This page provides an overview of the music therapist profession in long-term care based on the information given to us by musical therapists in the field and the sources outlined below. The role of a music therapist may vary based on the long-term home and region. For a more comprehensive picture of this role, visit the music therapist associations information links below. This page is part of our Careers in Long-Term Care Initiative.
What does a music therapist do?
An Accredited Music Therapist (MTA) uses music to support residents’ health and well-being. Music therapists use music to impact the cognitive, emotional, physical, social, sensory, spiritual, and communicative needs of residents.
- Music therapy interventions developed through music-based, verbal, and/or non-verbal communication
- Conduct resident assessments, develop treatment plans, implement therapy processes, and evaluate progress
- Music therapy can be used for residents living with dementia, physical disabilities, speech and language impairments, and visual impairments
- Music therapy can be beneficial in spiritual care, pain control, palliative care and also meaningful shared experiences with residents and their families
Various clips used in this video were filmed before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Infection control practices (such as wearing a mask) may be shown.
What skills will I use?
- Musical ability
- Interpersonal communication
- Active listening
- Teamwork and collaboration
How do I become a music therapist in LTC?
- University education in music therapy research, music, and psychology
- Accredited music therapists complete a Bachelor or a Graduate Certificate, a 1000-hour supervised clinical internship, and the Certification Board of Music Therapists exam
- Volunteer coordinator
- Occupational therapist
- Recreational therapist
- Art therapist
- Clergy/spiritual leaders
- Activation manager or life enrichment manager (management)
- Director of recreation/life enrichment (management)