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.”