Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used in a therapeutic manner to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. In simple words, Music therapy is a means of working with music to overcome the limitations of a disability or health problem, or to resolve personal issues. It is a type of expressive therapy that uses music exposure to help people improve their well being. Healthcare professionals who use music to help individuals suffering from physical, emotional or mental issues are referred as Music therapists. Music Therapists use a balance of scientific, theoretical, and musical dimensions in their clinical work. Music therapists work with people of all age groups from children to adults in a variety of settings including special learning environments, geriatric centres, hospitals, universities and research centres. They deal with those having mental disorders, physical disabilities, psychiatric problems, speech and hearing impairments, Alzheimer's, Cancer and other degenerating and life threatening diseases and many more. Music therapists use music and all of its features to help patients improve their mental health. Sometimes they are also called Recreational therapists. Music therapy helps to promote brain and motor activity. Music therapy interventions can be designed to promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, enhance memory, improve communication, and provide unique opportunities for interaction. Music therapy is based on the idea that music is a universal form of communication that everyone can relate to, regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances. Music has a way to keep depression and anxiety at bay. Depending upon the needs of the clients involved, music therapy sessions are offered on an individual or group basis. All sorts of musical experience can be integrated into music therapy, from listening to music to playing music to writing music. How to become a Music Therapist ELIGIBILITY Educational Music therapists being musicians as well as therapists, a background in music and love of music is essential. In India, it is an emerging field and graduate or post graduate courses in Music therapy are rare. But diploma and certificate courses are available. Abroad, becoming a music therapist involves obtaining a bachelor's degree or higher in music therapy and obtaining certification through the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Personal Attributes Needed Music therapists should have a desire to help people, care and concern and be able to offer emotional support for clients and families. Empathy, patience, creativity, imagination, an openness to new ideas, and understanding of self are also important attributes. They must possess high level of musical ability and an appreciation for a wide range of music styles. Music therapists must express themselves well in speech and in writing. Must have the ability to relate to people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. In addition, they must be able to work well with other health care providers. Job Prospects and Career avenues in Music Therapy Music therapists work with clients having physical, developmental and mental health challenges as well as patients with cancer, HIV and other life threatening illnesses. They work with adults and children of all ages having autistic spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, learning difficulties, mental health problems, neurological conditions, post traumatic stress and so on. Through cognitive and behavioral changes, music therapist enable disabled patients a better sense of a therapeutic outlet and empowerment. While the medical team focus on the treatment, Music therapists focus on the patient himself. They build a trusting relationship with the patient. They offer support to the patient and their families, explain medical treatments and procedures, familiarise them with the environment, if in a hospital, help patients to express themselves, have a bit of fun and be positive in their outlook. Music Therapists work in medical and psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitative day care treatment facilities, palliative care centers and agencies for people facing various challenges. They are also employed by National Health Service trusts, special schools, community mental health agencies, prisons, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers and many more. Many music therapists even work as private practitioners. In rare cases, they might work with a patient in the patient's own home. There are also opportunities to work in education, by teaching other music therapy students on one of the recognised training courses. Some music therapists may advance their career by supervising and managing an entire department of music therapists, or working to conduct research on effective methods of music therapy. Remuneration Depending on experience, education, and the responsibilities of the individual, Music Therapist may earn different amounts. Therapist earnings are also dependent on the size, prestige, and geographic location of the specific facility and job.