Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some commonly asked questions about music therapy and AMTS. For other enquiries, please contact us at musictherapy.sg@gmail.com.

A Music Therapist conducting a session with a patient

General information about Music Therapy and AMTS

Music therapy is the scientific use of music interventions within a therapeutic relationship towards observable or measurable functional, educational, rehabilitative or well-being outcomes by a credentialled professional. – Association for Music Therapy (Singapore)

Professional music therapists are credentialled music therapists with minimally a bachelor’s degree or higher in music therapy. Music therapists tailor music experiences to meet specific therapeutic needs of the individual client in the areas of physical, psycho-emotional, social and communication domains. For more information, visit what is music therapy.

Individuals throughout the lifespan can benefit from music therapy. This ranges from premature babies, adults with mental health or physical challenges, to seniors with dementia or terminal illness. Music therapy aims to improve the physical, cognitive, psycho-emotional, musical, social and spiritual domains according to specific therapeutic needs.

It is important to note that the client does not need any musical background or training to benefit from music therapy. All that is required is receptivity to sounds and music.

A credentialled music therapist is a professional music therapist who has completed a music therapy university programme and is registered with an accreditation board. The entry level of a music therapist in Singapore is a bachelor's degree or higher in music therapy.

Music therapists work in a variety of settings. This includes early intervention centres, special education schools, acute or community hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, mental health-based organisations, various social service organisations, charities, and also in private practices.

There is extensive international research regarding the benefits of music therapy. International research in music therapy began with the historical developments of key music therapy bodies dating from the 1940s. In Singapore, AMTS was officially formed in 2007 and there has since been a growing database of research by AMTS members.

AMTS is the sole organisation representing the profession of music therapy in Singapore. It is an associate member of the National Council of Social Service and a member of the World Federation of Music Therapy. AMTS professional members are music therapists registered with AMTS and work in multiple settings in the education, disability, healthcare and social service sector. More information about our AMTS members can be found in the Professional membership directory.

AMTS connects and supports AMTS students and professionals in resources, advocacy work and collaborative opportunities. AMTS also engages on the national level about matters relating to music therapy in Singapore. For more information, please visit What is AMTS.

As AMTS is a non-profit organisation representing the profession of music therapy in Singapore, it does not directly have platforms for volunteering opportunities. Please write in directly to organisations that employ music therapists for volunteering or observation opportunities. Members of the public can also follow AMTS on our Facebook and Instagram pages to personally connect with professional music therapists during events.

Employing credentialled music therapists

AMTS recommends the hiring of credentialled music therapists in workplaces. Credentialled music therapists adhere to strict competency standards and a code of ethics to maintain their accreditation. They also have to pursue ongoing professional development to ensure quality in skills and knowledge in music therapy. These standards required for accreditation enable quality interventions by music therapists.

As AMTS is a non-profit organisation representing the profession of music therapy in Singapore, AMTS does not directly hire music therapists or deal with contracting music therapy services.

AMTS can however disseminate employment opportunities to AMTS members for them to take on depending on their availability. If you are keen to explore music therapy service or to employ a credentialled music therapist, please contact AMTS at musictherapy.sg@gmail.com.

Career in Music Therapy

Currently there are no accredited music therapy degree programmes in Singapore and all locally-based credentialled music therapists were trained overseas. Our professional members have graduated from training programmes in countries such as Australia, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Korea. Please see How to become a credentialled music therapist for more information.

For updates on the development of the music therapy scene in Singapore, do follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Different music therapy programmes have different criterias. Most music therapy programmes start at a bachelor's degree or master’s level. For master’s level in music therapy, usually a degree in a music or non-music related field is required as a prerequisite. Competency in a main music instrument is also expected. Common instruments include guitar, piano, voice but various instruments are used flexibly to meet therapeutic needs. For links to international music therapy associations and academic institutions, please visit Useful resources.

AMTS connects AMTS student members with professional music therapists for internship or observation opportunities in Singapore. Both Singaporean and non-Singaporean music therapy students can join AMTS as a student member.

Music therapy internships are mostly arranged for music therapy students. For other members of the public, please write in directly to organisations that employ music therapists for observation opportunities. Members of the public can also follow AMTS at Facebook and Instagram to personally connect with professional music therapists during events.

AMTS members had previously received scholarships for their music therapy studies through a few ways. This includes through their work organisation, their university, and also through Singapore public scholarships such as National Arts Council Scholarship and Tan Kah Kee Foundation Scholarship. Please note that AMTS is not related to these above-mentioned avenues for scholarship.

Other commonly asked questions

A typical day for a music therapist varies depending on the setting and roles. In many settings, music therapists work in a multidisciplinary team along with other allied health professionals. Music therapy sessions can be individual-based, family-based, or in a group. Both instruments and voice are usually used. Sessions can be conducted at the organisation’s site or at the client’s home. Music therapists also branch into other roles such as training, education and research.

The term ‘music therapist’ specifically refers to a credentialled professional who has completed a music therapy programme, minimally a bachelor’s degree in music therapy. It is a professional role with clear educational pathways, similar to other allied health professionals such as physiotherapists. Music therapists ensure safe and effective music interventions to meet therapeutic needs. Likewise, the term ‘music therapy’ is used to describe the work by a professional music therapist with a client. 

Music is however used in many other contexts besides in music therapy. This includes music performances by professional musicians or volunteers. There is also the therapeutic use of music by other healthcare professionals when incorporating music in their practices. Teachers likewise also use music for educational purposes. For individuals who run music programmes, commonly used terms include music interventionist or instructor. 

Although not all use of music is called music therapy, they are all part of the ecosystem of music in our lives. Music itself can be used and enjoyed by everyone.