Education & Training

General Information

What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.

Music therapy interventions can be designed to:24244_108097465877687_8162111_n

  • promote wellness
  • manage stress
  • alleviate pain
  • express feelings
  • enhance memory
  • improve communication
  • promote physical rehabilitation

What Do Music Therapists Do?

According to the American Music Therapy Association (2010), »music therapists assess emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills through musical responses; design music sessions for individuals and groups based on client needs using music improvisation, receptive music listening, song writing, lyric discussion, music and imagery, music performance, and learning through music; participate in interdisciplinary treatment planning, ongoing evaluation, and follow up.» Other applications/interventions also may include:

  • Song discussion
  • Song stories
  • Music legacies
  • Music and movement
  • Music with other expressive arts

Who do Music Therapists Help?

Music therapists can work with a wide range of populations and in diverse types of facilities. Music therapy can be used with individuals with:

  • Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities
  • Mental health needs
  • Substance abuse problems
  • Physical disabilities
  • Chronic or terminal illnesses
  • Alzheimer’s Disease/dementia
  • Autism
  • High risk pregnancies/Maternity
  • Other

Facilities where a music therapist might work include:

  • Medical Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Nursing Homes/Assisted-living Facilities
  • Mental Health Facilities/Behavioral Stress Units
  • Pediatric or Neonatal Units
  • Physical Rehabilitation Units
  • Correctional facilities
  • Private Homes

How does someone become a Music Therapist?

Students must complete a minimum of 1200 hours of music therapy clinical training, with approximately 200 hours in pre-internship field experiences and 1000 hours in a National Roster or University-Affiliated Internship (approximately six months full-time). A minimum of a bachelor’s degree (or Music Therapy Equivalency program) in music therapy also is required, with a curriculum which includes:

  • applied music study, music history, music theory/aural skills, and ensembles
  • music therapy courses (including clinical skills, research, and music psychology)
  • anatomy/physiology, psychology courses, and dance/movement
  • other related courses.

Completion of academic and internship requirements leads to eligibility to take the board examination. Passing the examination leads to entry-level credential MT-BC (Music Therapist-Board Certified) awarded by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT).