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Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is music therapy?
2. What is the curriculum like?
3. Where do music therapy students get practical experience?
4. I have a music degree already - how do I complete a music therapy equivalency?
5. What do music therapists do?
6. Who becomes a music therapist?
7.How are music therapists regulated?
8. Do you offer summer courses, online courses, and/or practica?
Music therapy is an established healthcare profession that uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages. Music therapy improves the quality of life for persons who are well and meets the needs of children and adults with disabilities or illnesses. Music therapy interventions can be designed to:
|promote wellness||enhance memory||improve communication||express feelings|
|manage stress||alleviate pain||promote physical rehabilitation|
Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in a wide variety of healthcare and educational settings. (American Music Therapy Association, 2005)
Music therapy is a field for those who want to combine a love of music with a desire to work in a helping profession. The Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy degree is designed to produce skilled and broadly based music therapists who have achieved the entry-level competencies set by the American Music Therapy Association. Our program combines classroom study with clinical training, giving students supervised practical experience in a variety of community settings.
2. What is the curriculum like? Click for courses in our program
The curriculum is approved by the American Music Therapy Association, and includes applied lessons, courses in music theory and history, guitar, keyboard skills, voice, participation in ensembles, and courses in music therapy and related fields like psychology, and education. In addition to course work, students complete supervised clinical practica in the community, interacting with clients of all ages. Successful completion of this curriculum leads to the Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy degree.
Music therapy students are required to engage in a minimum of 180 hours of off-campus experiences to apply the skills and knowledge gained in the classroom. This is called clinical practicum. Students are supervised by a board certified music therapist, and also have the opportunity to work with other professionals. Please visit our multimedia page for examples from our students on what their experiences have been like.
- Psychiatric Unit
- Pediatric Outpatient
- J. Nelson Kelly Elementary
- Phoenix Elementary
- Ben Franklin Elementary
- Century Elementary
- Lake Aggasiz Elementary
- Lewis and Clark Elementary
Middle and High Schools
- South Middle
- Valley Middle
- Central High
- Red River High
Valley Memorial Care - Older adult setting
Ruth Meier Adolescent Center
Individuals who have earned a bachelor’s degree in an area other than music therapy (usually music performance or music education) may complete the degree equivalency program in music therapy, in order to sit for the examination to become a board-certified music therapist. Under this program, the student completes only the required coursework without earning a second degree. If the student comes to the program with functional music skills in guitar, piano, and voice, he or she may be able to begin the practicum sequence to earn the required experiential hours prior to applying for internship. The equivalency is typically 4-6 semesters.
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. (American Music Therapy Association, 2005).
Personal qualifications of a music therapist include a genuine interest in people and a desire to help others. The essence of music therapy practice involves establishing caring and professional relationships with people of all ages and abilities. Empathy, patience, creativity, imagination, an openness to new ideas, and understanding of oneself are also important attributes. Because music therapists are musicians as well as therapists, a background in and love of music are also essential. (American Music Therapy Association, 2005)
Graduates will be eligible to sit for the board certification exam which is administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). Once board certified, graduates will meet the requirements for music therapy licensure under the Board of Integrative Health Care in the State of North Dakota.
The only summer course offered in music therapy is MUSC 180: Introduction to Music Therapy. This course is typically offered online in a 6 week summer semester. No other courses are offered online or in the summer, including practica.