Music heals – Career in Music Therapy

Music Therapy

So which is the favorite lullaby your mother sung for you and you immediately dozed off to the world of dreams? Or which is the song you listen to when your heart says, ‘I can’t take it anymore’? We all have our own lists, isn’t it? So let’s just all accept, Music definitely has some extraordinary influence on our heart, mind and soul that works in mysterious ways. So how about you study this fascinating subject matter where ‘Music is a therapy’ and make it your living? I know it’s almost like ‘Well, world couldn’t be better!’

What is Music Therapy?

Basically Music therapy is a division of health professions which uses music to heal your emotional, physical, spiritual or social distress. They believe that music is the best medicine and every human vibes with some or the other kind of music, which touches their heart or brain in a manner no other art form can. Resultantly it makes them better not only from the outside but also from the inside.

I know, this is very new to hear and as much as you are excited you are equally scared. But don’t worry I am going to try my best to help you with everything in this article. Let’s first see how will you start? That is your educational requirements:

Music therapy also requires hardcore studies just like every stream of health profession. Very few schools all over the world provide education in Music therapy but whoever does, it’s a coursework of minimum 3 years that is a bachelor’s degree or sometimes even 4 years. In the first 2 years you learn about music biology, psychology, physiology, social and behavioral sciences while in the last two years a complete internship of certain period if necessary. The period varies from school to school.

You can also purse MA that is masters of Arts in the related fields of music therapy. A step ahead of others will always keep you ahead in the line. Also, some countries have an exam which you have to qualify before you pursue a career in Music therapy. So it will be better to check the norms with your country before you begin your coursework.

Certification or no certification?

In most of the abroad countries, to perform as a music therapist you have to obtain a certificate from the certification board of Music therapists which is only attainable if you pass their exam with considerable marks. In India, since it’s just the dawn the advanced courses are very rare so you can pursue diploma or certificate courses and until now there aren’t any board or exams for all the aspiring music therapists in India.

Note: A vital knowledge of all the musical instruments is very important, so my advice is you take side courses in the musical instruments. This will help you know the melody of all the different instruments better. And ofcourse a profession in every art field demands internships more than the education. So the more work experience you have the more you will be desired by the employers.

Now hence you know what to learn before you begin, you must be thinking but what do they exactly do and where do they find jobs? So here’s your answer:

A music therapist is a healer of the patient and not the disease. They try to build and foster a relation with the patient so that they trust their therapeutic sessions and in the end help them get better. They deal with diseases as dangerous as cancer to ailments (which can’t really be called ailments) like random mood swings.

The two things you must HAVE

Your career as a music therapist will be concerned with people of all age groups right from toddlers to oldies, an individual or a group of people, so only if you have a dedicated compassion to help people afloat from their miseries and a never-dying love for music, sail this ship of music therapy or else look for a ship of different destinations.

You heal people

Music therapists work as volunteers or employees in certain institutions like hospitals, health centers, some NGO’s, rehabilitation centers, senior citizen homes, children care shelters and likewise areas. So you can look for jobs in these places and consider dropping a CV in as many as you can. Some interview calls may knock your door soon!

Schools are the widely approving of Music therapy

However children are the most receptive to music and thus music therapy do wonders for them and so schools are widely apprehending to this unique style of development and in the near future you can expect jobs in some ghastly developed schools.

Research is a gift

And if you are more on the study and research side, well you are one of a kind then. The findings, evaluation and the researches of the music therapists prove to be real assets and a resourceful medium to heal people better. You can then find a job where you can teach music therapy and alongside carry on with your research to bestow world with some of your great findings.

Self-Practicing

Another arena which you can discover in Music therapy is working on your own or developing your own private music therapy clinic. Yes, it is a new venture and an extremely new career choice so it will take a lot of patience and technical knowledge to help you accomplish and prosper in it. So before you consider this choice, gain a few years of experience by working in institutions which help you learn and understand better.

I hope I was able to make you understand what you will really have to do once you are the most well-known music therapist of your range. But now let’s talk real, yes it’s time to discuss the remuneration:

US Dollar, says

Most of the music therapists receive salaries according to the policies of the institution they work for however individual or private music therapists charge on hourly basis. However calculating the average salary, the reports of United States bureau of labor statistics suggest around $46,070 with the top 10 percent earning over $70,000 a year.

In India

Like every art profession, this also varies with experience, education and expertise. In India, the starting salary range is RS 10,000 to 20,000 and has no definite data about because of its recent bloom. But one thing is definite, irrespective of the career you choose if done with sheer passion and hard work you are sure to touch the sky.  

Success stories of people who dared to take up a profession as contemporary as music therapy and change the world for the better is sure to be some great inspiration for us. Let’s hear Mr Kamal Singh, a music therapy practitioner has to say about his melodious journey.  

 I studied music therapy at the Music Therapy Trust in Delhi. I personally believe that there is no skill set needed to be a music therapist – having some musical skills is always a benefit and it will prove to be useful and practical.

I think it is more important to be interested in the person you’re working with. I also would like to clarify that I don’t see myself as a healer – I see myself as a facilitator who encourages the people I work with to indulge themselves in music and the music does things to them – emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically.

This is probably the healing but it has nothing to do with the therapist – it’s what the patient, I believe experiences internally in the process of music therapy. This experience is empowering and change comes from that space of being confident and feeling safe.

I guess we all either exist in fear or safety – and fear disguises itself in so many ways and only feeds failure, hurt, pain and disappointment. In trying to create a safe space through music – miracles take place.

I’m not sure if skills are as important as the interest in facilitating the journey of the person you’re working with to a space of empowerment.

So as Mr Kamal Singh wraps up his speech, Its time I wrap this story of unqiue careers too. This is the most difficult part of the entire journey where I have to say a goodbye to my readers but as it’s said you have to leave someplace to arrive to another.

Main wapaas aunga, main wapas aungi.. (That was a musical goodbye, for all the music lovers! HAHA!) *winks*

But until the next time we meet, keep healing the world with your melodies and for all the others, keep listening to music, it can take you to places where you have dreamt of and gratify your soul at places you didn’t ever know existed.

Hope to see you soon!

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