Crazy Careers

Music Thanatologist

Music Thanatologist

Career Advice on How to Become A Music Thanatologist

You have probably never heard of Thanatology or the Greek god Thanatos for which it is named. But Thanatology is the academic study of death.  This can mean studying death from a religious, psychological or anthropological perspective.  There are numerous degrees in Thanatology offered a around the world.  That stated, Thanatology and what music thanatologists do should not be confused.  A music thanatologist uses music to ease the pain of the dying.  If you are thinking that this sounds depressing, then you are not alone.

Career Facts:

Obviously, those who are in the midst of career planning or a job search should realize a few key facts.  One, you need to know how to play the harp.  Saying to a dying patient, “Ah look man, this is only my third day on this thing, let’s just see what we can do here,” is probably not going to score you too many points.

If you are looking for a truly unique job that does intend to help people, and you know how to play the hard then a music thanatologist might be a possibility.  It is important to note that learning to play the harp well, like most musical instruments, does take years of practice and training. 

Career Opportunities and Job Outlook- Unknown:

While it’s tough to say what the future holds for the music thanatologist it is difficult to see the career catching on.

A Day in The Life:

A music thanatologist uses a harp; yes a harp, to help ease the pain of those going to the “other side.”  If things seem so grim that you need someone to play a harp for you, well, it is rough indeed.  If you do end up working as a music thanatologist, just make certain that someone knows you are coming ahead of time.  Otherwise someone might truly think that the angel of death has dropped by for a visit.

Average Salary:

The hourly rate for music thanatologist varies.

Career Training and Qualifications:

Anyone looking to become a music thanatologist better play one mean harp.

Want to learn more about these careers?

2 Responses

  1. Tony Pederson says:

    Thanks for your take on this field. Yes, one must play, “one mean harp,” but there is a little more to it than that.

    My main issue with your characterizations has to do with “Career Opportunities and Job Outlook.” Our society has lost contact with dying as a part of life. The relief of physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering, and the mentorship that a music-thanatologist can provide as patients and families work to make meaning at the end-of-life are invaluable.

    Difficult to see this catching on? Difficult for me to imagine a world where we care so little that this does not come to permeate our approach to the transition out of life. Besides, is there someone you know that isn’t going to die?

    Tony Pederson, CM-Th
    Certified Music-Thanatologist

  2. Christine Jones says:

    How fabulous to see our field characterized on Crazy Careers! This tells me that Music-Thanatology is spoken of in the mainstream in the wide world of the web and that bodes well indeed!
    While working in a hospital a few years ago I encountered a surgical nurse in a (crowded) elevator who, each time he saw me said, “Oh, things must be very bad, huh?” Finally one day after the same negative review from this individual I spoke, and I said, “No, things are good. I am going up to provide tender, loving care by way of prescriptively delivered music for my patient, and that is a very good thing.”
    Our society still fears and wants to hide death. It is how we, as patients, families, loved ones and medical staff assist that dying person who still has needs, and who still receives our best intentions now and in each moment in this, the most difficult transition in life, that speaks volumes about our society and for us all.
    Hey, Crazy Careers, shouldn’t we all have career choices which embody the ideals of kindness and loving intention? What a crazy concept.

    Christine Jones, MIS, CM-Th
    Certified Music-Thanatologist

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