What is a Music Therapist?

Music Therapists address a patient's physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs by developing an individualized music program for that patient. This may include creating, singing, moving to, or listening to different kinds of music. This kind of treatment can aid physical rehabilitation and gives patients who have difficulty expressing themselves verbally a way to communicate. Overall the goal of a music therapist is to provide patients with emotional support and a place to express themselves at a potentially stressful or disheartening time in their lives.

Types of Work Environments

  • Hospitals
  • In-patient psychiatric wards
  • Nursing homes
  • Prisons

Education and Training Requirements

Music therapists hold a bachelor's degree or higher in music therapy from a program accredited by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). These programs focus on three main areas: musical foundations, clinical foundations, and musical therapy foundations and principles. Potential music therapists must also complete 1,200 hours of clinical training, including a supervised internship. In order to practice professionally, music therapists must take a certification exam administered by the AMTA.


According to Indeed.com, the median salary for music therapists is approximately $69,965 per year.

Professional Organization

Learn more 

Explore what Music Therapy programs the Cleveland Clinic is affiliated with.