Music therapists are trained through approved degree programs at universities around the world. In addition, to music therapy techniques, students study a variety of topics that include counseling, psychology, physiology and neuroanatomy.
Music therapists must be proficient in voice, guitar, piano, and percussion.
Students must complete practicum placements in a variety of settings and a supervised internship to hone their skills prior to sitting for examination by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Ongoing education is required to ensure the highest standards of practice across the profession.
According to the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT), “Music therapy is the specialized use of music by a credentialed professional who develops individualized treatment and supportive interventions for people of all ages and abilities levels to address their social, communication, emotional, physical, cognitive, sensory and spiritual needs.”
CBMT oversees the accreditation and standards of practice and excellence for music therapists in the United States.
Senator Harry Reid
Communication, cognition, emotions, movement and socialization all activate specific areas of the brain.
“Music, however, has no specific brain structure. It takes many different parts of the brain working together to process the music we hear. Music therapy takes full advantage of this phenomenon."
Because music activates many parts of the brain, music therapy provided by a credentialed professional can target healing and development in each of these areas.
According to the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), “Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music therapy interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.”
AMTA represents music therapists in the United States and advocates for its members, university programs and research.