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Music therapist

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

Annual Salary

£35,000 to £50,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 39 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends; occasionally

Future employment

There will be 3.8% more Music therapist jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

As a music therapist you could:

  • meet with clients of all ages, families and other professionals
  • assess your client's needs, plan therapy goals and prepare for sessions
  • use a variety of musical styles and instruments in client-led, group or individual therapy sessions
  • monitor progress and have regular sessions with a senior music therapist
  • write reports, make recommendations and keep confidential records
  • clean and maintain instruments and order supplies

Working environment

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

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

You can get into this job through a university course or an apprenticeship.


You'll need to do an approved postgraduate course in music therapy  and then register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

To get on a postgraduate course in music therapy, you'll usually need a degree in music.

However, you might be accepted if you have an education or psychology degree and you have a high level of music skill.

To apply for a postgraduate course, you'll need 1 or 2 years of paid or voluntary work experience in a health, education or social care setting.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information

You could do an Arts Therapists Level 7 Degree Apprenticeship.

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

Entry requirements

To do this apprenticeship, you'll need:

  • a degree in a relevant subject
For more information
Volunteering and work experience

You'll find it useful to have volunteering experience in health, education or social care.

You can also find volunteering opportunities through the The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and Do IT.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

You could do an introductory course in music therapy to get an idea of what this work involves.

The British Association for Music Therapy offers short courses. You might also be able to find courses at some music colleges and universities.

Your salary as a music therapist will vary. if you do not work for the NHS. The British Association for Music Therapy can give you advice on recommended rates of pay.

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the British Association for Music Therapy for professional recognition, career development and to make contact with other therapists.

Further information

You can find more advice about careers and training in music therapy from the British Association for Music Therapy and Health Careers.

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With experience, you could:become self-employed and build up your own practice; move into teaching music therapy; become a senior music therapist and manage a team of therapists or music therapy unit; move into academic research

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • knowledge of psychology
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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