Music Therapist

Job Description:

Music therapists use music and sound to help improve people's emotional well-being, relieve stress and build confidence.

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

You could work with people of all ages with a wide range of needs.

On a typical day you could:

  • meet with clients, their families or other professionals
    assess client needs and plan therapy goals
  • plan and prepare for sessions
  • use a variety of musical styles and instruments in client-led, group or individual therapy sessions
  • monitor progress and take part in review meetings
  • have regular clinical supervision sessions with a senior music therapist
  • write reports, make recommendations, create and update confidential records
  • clean and maintain instruments and order supplies


You’ll need:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • knowledge of psychology
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • good verbal and written communication skills
  • the ability to manage your time


Restrictions and Requirements
You’ll need to pass enhanced background checks

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Music Therapist, you will need to follow a specific educational path and earn relevant qualifications. While specific GCSEs (or their equivalent) may not be mandatory, certain subjects and skills can be beneficial for preparing for this career. Here’s a list of subjects that can help you pursue a career as a Music Therapist:

  1. English: Strong communication skills are essential for any therapist, including music therapists. English will help you communicate effectively with clients and document your therapy sessions.
  2. Mathematics: While not directly related to music therapy, math skills can be beneficial for managing financial aspects of your practice or working within healthcare systems.
  3. Music: It’s highly recommended to have a strong background in music, including music theory and performance. Music can provide a foundation in music theory, which is valuable for music therapy.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship

You’ll need to do a postgraduate course in music therapy. In the UK this will need to be accredited by the British Association for Music Therapy.

You should have a degree in music, although a degree in education or psychology may be accepted if you’ve got a high standard of musical ability.

You’ll also need 1 or 2 years of paid or voluntary work experience in a health, education or social care setting to apply for a postgraduate course.

You may be able to do an arts therapist degree apprenticeship.

You’ll usually need a qualification and experience in art, drama or music to apply.

Career tips
You could try an introductory course in music therapy to get an idea of what this work involves. Some universities and music colleges offer these courses.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typical house are between 37 – 39 hours a week and you could occasionally work weekends and evenings.

You could work in a therapy clinic, in a prison, in a public or private hospital or at a school.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could become self-employed and build up your own practice, or move into teaching.

You could also become a senior music therapist and manage a team of therapists or music therapy unit.

You could combine the role with other work such as teaching or performing, or move into academic research.