A blog for all things music therapy.
Hiya! I'm thinking of becoming a music therapist, but I'm unsure as I don't feel that I'll be at a high enough standard musically...I'm only just taking my grade 1 keyboard exam next month! How good/what grades/qualifications do you need? Thanks!
Well, the exact qualifications depend on where you live. Since I live in Canada, I’ll go from that perspective, but do be aware that it might differ a bit elsewhere (particularly the States—maybe Erin can add a bit from that context).
For one thing, you won’t have to be at the level of a professional music therapist when you’re applying to college. Even those in the field are always honing their craft, always developing, always learning. Most schools will offer (and even require) classes that train piano, guitar, and voice skills. Still, you do have to have some background when entering a school.
At my school, it’s recommended that you are playing at a grade six piano level when you audition; however, you don’t officially have to have that until second year, so if you need to play a bit of catch-up, that’s a possibility. It’s strongly recommended to have a background in guitar and voice. You also have to play/sing at a grade eight level on one major instrument (it can be piano, guitar, or voice, but it can also be a different instrument—piano, however, requires a playing level of grade ten). I do know that some schools in the States require you to play and sing with guitar and piano at the audition, though I doubt the songs have to be complicated. Again, Erin or some followers may be better resources for information on that. In any case, the requirements also differ for each school, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Essentially, I highly recommend a background in those three instruments (granted, I’d never picked up a guitar before university) with a strong skill in one instrument, but the best thing to do would be to look at schools that interest you and see what they ask for in their auditions.
Hope that helped!
Two Chord Songs
Learning guitar from scratch is tough. It’s harder finding two chord songs to practice with that aren’t childish. Here are some of my favorite two chord songs that work with adult populations:
A Horse with No Name by America (em/Dmaj7)
Singing in the Rain (C/G)
Buffalo Gals (C/G)
Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) (C/G)
Jambalaya by Hank Williams (A/E)
What are other favorite two chord songs that I missed?
A recent Wednesday, 3:21 p.m.: As Oliver Jacobson sang soft lullabies at the bedside of sleeping 7-month-old Maia Mead in the pediatric cardiac ICU, the tangle of wires and blinking monitors attached to her seemed to disappear. Her eyes slowly opened and she began to follow his strumming hand.
"Medical specialists may help to heal the physical body, but Oliver and his music heal the heart, soul and spirit. He has played a big part in Maia’s recovery," said Rizza Mead, who’s watched Jacobson sing to her daughter twice a week for most of her life. Maia, born with a congenital heart defect, has been in the hospital since the day she was born in August.
(via SF Gate)
What is music therapy exactly?
well I’m glad you asked, anon! :) Music therapy is using music as a medium to attain non-musical goals. the clinical applications of music therapy can range from hospice work, physical therapy, neonatal Intensive care (such as premature babies or drug addicted infants), and much much more. an example of this would be a child with down syndrome learning how to count. depending on the severity, this task would be excruciatingly difficult, or impossible to do. Then a Music Therapist steps in. the therapist then would play a song about counting and have the client fill in the words that are intentionally left out. like this: “1 plus 1 is…..” and the client will eventually say, after a few sessions, “2”. I have to observe a therapist and a client who do exactly this. Over the course of two months with two sessions a week, the client can count on her own all the way up to nine, (which is the highest that the therapist went,) and can count down along with simple addition (5+4) and subtraction with little to no hesitation.
there’s a lot more to it than just “I’mma sing this to this person, and they’re going to get it right away.” there is a bunch of things that I’m learning and doing that blew my mind. like how many freaking tests and assessments that you can use to find out just for anxiety. or that in order to work in the NICU you have to have several months of training just to work with babies all day. months. they don’t screw around with babies.
Sure, the music is an important part of the therapeutic goals for each client, but If it can be done better with other types of therapy or the client doesn’t respond positively to music, then music therapy isn’t cut out for that client. but most of the time it works out very well and it’s starting to gain popularity in the medical field. which is awesome because I’d like to get a job one day. XD I really hope that this helped, I’m new to the music therapy scene and if anything is still fuzzy for you come off anon and I can answer specific questions :D
music therapy is using music to achieve nonmusical goals
Things that are not therapy:
playing the piano at an old folks home
playing guitar for an audience.
What is considered music therapy:
playing a song for an alzheimer’s patient to help improve their memory
drumming along to a patient’s walking to improve their gait and walking patterns.
If it’s not trying to achieve a non musical goal, It ain’t music therapy.
Wondering how to become a music therapist? Click through the picture for a breakdown on studying music therapy from MajoringinMusic.com
Music Therapy Activities Wiki
What music therapist has never been out of ideas and googled “Music Therapy Activities”? Our prayers have been answered…
MusicTherapyActivities.Wikia.com is an encyclopedic collection of therapeutic music activities…
Why We Shouldn't Try to Prove that Music Therapy Works
Food for thought…
I have heard many times this idea that we know that what we do works, but we need evidence to convince others who don’t believe so easily. I’d like to suggest that we think of it differently, because I think that view will not only hold us back, but is in fact dangerous to clients we work with. Research should be for the sake of our clients, not for the sake of others’ acceptance. It is to provide information so that music therapists can best work with clients, ensuring that what we do works and is beneficial for them.
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Can music have harmful effects?
Music therapists are working toward state recognition of our profession. Part of the struggle is proving that harm can be done to clients without the in-depth and professional training that music therapists receive through university programs. Not just anyone can provide music therapy.
This is a great video from Lillieth Grand, MT-BC in which she shares about a patient who was harmed from music given without the insight of a music therapist.