Home / Arts & Media / Could You Be A Music Therapist?

Could You Be A Music Therapist?

music therapist

Do you enjoy playing a musical instrument? And do you like caring for others? – if so, maybe a career as a music therapist is for you.

The British Association of Music Therapy explains that ‘Music therapists support the client’s communications with a bespoke combination of improvised or pre-composed instrumental music and voice…’

Music therapists work in hospitals, the community, care homes and in schools. Training includes learning about neuro-science (study of the nervous system) as well as understanding theories of how people relate to each other.

This involves developing the art of tuning in to the patient’s mood so that together you jointly create music using a range of accessible instruments and/or voices. You will be taught skills so that music making is focused on the patient’s emotional needs, rather than being a jam session.

Are you curious to understand people who suffer with mental illness?

Treating people who have mental illnesses takes a certain type of person. Firstly, consider your own safety, but then wonder what is going on in that other person’s head.

I worked with a young man who I will call Jacob (not his real name) who was suffering from the first experiences of schizophrenia. He gave his consent for me to write up his story and music therapy enabled him to live in the community instead of being sent to a secure hospital where he would have lost his freedom.

We now know from research using brain scanning techniques that, with the right sort of input, people with schizophrenia can stay well enough to cope with real life rather than getting worse and worse. Being creative and discovering how to play music with the music therapist is a very important part of that process.

Music therapy is not a soft option but it is rewarding and involves growing as a person so that you can handle challenging situations.

Music therapy is a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered profession that involves a master’s degree training course, ideally but not necessarily after gaining a degree in music or psychology.

First of all, have a good time working and playing because life experience counts for a lot in becoming an effective music therapist.”

About The Author

Dr Stella Compton-Dickinson is a London-based Health and Care Profession Council registered music therapist, accredited supervisor, professional oboist and lecturer, UK Council for Psychotherapy registered Cognitive Analytic Therapist and Supervisor. She is author of The Clinician’s Guide to Forensic Music Therapy (Jessica Kingsley Publishers). Find out more at





About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

Comments are closed.

Scroll To Top