Career Paths

  • Graduates of the Capilano University Music Therapy program work with all age groups, with a wide range of physiological, cognitive and emotional disorders, in a variety of clinical settings, and in private practice. They are trained to work as part of a health care team.

    Examples of the type of work done by  Music Therapists:

    • In the school system with a variety of needs, including children with Autism, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Attention-Deficit Disorder, Developmental Delay, mental and physical challenges, social and emotional problems, abuse, neglect, and learning problems. Music Therapists often work with children on social and educational goals.
    • In adolescent treatment facilities with teenagers who have depressions, drug misuse, schizophrenia, mental health concerns, spinal cord injury, anger management, eating disorder, and identify issues. Music Therapists often work with adolescents on social, emotional, and life skills goals.
    • In private practice with adults who want to work on wellness, relationship problems, mental health concerns, stress management, grief, life crises, and creative self-exploration. Music therapists working with adults often focus on social, relational and expressive goals.
    • In long term care facilities with seniors who may be experiencing Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia, a stroke, Parkinsons’ Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and other issues related to the inability to live independently. Music Therapists often work on social and emotional goals in long term care.
    • In palliative care Music Therapists often work with people who are dying. People in palliative care have a variety of issues: pain, loss, regret, isolation, confusion or delirium. Music Therapists working in those who are dying often work on life review, pain management, and confronting the intense feelings that may arise from dying.
    • In the delivery room, there are only a few Music Therapists in North America that assist the delivering mother, and the rest of the medical team, during childbirth and neo-natal care. The Music Therapist plays live music, and can improvise, to calm, reduce stress, and bring beauty to the medical experience of childbirth. In neo-natal care, live or recorded music can assist parents when they stimulate or soothe a premature baby.

    Typically, new graduates work on contract – a few hours one morning, three hours the next afternoon, and a half day the following day to start with. These self-employed contract hours can be in a variety of settings.  Students from this program graduate as generalists, and can work with a variety of people and disabilities.  It can take up to nine months to a year to build sufficient contracts.  This depends on motivation, geographic situation and resourcefulness.

    As Music Therapists grow in their professionalism, knowledge and maturity, some of these contracts and positions expand, or the Music Therapist moves to a half-time, and sometimes full-time, position, for those who want to work full-time. The rate set by the Music Therapy Association of B.C. for contract work is $50 per hour (e.g. assuming the therapist gets that rate for every contact, $50/hour for 18 hours a week is around $45,000 per year, without any benefits). A full client load would be 18 to 30 hours a week on a contract basis. The remainder of the week is travelling, documentation, preparation, and evaluation. Other Music Therapists find quarter-, half- and full-time work in unionized workplaces. The starting wage in a B.C. unionized workplace is $25.85 per hour, which includes a variety of benefits, paid sick time, and paid vacation time. (e.g. $25.85/hour for 37.5 hours a week is $50,470 annually). That hourly rate can increase with experience and supervisory responsibilities. Please note, these annual income examples are for illustrative purposes only.

  • xylophone Drumming improvising Small Group Improvising