According to Greek mythology, Orpheus used the power of music to save his lost love from the darkness of the underworld. Today’s music therapists use music’s healing power to reach patients who need specialized care. Music therapists develop music-based treatment programs for people with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses. They teach clients how to use music to improve their well-being; it can help people adjust to life changes, feel less anxious or depressed, and generally experience clearer thinking and more positive emotions. Experienced musicians enter this field with the ability to sing and play instruments such as keyboard, guitar, or percussion. They assess clients’ needs… and their interest in different aspects of music… to design a specific musical experience— that might include playing instruments, singing, and moving or dancing to music… or a therapist might play music to patients and invite them to draw, meditate, or just listen. Typical employers of music therapists include general hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, and schools. Some music therapists work in their own private practice. Most music therapists have a bachelor’s degree in their field. Many employers prefer national certification. These professionals combine the knowledge of a therapist with strong music skills to elicit a level of healing that —for some patients— words alone could never reach.

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