Most people have very self-explanatory careers, but my career in music therapy is not one of them. We celebrated World Music Therapy Day last week, so I thought I would write a short post about what it is I do, as it is one of the things in my life that I am most passionate about.
I find that people fall into one of the following categories:
1. They have never heard of music therapy and never even knew it was a “real” career.
2. They have heard of it and think they know what it is, but really don’t, and trying to convince them otherwise is like taking candy from a baby.
3. They think I am still in school (because this couldn’t possibly be a career) or that I volunteer my time (because, again, this couldn’t possibly be a career).
4. They actually know what music therapy is and how it works and they are actually correct in their thinking. (This doesn’t happen very often in my experience!)
One of the most common questions I get is “What is music therapy?” It’s actually a loaded question, because music therapy is so broad and there are so many populations we work with and settings in which we work. Someday, maybe I will write another post explaining exactly what it is I do, but for now, I thought I would tell you what music therapy is NOT.
1. Music therapy is NOT entertainment.
2. Music therapy is NOT just for musicians.
3. Music therapy is NOT a music activity facilitated by a volunteer.
4. Music therapy is NOT an opportunity for clients/consumers/patients to perform.
5. Music therapy is NOT about performance or the finished product.
6. Music therapy is NOT the same as music education. The person receiving music therapy may learn about music but that is not the primary goal.
7. Music therapy is NOT facilitated by just anyone with a musical background.
Stay tuned to find out more about what music therapy actually is!