing, energy level, or intensity in accordance with treatment plans.
  • Sing or play musical instruments, such as keyboard, guitar, or percussion instruments.
  • Communicate with clients to build rapport, acknowledge their progress, or reflect upon their reactions to musical experiences.
  • Design music therapy experiences, using various musical elements to meet client's goals or objectives.
  • Gather diagnostic data from sources such as case documentation, observations of clients, or interviews with clients or family members.
  • Integrate behavioral, developmental, improvisational, medical, or neurological approaches into music therapy treatments.
  • Select or adapt musical instruments, musical equipment, or non-musical materials, such as adaptive devices or visual aids, to meet treatment objectives.
  • Analyze data to determine the effectiveness of specific treatments or therapy approaches.
  • Analyze or synthesize client data to draw conclusions or make recommendations for therapy.
  • Supervise staff, volunteers, practicum students, or interns engaged in music therapy activities.
  • Assess the risks and benefits of treatment termination for clients.
  • Identify and respond to emergency physical or mental health situations.
  • Apply current technology to music therapy practices.
  • Customize treatment programs for specific areas of music therapy, such as intellectual or developmental disabilities, educational settings, geriatrics, medical settings, mental health, physical disabilities, or wellness.
  • Adapt existing or develop new music therapy assessment instruments or procedures to meet an individual client's needs.
  • Conduct, or assist in the conduct of, music therapy research.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Holland Code Chart for a Music Therapist