Where Do I Think Music Therapy Will Be In Ten Years?

By Maya Zebley, Intern #120

According to the American Music Therapy Association web-site, in the 1940’s music therapy became an organized clinical profession which led to establishment of  “standards for university-level educational and clinical training requirements, making research and clinical training a priority, creating a registry and, later, board-certification requirements, and publishing research and clinical journals.”

Since 1940’s the Music Therapy Association published a Statistical Profile which contains a detailed descriptive statistics about demographics, employment and salaries. Statistical information provided herein is divided into categories. Although the categories, names and diagnosis have changed throughout the years, the following information will give you an overview about how music therapy developed between the years 1992 – 2012 (total of 20 years).

According to the 1992 National Association for Music Therapy – Membership Directory:

  • Total of members (as of May 1, 1992): 2,780

  • Populations served:

    • 29.8% Mentally Impaired & Emotionally Disturbed

    • 16.1% Developmentally Disabled

    • 15.1% Elderly

    • 39% All Other Populations (Abused, Aids, Neurological etc.)

  • Primary work settings:

    • 16.6% Inpatient Psychiatric

    • 15.8% Schools

    • 11.7% Nursing homes

    • 55.9% All others (private practice, physical rehabilitation, hospice etc.)

  • Average salary for music therapists – $28, 053 per year

Fast-forwards 20 years later: According to 2012 AMTA Member Survey & Workforce Analysis, “A Descriptive Statistical Profile of the AMTA Membership”, we can witness change and development within the music therapy workforce:

  • Total member (as of August 1, 2012) – 3,668

  • Populations served:

    • 18% Mental Health

    • 15% Developmentally Disabled

    • 11% Medical/Surgical

    • 10% Elderly & Alzheimer’s

    • 6% Neurological Disorders

    • 40% All others

  • Primary work settings:

    • 16% Geriatric Facilities

    • 15% Children’s Facilities/Schools

    • 13% Medical Settings

    • 11% Mental Health Settings

    • 9% Self Employed & Private Practice

    • 36% All Other Settings

  • Average salary for music therapists was $49,396, an increase of $1,330 over salaries reported from the Membership Survey conducted in 2011.

Where do I think Music Therapy will be in ten years? Based on the statistics stated above, the music therapy field will continue to develop and will be wide spread, available to everyone in medical settings, schools, and in private settings.  Insurance companies will “readily” accept music therapy services without question.  Music therapy will become the norm, and when the norm is established the future is promised.

*Comprehensive data detailing the profession of music therapy based on AMTA member survey responses.


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