One of the most difficult challenges that teenagers face is deciding what to choose for a career and whether they will need to go to college or a trade school, enlist in the military, or simply find a job. Parents can try to guide their children into making good decisions, but the decision should ultimately be up to the child so they do not end up changing majors in college—or drop out altogether—or regretting other decisions they've made.
Sometimes, prerequisites are necessary in order to achieve success in college, such as for the career choice of music therapist. If your teenager has expressed an interest in becoming a music therapist yet has very little, if any, music-making capabilities under their belt, don't try to sway them into not going for it. Instead, start preparing them now. Here's how.
Piano School & Guitar Lessons
Being a fairly good musician is definitely helpful when going to college to become a music therapist. While most schools that offer music therapy courses do include music classes as part of the curriculum, it's worth it for your teenager to get comfortable playing the piano.
The guitar is another instrument that is often used in music therapy. Therefore, you'll also want to sign your teen up for guitar lessons. If they've never taken any type of music lessons before, speak with both the piano and guitar teachers as to how to best handle their lessons and whether or not the lesson plans can be tailored so they learn the same music principles at the same time in both instruments. Contact a piano school for additional advice.
Encourage Them to Sing Openly
As part of music therapy, he or she will sing in front of their patients. No, they don't need to have an extremely brilliant voice, but it does help if they can carry a tune. Part of being able to carry a tune is being able to move beyond what's commonly referred to as stage fright. Encourage your teen to sing openly to their heart's content so they become used to singing in front of people without keeping focus on themselves and how they sound.
In music therapy, the therapist needs to keep their focus on their patient. One thing that can be helpful in getting your teen's singing voice ready for college and their career is to have them sing along while they play the piano and guitar, often enough so singing becomes second nature to them.
Have Them Take Psychology Courses
Music therapy has been found to benefit many different medical ailments and mental health conditions. Therefore, if your teen does indeed become a music therapist, he or she will work with people of different ages and with different backgrounds. While psychology is definitely part of the curriculum for music therapy in college, it's helpful to take a psychology class while still in high school. A high school psychology class can improve your teen's social skills, which will help them not only in their chosen career field but also when they attend piano and guitar lessons, as well as when they go to college.
A psychology course in high school can also help them to better understand themselves and improve their critical thinking skills, which can help them as they reach adulthood, regardless of whether or not they go to college for music therapy and continue on that career path until their retirement years.
In conclusion, discuss these options with your teen and their high school's guidance counselor to develop a game plan so they will be ready to attend college to become a music therapist when the time comes.
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