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Creative Therapy Adelaide

How to Become A Music Therapist

Transform Lives With Music - How to Become A Music Therapist

Music Therapy is a creative arts therapy that utilises the universal language of music to bring about positive change in individuals’ lives. It’s an evidence-based allied health profession that has been rapidly gaining recognition and practitioners not just in Australia but across the globe. The body responsible for regulating and monitoring the qualification and practice of music therapists in Australia is the Australian Music Therapy Association (AMTA). For aspiring music therapists, adhering to the following standards and core competencies outlined by the Australian Music Therapy Association is essential;

  1. Music Skills
  2. Psychosocial Knowledge
  3. Clinical Knowledge
  4. Music Therapy Knowledge
  5. Music Therapy Skills

Each unit of competency is essential, encompassing everything from proficiency in musical techniques to understanding the psychological and clinical nuances of therapy sessions.

Pre-requisites on how to become a music therapist

Before diving into postgraduate studies, aspiring music therapists are required to complete an undergraduate degree in a relevant field, to demonstrate an awareness of the academic commitment required to complete the course. 

While musical proficiency is necessary to undertake study in a music therapy course, a background in music is not the sole determining factor for success in this field. Degrees in fields such as allied health, health science, or social science are also considered suitable, provided candidates demonstrate a level of musical competency. This inclusivity reflects the diversity within the field of music therapy, where practitioners come from various backgrounds and musical traditions.

Obtaining a Postgraduate Qualification

The path to obtaining qualification as a Registered Music Therapist in Australia begins with tertiary postgraduate education accredited by the AMTA. Currently, there are two Australian institutions offering such programs: the University of Western Sydney’s Master of Creative Music Therapy and the University of Melbourne’s Master of Music Therapy. The university of Melbourne also offers a blended learning alternative for aspiring music therapists located interstate to undertake the training. These programs offer a comprehensive curriculum that combines theoretical knowledge with practical experience, preparing students for the dynamic nature and scope of music therapy practice.

Furthermore, the AMTA provides access to a recorded webinar with presentations by the heads of the music therapy courses at both institutions. This webinar includes overviews on the training opportunities within Australia, and the course layout.

Find a link to the webinar here

Registering as a Music Therapist

Upon meeting qualification eligibility, graduates can apply for registration as music therapists with the AMTA. Registration signifies a commitment to upholding professional standards and ethics, paving the way for employment opportunities in a variety of settings. 

Continued Learning as a Registered Music Therapist

Maintaining registration membership with the AMTA also requires a commitment to continuing professional development to ensure up-to-date, informed and evidence-based practice. CPD requirements need to be met every year, and are spread across four categories; 

  • Mandatory CPD Items 
  • Formal Learning 
  • Informal Learning
  • Engagement with the Profession. 

Mandatory CPD items include reviews and tutorials set by the AMTA to be completed. Formal learning covers courses, conferences, publications and presentations. Informal learning refers to a wide array of areas such as professional, clinical and peer supervision, formal music tuition, attending AMTA events, or providing examples of music created for practice purposes. Engagement with the profession covers involvement with AMTA committees across various levels, or the supervision of music therapy, observation or work experience students.


Here is how to become a music therapist! Working towards qualification as a music therapist is a journey of dedication, education, and compassion. By meeting the core competencies outlined by the AMTA and embracing the diverse applications of music therapy, aspiring therapists can embark on a fulfilling career that transforms lives. With music as their medium and empathy as their guide, music therapists have the opportunity to make a profound and lasting impact on individuals and communities, one melody at a time.

Luke Dowsett, Registered Music Therapist

Luke Dowsett, Registered Music Therapist

Luke believes that success means embracing our strengths and discovering happiness through the tunes of life. For Luke, music isn't just about the notes; it's the harmony that brings us closer to ourselves and those around us.

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