Music Therapy Coursework

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When I’m asked about my career, one of the most frequent questions (besides, “What IS music therapy?”) is, “What kinds of classes do you have to take?”

The curriculum varies depending on your interests and background: whether or not you have an undergraduate degree in another field, your interest in a “performance” or a “clinical” track, etc.

Basically, you can approach the program in the following ways (the coursework outlines below are from the University of Iowa’s music therapy program):

1. Undergraduate degree in music therapy
A. Performance Track
B. Clinical Track

2. Equivalency degree

3. Master’s degree (+ Equivalency, if your undergraduate degree was not in music therapy)

My undergraduate degree was in communication disorders; therefore, I chose the equivalency + Master’s degree path, which, because of the amount of music classes I needed to take, took me about 5 years to complete.  My case is an anomaly, for sure.  The majority of students who sign up to do an equivalency degree already have an undergraduate in music, allowing them to bypass the extra music classes.

Coursework for an undergraduate/equivalency degree includes:

  • Visual/Theatre Arts class
  • Movement for Performers (Laban and Alexander Techniques)
  • Human Anatomy
  • General or Elementary Psych
  • Abnormal Psych
  • Child development courses
  • Sociology courses
  • Arrangement classes for band/instrumentation
  • Group piano classes
  • Conducting
  • Voice lessons
  • 4 semesters of music theory
  • Classes on diverse musical cultures
  • 6 semesters of college-level private lessons on your primary instrument
  • 6 semesters of musical ensemble
  • 2 semesters of music history

 Music Therapy Core Requirements:

  • Orientation to Music Therapy
  • Music Foundations in Therapy I & II
  • Music in Special Education
  • Music Therapy: Atypical Children
  • Music Therapy: Adult Clients
  • Psychology of Music
  • Music Research
  • Practicum I, II, and III (Clinicals – 1 semester each)
  • Internship (6 months)
  • National Board Certification Exam (for MT-BC credentials)

***As with other programs, students must complete the basic, general education coursework (biology, statistics, chemistry, four semesters of a foreign language, rhetoric, etc.).

The coursework involved with the Master’s degree is similar to other Master’s programs and can be viewed here: http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/includes/documents/therapy_ma.pdf

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