Music Therapist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Music Therapists Career Video



Plans, organizes, or directs medically prescribed music therapy activities designed to positively influence patients' psychological or behavioral status.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Designs or provides 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.
  • Assesses client functioning levels, strengths, and areas of need in terms of perceptual, sensory, affective, communicative, musical, physical, cognitive, social, spiritual, or other abilities.
  • Sings or plays musical instruments, such as keyboard, guitar, or percussion instruments.
  • Designs music therapy experiences, using various musical elements to meet client's goals or objectives.
  • Documents evaluations, treatment plans, case summaries, or progress or other reports related to individual clients or client groups.
  • Communicates with clients to build rapport, acknowledge their progress, or reflect upon their reactions to musical experiences.
  • Establishes client goals or objectives for music therapy treatment, considering client needs, capabilities, interests, overall therapeutic program, coordination of treatment, or length of treatment.
  • Observes and documents client reactions, progress, or other outcomes related to music therapy.
  • Engages 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.
  • Customizes 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.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel