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5 Ways Being a Music Therapist and an Entrepreneur Go Hand in Hand


After finishing their degree, many music therapists choose to take the entrepreneurial route and start their own private practice. When I first started Miya Music Therapy, I quickly learned that I thoroughly enjoyed being an entrepreneur and all that comes with it including marketing, management, and even building a website! I realize now that many of the attributes it takes to be a music therapist are also needed to be an entrepreneur.


1. Creativity

To be a music therapist, you must be creative! This is important in many aspects of music therapy work, but especially in being able to come up with creative solutions and interventions to meet each unique client's needs. It is also important to be creative musically when using improvisational and compositional interventions.


Being an entrepreneur also requires a great deal of creativity. One must be creative in designing their business, programs, and offerings, and how these will be presented to the public. A certain amount of creativity is also required if you are hands-on with the design elements of your business, such as creating social media posts, advertisement design, blog content, and so much more!


I find owning a business to play a large part in fulfilling my own creative aspirations!


2. Relationship Building

Building a therapeutic relationship is a key component of music therapy. This is done in order for our client's to feel safe and comfortable within the therapeutic space, thus allowing them to freely express themselves. Building therapeutic rapport requires certain people skills that often come innately to music therapists and counselling skills that are learned throughout training. These skills come in handy as an entrepreneur! Owning a music therapy practice requires building many relationships. The success of your business is in large part, if not almost entirely dependent on the success of these relationships. It is key to build lasting, and mutually respecting relationships with community partners and the allied healthcare professionals working alongside you.


3. Discipline

The musicianship it requires to become a music therapist is quite extensive. Music therapists must be trained sufficiently on guitar, piano, and voice, and many come with experience on additional instruments. Learning an instrument requires hours and hours of practice, which requires loads and loads of discipline!


When you own a business, there is no boss or manager giving you deadlines - you are the boss! Therefore, you must be disciplined and able to set your own standards and to-do lists in order to accomplish the goals you set out to do. Take that discipline you acquired from learning the piano and apply to your business!


4. Trailblazer

I believe that music therapists are trailblazers. What I mean by this is that we are pioneers and forward thinkers in the healthcare industry. We know that although not everyone knows it yet, music therapy can make a significant impact on people's health, and we are here to make sure we can spread that message to whoever will listen!


Entrepreneurs are trailblazers too. They are carving their own unique path in their field and are dedicated to making a difference through their innovative offerings. When looking up synonyms of trailblazer, here are some of the words that came up. Don't these words also define an entrepreneur?

Creator, Pioneer, Groundbreaker, Founder, Guide, Developer, Leader, Innovator.


5. Flexibility

Music therapists must be flexible in many regards. For example, although we come to sessions with a prepared session plan, often times our clients require something completely different in the moment and we must throw away our session plans and be flexible in order to meet their needs and their goals.


The same goes for entrepreneurship. You never know what your day is going to look like from one moment to the next, which fires you will have to put out, and what sort of changes you will have to make. There is always something shifting and something needing adjusting and you have to be able to roll with the punches and be flexible in order to be sustainable.


These are just a few of the ways that being a music therapist and an entrepreneur go in hand. I feel fortunate to truly love both of these aspects of my career! Are you an entrepreneur and a music therapist or other health-care professional? Let us know how you feel these two worlds mesh together for you in the comments below.

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