Master of Music Degree in Music Therapy

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The Master of Music degree in Music Therapy consists of 30 credit hours of graduate study beyond the Bachelor of Music degree in Music Therapy (or its equivalent). This degree program is designed for the individual who already holds an undergraduate degree in music therapy. It is designed to prepare students for either advanced-level clinical practice, or additional opportunities in research or college teaching. Although all masters music therapy students are prepared for advanced clinical practice they also specialize in either a clinical or a thesis track.

The curriculum 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.

Masters students work closely with music therapy faculty for the duration of this rigorous program, thus they gain experience in all aspects of music therapy clinical practice, education, and research.  The music therapy faculty are experienced researchers and distinguished educators who are known internationally for their research and service to the profession. 

The Master of Music degree in Music Therapy is designed to help students achieve the following three goals:

  1. To acquire specialized musicianship as needed for advanced performance and for clinical practice.  Within the diverse and comprehensive Frost School of Music, students have the opportunity to study with faculty who perform and compose regularly in local, national and international venues.  Consequently, the musical preparation of students here is unparalleled.
  2. To achieve advanced clinical competencies by examining the scientific evidence that supports the use of music in a therapeutic context.  Through this examination, students will gain an in-depth understanding of human behavior and further refine their clinical interaction skills.  Students will then translate this knowledge into therapeutic interventions which are then applied to clinical populations. Clinical work and research can be conducted at multiple hospitals and agencies in the greater Miami area, including the world-famous Miller School of Medicine.
  3. To develop independent research skills. Students have the opportunity to exercise their critical thinking skills and increase their knowledge of research topics, methodology, and analysis. Students who pursue the thesis track will demonstrate the ability to design and conduct an independent research project. Students who pursue the clinical track will apply research findings as they develop a clinically focused project within a specific clinical setting.

Graduate teaching assistantships are available to highly qualified candidates. These prestigious awards provide tuition coverage (full or partial) as well as a monthly stipend. Recipients gain valuable professional experience by assisting with teaching, clinical supervision, research, and program administration.

The curriculum for the Master of Music degree in Music Therapy meets the standards set forth by the National Association for Schools of Music, the American Music Therapy Association, 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 Masters Packet

For more general information on pursuing a Master’s in Music Therapy, please click here.

A master’s degree in music therapy provides you with advanced, intensive experience in either a clinical or thesis track. If you are considering a master’s degree in music therapy, you are likely already familiar with the many benefits that music has on individuals and on society.

Music relaxes us; it makes us feel happy. The empirical evidence is also clear: making or listening to music reduces stress, decreases the effects of depression, lowers blood pressure, and encourages the brain to release serotonin.

Music therapists put these benefits to good use. Based on evidence-based techniques, music therapists help individuals who are facing challenges achieve their goals. Music therapy has cognitive, emotional, social, and physical benefits for a range of populations.

How Can Music Therapy Help?

Music therapy is used to work through a wide range of life circumstances, including work with the following groups:

  • People with disabilities
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia patients
  • People with Parkinson’s Disease
  • People experiencing PTSD
  • People facing depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns
  • Young children, especially those who are having difficulty expressing themselves
  • People with autism spectrum disorder
  • People who are incarcerated
  • People with chronic pain

Music therapists maximize the benefits of music applying tried and true techniques. They work around the world in a variety of institutions like hospitals and schools as well as within private practice. A master’s degree in music therapy allows therapists to take a deep dive into the field, building expertise in the niche of their choice.

The Foundation of a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Therapy

A bachelor’s degree provides you with a foundation for a master’s degree in the same field:

Fundamentals of music. Because your clients do not need to have any previous musical experience, it’s essential that you have the tools you need to facilitate therapeutic techniques.

Fundamentals of music therapy. Music therapy provides you with information about the history, philosophy, and research behind the field. It also helps you learn the basic techniques that you’ll use throughout your career. Practicing these in the classroom is important before you actually use them at sites.

Supervised clinical experience. This experience allows mentors to provide feedback. Hands-on experience is essential for any area of study, especially such an interpersonal field.

Music Therapy Equivalency Programs

An equivalency program is for those who didn’t study music therapy in undergrad, but specialized in another music-related field. An equivalency program includes the following:

An extra year of your master’s degree. That being said, you will not need to go back and complete another undergrad degree. An equivalency program saves you time and money.

The Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) approach. You’ll use this research-based approach to treat clients, particularly those with nervous system disorders. NMT is quickly becoming internationally-recognized.

Courses designed for a foundational understanding. You’ll complete undergrad courses in music, music therapy, psychology, and biology. Understanding the field’s fundamentals and its supporting research will poise you for a master’s program.

A Few Words About Assistantships

As a master’s student, a graduate assistantship may be available to you during your degree. While many undergraduates seek out scholarships, grants, and work-study agreements to pay for college, a good number of graduate students pay for some or all of their schooling through assistantships in which they participate in hands-on work in their field. In exchange for the graduate assistant completing research work, teaching a class, or fulfilling another position, the school waives part or all of the graduate student’s tuition. An additional stipend may also be involved. Talk to the schools you’re applying to about what assistantships might be available during the course of your study. If an assistantship is not available your first year, it may be available to you in future years.

What Can I Do With A Master’s in Music Therapy?

Master’s in music therapy programs typically have two different tracks for you to choose from: clinical and thesis. The track you choose depends on how you want to focus your career.

Clinical Track

This track is appropriate for students who want to continue to work with clients after graduation. Clinical experience will teach you how to work effectively with populations and apply various therapeutic techniques in dynamic settings.

Thesis Track

The thesis track is research-based. During your degree, you will conduct research and collaborate with professors, assisting them in gathering data for new discoveries in the field of music therapy. Students who wish to become professors, researchers, or work for policy institutes after they graduate may find a home in the thesis track.

How Do I Find the Music Therapy Master’s Program That is Right for Me?

Music therapists work in a variety of settings including mental health therapy, schools, nursing homes, and in private practice. By the time you begin to consider a master’s degree, you may have a pretty clear idea of your intended path. It’s important that your school aligns with your career goals and offers concentrations that gel with your aspirations. The Frost School at the University of Miami uses the unique Frost Method™, a hands-on, experiential approach that especially suits students in the music therapy field.

Before you make any decisions about a degree, talk to the school you’re considering and see what they recommend. Music therapy schools are more than happy to talk with you about your goals and see which of their tracks align best.