Music Therapy has been around for a long time. Most people will be surprised to learn the use of music for healing was practiced during the 15th Century Ottoman Empire throughout Central Asia, the Mideast, Northern Africa and even in parts of Europe. Music Therapy is known to have existed in China as well, going back at least several thousands of years.
More recently, Music Therapy has been established as a clinical practice and academic field of study and research in the West and in America. There are now many excellent programs in Music Therapy, as we will discover. In the US, Music Therapy programs were first offered as a course of music studies in the 1940s. Since then there has been a steady acceptance of the practice as a field for academic pursuit and research.
According to Wikipedia: Music Therapy is an evidence-based clinical use of musical interventions to improve clients’ quality of life. Music Therapists use music and its many facets — physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual — to help clients improve their health in cognitive, motor, emotional, communicative, social, sensory, and educational domains by using both active and receptive music experiences.2
Music is widely used as a tool to treat individual psychological and physical ailments and disabilities, and also to bond and heal groups and communities. The applications of Music Therapy are broad and diverse, which I will cover in more detail in a future article. For this post, the focus is on where you can study to become a Music Therapist.
To become a Music Therapist in the U.S., students must complete their degree in music therapy at a program approved by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). This program must include a clinical internship. The candidate must then pass the national examination offered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT).