Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Therapy

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The Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Therapy is designed to help students acquire basic clinical competencies. Upon completion of coursework, students enter a six-month, full-time clinical internship. When the internship requirement has been met, candidates are eligible to take the board certification examination in music therapy and begin practice as a clinician.

The curriculum for the Bachelor of Music degree in Music Therapy is built upon the clinical and research paradigm known as Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT). This model utilizes scientific evidence regarding the influence of music on human brain and behavior function to treat neurological, developmental, and medical needs. The NMT approach is becoming increasingly recognized and accepted by the medical community, which helps increase employment for our graduates.

Courses for this degree program are drawn from four main categories:


Being a competent music therapist requires a solid foundation in all areas of music. Consequently, approximately half of the total credit hours required for the degree are allotted to studying music and acquiring specific musical skills.

Courses in music include:

  • Applied instruction on principal instrument or voice
  • Piano skills
  • Music Theory
  • Music History and Literature
  • Conducting
  • Arranging/Orchestration
  • Music Technology
  • Functional Music Skills (percussion, voice, guitar, autoharp, piano and improvisation)
  • Performing Ensembles

Music Therapy

Using music effectively as a therapeutic medium is based on knowing how the human brain and
body processes musical information. Through these interactive and experiential courses, students learn about the theory and research that supports the use of music in therapy. In addition, students have multiple opportunities to practice and refine their clinical skills. Before leaving campus to complete the internship, students take five semesters of practicum , which involves working with different clinical populations in the community. All clinical experiences are carefully supervised by board certified music therapists.

Content areas for music therapy coursework include:

  • Overview and History of the Music Therapy Profession
  • Music and Development
  • Music in Rehabilitation
  • Psychology of Music
  • Music in Psychotherapy

Behavioral and Natural Sciences

To work successfully with clients, music therapists rely on an in-depth understanding of the human body and the intricacies of human behavior. Students take several psychology courses, including child and adolescent development, statistics and abnormal psychology, and earn a minor in psychology. Additional courses include human biology and psychobiology.

General Education Requirements

To achieve a well-rounded education, students also complete requirements in college algebra, English composition and the social sciences.

The curriculum for the Bachelor of Music degree in Music Therapy is approved by the American Music Therapy Association, the National Association for Schools of Music, and the University of Miami.

For more information on this degree program, please contact:

Teresa Lesiuk, Ph.D., MT-BC

Program Director, Music Therapy

Music Therapy Bachelors Packet

Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Therapy

Welcome to the Music Therapy Program at the University of Miami Frost School of Music! Frost Music Therapy students use a curriculum built on the clinical and research paradigm known as Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT). This model utilizes scientific evidence regarding the influence of music on human brain and behavior function to treat neurological, developmental, and medical needs.

What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is a widely applicable treatment guided by scientific and therapeutic principles. The practice involves the use of music-based experiences to help a wide variety of people develop or regain important life skills. Those skills can include communication, physical movement, attention and memory, emotional competence, or social skills. Therapeutic techniques are based on scientific knowledge regarding how the human brain and body perceives and responds to musical stimuli.

What is Neurologic Music Therapy?

Neurologic music therapy is a therapeutic approach focused on using neuroscience to meet therapeutic goals. Therapists help clients reroute or strengthen neural pathways, the brain’s connectors. The therapies that NMT therapists administer are called interventions. Repeated interventions can help clients with a variety of conditions include Parkinson’s Disease, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, Down syndrome, and more.

Who Benefits from Music Therapy?

Music therapy is a rewarding career for the individual who has a strong musical background and an interest in working in a healthcare profession. Music therapists work with individuals of all ages and abilities levels who require assistance in developing or improving their physical, cognitive, communication, social, or emotional functioning. There are many ways that music therapy can positively impact health and wellbeing. Music has been shown to slow down heart rate in a healthy way, decrease stress levels, and rewire brain neural pathways.

Potential employment sites for music therapy graduates include medical or psychiatric hospitals, behavioral health centers, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers, special education or early intervention school settings, hospices, and correctional facilities.

What Impact Will Becoming a Music Therapist Have on My Life?

Those interested in lifelong learning, self-improvement, and leadership are good candidates for becoming music therapists. As you begin to learn about interventions and other therapies, you will have the opportunity to experience these therapies yourself. After all, there is no better way to know what kind of impact an intervention is having than to feel it for yourself! Music therapy is always a journey of self-discovery, both for the music therapist and for the client. Whatever interventions to administer to clients, you will have to try yourself first.

Does a Music Therapy Degree Make Me More Employable?

The idea that people interested in music can’t make money is a misnomer. Music therapists enjoy a wide range of employment options using evidence-based techniques with various groups of clients. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, recreational therapists made an average salary of around $47,000 in 2017. As in any field, the amount of money you make depends on your location, niche, and level of experience. Music therapists may work in private practice, within institutions, or as educators.

What If I Want to Pursue a Master’s Degree After I Complete My Bachelor’s?

The Frost School encourages undergraduate music therapy undergraduate students to consider whether or not they want to continue on to attain a master’s degree in the field. Completing a bachelor’s degree first can provide you with focus in the field; a master’s degree helps you take your understanding of music therapy even deeper.

Your undergraduate years are an exploration that can set you up for a master’s degree in the same field. Because Frost offers a master’s degree in music therapy as well, you can move seamlessly into this advanced study. If your undergraduate degree is already in music therapy, you won’t have to attain an equivalency; you will be able to move seamlessly into the master’s program.

Who Will I Meet in the Field?

Music therapists have the opportunity to meet a wide variety of people throughout their career. As an undergraduate, you’ll take classes with a cohort of other students who are interested in music and psychological well being. You’ll get to work with peers who are devoted to improving society through the arts, who are altruistic, and who are centered on helping other people. Some music therapy students are interested in complementary fields such as musciology; the Frost School allows students to become involved in more than one area of interest.

As a therapist, you’ll have the chance to work with a wide variety of clients. Whether you’re interested in working with the elderly, children, people with disabilities, or other populations, music therapy is the perfect way to use your skills for the greater good. Music therapists work in diverse fields. No matter you niche, music therapy allows you to make an positive impact on society.

What Should I Look for in a Music Therapy Program?

The Frost School Music Therapy program is approved by the American Music Therapy Association. Any quality music therapy program will be accredited. A variety of experienced faculty members will have research, clinical, and educational experience in the field. Excellent programs also have strong connections with the community so that they can connect current students with internships. Talking to alumni about their experiences in the program is one good way to learn more about what to expect.

What Music Therapy Degree Programs are Available?

The following music therapy degrees are available at the Frost School of Music at University of Miami:

If you’re thinking about pursuing any of these programs, we welcome you to contact the admissions office to learn more about your options.