What Do Music Therapists Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life.

Job Description

Music Therapists plan, organize, or direct medically prescribed music therapy activities designed to positively influence patients’ psychological or behavioral status. They also 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.

Other tasks include:

  • Assess client functioning levels, strengths, and areas of need in terms of perceptual, sensory, affective, communicative, musical, physical, cognitive, social, spiritual, or other abilities.
  • Sing or play musical instruments, such as keyboard, guitar, or percussion instruments.
  • Design music therapy experiences, using various musical elements to meet client’s goals or objectives.
  • Document evaluations, treatment plans, case summaries, or progress or other reports related to individual clients or client groups.
  • Communicate with clients to build rapport, acknowledge their progress, or reflect upon their reactions to musical experiences.
  • Observe and document client reactions, progress, or other outcomes related to music therapy.

We asked Music Therapists how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

74%

How meaningful is this job

82%


74% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 82% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



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Typical Day At Work

On a daily basis, Music Therapists sing or play musical instruments, such as keyboard, guitar, or percussion instruments. They observe and document client reactions, progress, or other outcomes related to music therapy.

A typical day for a Music Therapist will also include:

  • Assess client functioning levels, strengths, and areas of need in terms of perceptual, sensory, affective, communicative, musical, physical, cognitive, social, spiritual, or other abilities.
  • Integrate behavioral, developmental, improvisational, medical, or neurological approaches into music therapy treatments.
  • Communicate with clients to build rapport, acknowledge their progress, or reflect upon their reactions to musical experiences.
  • 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.
  • 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.

We asked some Music Therapists a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job?38% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job?43% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job?82% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job?25% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job?7% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job?40% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Music Therapists also assess the risks and benefits of treatment termination for clients. They may also analyze or synthesize client data to draw conclusions or make recommendations for therapy.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Music Therapists Apply selected research findings to practice. They might also 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.

In addition, they Confer with professionals on client’s treatment team to develop, coordinate, or integrate treatment plans.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Communicate client assessment findings and recommendations in oral, written, audio, video, or other forms.

To some Music Therapists, it is also their responsibility to Analyze data to determine the effectiveness of specific treatments or therapy approaches.


Working life

Working hours

Standard 40 hour work week

Working schedule

Regular schedule like a 9 to 5

In a typical work week as a Music Therapist, you can expect to work 40 hour work week.

Do Music Therapists work in an office-style work environment?

Every day
88%


Never
5%


Do Music Therapists work outdoors?

Never
66%


Once a year
29%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Artists and The Helpers

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules..

They also like working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others.

You can read more about these career personality types here.




Learn more about Music Therapists

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Related to Music Therapists Job Description

Music Therapists job description, what do Music Therapists do, typical day for Music Therapists, what is it like to work as a Music Therapist, how many hours do Music Therapists work, day to day work of a Music Therapist

Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/OOH/healthcare/recreational-therapists.htm
http://www.musictherapy.org/


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