What is music therapy?

Music therapy is the professional use of music and its elements as an intervention in medical, educational, and everyday environments with individuals, groups, families, or communities who seek to optimize their quality of life and improve their physical, social, communicative, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health and wellbeing. Research, practice, education, and clinical training in music therapy are based on professional standards according to cultural, social, and political contexts.

Where do music therapists work?

These are some of the workplaces for a music therapist: Psychiatric and medical hospitals, rehabilitative facilities, outpatient clinics, day care centers, special schools, agencies serving people with developmental disabilities, Community Mental Health Care Centers, drug and alcohol programs, correctional facilities, nursing homes, senior centers, hospice programs.

Do music therapists teach musical skills?

Music therapy is not a substitute for music lessons. However, clients will often acquire certain musical skills in the course of a music therapy program, such as sensitivity to pitch, rhythmic control, awareness of form, manipulative control etc.

Who can benefit from music therapy?

Children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly with mental health needs, developmental and learning disabilities, Alzheimer's disease and other aging related conditions, substance abuse problems, brain injuries, physical disabilities, and acute and chronic pain, including mothers in labor.

What are some misconceptions about music therapy?

  • That the client or patient has to have some particular music ability to benefit from music therapy -- they do not.
  • That there is one particular style of music that is more therapeutic than all the rest as this is not the case. All styles of music can be useful in effecting change in a client or patient's life. The individual's preferences, circumstances and need for treatment, and the client or patient's goals help to determine the types of music a music therapist may use.

What do music therapists do?

Music therapists assess emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills through musical responses; design music sessions for individuals and groups based on client needs using music improvisation, receptive music listening, song writing, lyric discussion, music and imagery, music performance, and learning through music; participate in interdisciplinary treatment planning, ongoing evaluation, and follow up.

How many music therapists are there in Malaysia?

Kindly refer to https://www.mmta.org.my/contact

Who are they and what population do they work with?

Kindly refer to https://www.mmta.org.my/contact

How can I get in touch with the music therapists in Malaysia?

Kindly refer to https://www.mmta.org.my/contact or you could write us an email at malaysiammta@gmail.com

Are there any institutions offering music therapy program in Malaysia for those who want to become a music therapist?

At the moment, there is none in Malaysia and the MMTA team is hard at work in ensuring that this opportunity is available for Malaysians in the near future!

What qualifications do I need to become a music therapist?

Most universities offer a Master program in Music Therapy. You may need an undergraduate degree related to health sciences or music. The criteria varies for each university as some universities may still accept undergrads. You will need to know how to play the piano and the guitar as basic requirement. All other instruments are optional. Duration for completion of a Masters is usually 2 years.

Are there any specific professional associations for music therapists?

Yes! The Malaysian Music Therapy Association (MMTA) is the official resource and main body governing all matters relating to music therapy in Malaysia. Do check out the website for more information: www.mmta.org.my

Am I able to get a job in Malaysia? If yes, where can I work?

Yes. There are job opportunities in many places. You can work privately or with organizations in special education, hospital setting or mental health etc. Do get in touch with MMTA at malaysiammta@gmail.com and the team will do their best to assist you.


  1. World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT): http://www.musictherapvworld.net/WFMT/Home.html
  2. American Music Therapy Association (AMTA): http://www.musictherapy.org
  3. Australian Music Therapy Association (AMTA): http://www.austmta.org.au
  4. British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT): http://www.bamt.org
  5. Malaysian Music Therapy Association (MMTA): https://www.mmta.org.my