In the Preface of The Music Therapy Profession: Inspiring Health, Wellness and Joy, music therapist and educator Christine Korb states what her book is not: It’s not an “ordinary book about music therapy.” Nor is it a “how to use music to heal” manual for professionals. Rather, she says, it’s “a book about the soul and spirit of the music therapist and what drives the prospective student to seriously consider the profession,” as well as a basic primer on the field for curious working musicians.
While the definition of “music therapy” varies, Korb explains, the practice generally uses music to achieve some sort of physical or psychological healing. It became an official profession in 1950, and there are only 6,000 trained music therapists in the U.S. It requires a graduate degree in the field, but programs differ, depending on the school.
The chapters cover topics ranging from how to find a music therapy training program to employment opportunities for graduates of such programs. Korb also shares a glimpse of her personal journey as a former folk singer-songwriter and sing-along volunteer at senior living homes, as well as music therapy experiences leading a drum circle for homeless and challenged youth and working with veterans.
The text is peppered with essays written by those applying to therapy programs. They are well-written and presumably helpful to those wanting to break in the field. But while they begin well enough, with one career musician’s recollections of performing a familiar flamenco song for a dying Spanish woman, the multi-page essays soon lose their appeal. Numbering into the dozens, they soon overpower the book and quickly become repetitive in their “why I want to be a music therapist” testimonials.
The Music Therapy Profession would be considerably stronger had Korb kept these stories short and relied more on her own valuable, boots-on-the-ground advice for those entering this niche vocation. Still, those interested in the profession may find some useful information here.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.