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Purdue University Global

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What Is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is an alternative form of treatment that has had success in treating patients with a variety of afflictions. Read on to discover more about music therapy, including the various uses of this treatment and schools that offer degree programs in the field.

Field Overview

At its core, music therapy is the use of soothing sounds for healing purposes. Music therapy uses many different styles of music to cater to the individual needs of patients. The American Music Therapy Association (www.musictherapy.org) states that music therapy has existed in various forms since the time of Aristotle, but it came to be recognized as a legitimate form of therapy after World War I.

Important Facts About Recreational Therapy

Median Salary (2018) $47,860
Entry-level Education Bachelor's Degree
Key Skills Compassion, patience, communication
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 7%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Various Uses

Just as music can reduce stress in everyday life, one of the key functions of music therapy is to soothe the nerves of patients. This not only contributes to the mental health of patients, but it can also put them in the right frame of mind to heal physically. In addition, music therapy can be helpful for getting people through difficult times, including patients with Alzheimer's Disease, patients with substance abuse problems, and women who are in labor.

Work Environment

Music therapy professionals work anywhere healthcare is administered, from hospitals to small clinics and everywhere in between. Since music therapy is so versatile and can be used to treat so many different conditions, it can be useful in just about any setting. According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy in healthcare facilities is being reimbursed by an increasing number of insurance companies, thereby demonstrating the effectiveness of the practice.

Education

A reflection of music therapy's usefulness and popularity is its status as a field of study at many of America's leading universities. The National Center for Educational Statistics (www.nces.ed.gov) lists Arizona State University, the University of Minnesota, Florida State University, and Temple University among the largest schools offering bachelor's degrees in music therapy. Each of these programs prepares students for certification by the Certification Board for Music Therapists, which requires the successful completion of a written music therapy examination.