Scope of Practice

Philosophy of the Therapeutic Musician (TM: This term is generic and represents titles of member training programs): The practice of the TM is to use the intrinsic healing elements of live music and sound to provide an environment conducive to the human healing process. We define healing as movement toward mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wholeness.

A credential for the therapeutic musician is awarded by an accredited program to an individual who has met the requirements, outlined in the following categories:

I. Musicianship

  1. Demonstrates/applies knowledge of basic music theory and techniques
  2. Improvises and plays music in a fluid, musical fashion
  3. Plays appropriate repertoire
  4. Is sensitive to the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient

II. Professionalism

  1. Uses appropriate (legal, ethical, moral) judgment, interpersonal skills and etiquette when interacting with patients, families and hospital staff; adheres to the TM Code of Ethics.
  2. Presents a positive, mature and professional image in manners, communication and dress.
  3. Respects diversity of cultural traditions, values and musical preferences.
  4. Demonstrates a responsible attitude about personal identification, documentation, scheduling, infection control, hospital equipment and privacy.
  5. Focuses on the welfare of the patient above all else in a compassionate and non-judgmental manner.
  6. Works within the determined scope of practice of therapeutic musicians; seeks appropriate assistance when needed.
  7. Engages in appropriate self-care and continuing education.

III. Education

  1. Demonstrates a responsible attitude about personal identification, documentation, scheduling, infection control, hospital equipment and privacy.
    1. Courses of study shall include but not be limited to: understanding the basics of health care and terminology, clinical protocols, hospital etiquette, deepening perceptual awareness, physics of sound, fundamentals of music theory, the effects of sound and music on human physiology, understanding palliative and curative care and music presentation.
    2. For programs exclusively using harp, a training module should include review of history and current uses of harp as a therapeutic tool.
  2. Can appropriately apply newly acquired knowledge and skills during required internship (and thereafter).

IV. Examination

  1. Has successfully prepared a portfolio and has completed an objective examination for therapeutic musicians, as specified by the NSBTM.

Public Protection Mechanism

Any person representing him or herself as a certified therapeutic musician shall practice within the TM Scope of Practice as defined above and adhere to the TM Code of Ethics. Any complaints made by the public against the TM should be brought to the attention of the NSBTM for investigation and possible disciplinary action.

Any person representing him or herself, as a certified TM must hold the credential awarded by an accredited TM training program.

Professional agencies and legislative bodies are increasingly requesting credentialing and scope of practice information for individuals who work in any aspect of health care delivery. When information about therapeutic musicians (a general term for training program graduates) or training programs for therapeutic musicians is requested for formal documents, it is recommended that the definitions listed here be used.

Click here for a Sample Job Description for a therapeutic musician.   This is a SAMPLE job description only, intended to help a facility develop their own job description for a therapeutic musician.