Overview 

Do you love music? Do you have a genuine interest in helping people empower themselves? If you answered “yes” to those questions, then our unique music therapy degree may be for you.  Hands-on learning is important here. Beginning as early as your second semester freshman year, you will be able to begin clinical experiences in the community with the supervision of the faculty. The small class sizes at SMWC mean you’ll receive continual support from your professors, all of whom have extensive clinical experience.

Once you’ve successfully completed the academic and clinical requirements, you will be eligible to take the music therapy board examination administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Passing the examination leads to the professional credential MT-BC (Music Therapist-Board Certified).

What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is a healthcare profession that uses music and musical experiences to maintain or improve a person’s functioning level and quality of life. This is a great career for people who think of themselves as creative musicians, abstract thinkers, supportive listeners, problem solvers, responsible communicators and energetic leaders.

A music therapist is an allied health professional trained to use musical, clinical and personal skills to help meet a patient’s needs. Additionally, a music therapist uses many instruments and techniques to help patients in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and psychiatric facilities.

Major

Rooted in liberal arts education, the bachelor’s degree in music therapy prepares you for a career enabling you to help others while surrounded by music you love. At SMWC, you don’t have to wait until graduation to start getting practical experience. During the second semester of your freshman year, you are able to begin practicum experiences in the community and receive weekly supervision with faculty. A baccalaureate degree from SMWC requires at least 120 credit hours. In addition to general education courses and the following course requirements, students must also complete 1,200 hours of clinical experience (approximately 200 hours in practicum experience and approximately 1,000 hours in internship).

Auditions are required for prospective music therapy students.

Required Music Courses

Music majors take 43-45 credits in core courses. Must complete three (3) additional credit hours of music electives.

MU 025 Convocation
Campus | 0 Credits
Show Course Description
Campus 0 Credits
MU 110 Aural Skills I
Campus | 1 Credit
Show Course Description

A course that develops concepts and skills in aural perception and music reading.

Campus 1 Credit
MU 115 Music Theory I
Campus | 3 Credits
Show Course Description

A course for the development of concepts and skills in written music theory. Every year.

Campus 3 Credits
MU 120 Aural Skills II
Campus | 1 Credit
Show Course Description

A course that develops concepts and skills in aural perception and music reading.

Campus 1 Credit
MU 125 Music Theory II
Campus | 3 Credits
Show Course Description

A course for the development of concepts and skills in written music theory. Every year.

Campus 3 Credits
MU 210 Aural Skills III
Campus | 1 Credit
Show Course Description

A course that develops concepts and skills in aural perception and music reading.

Campus 1 Credit
MU 213 Music and Technology
Campus | 2 Credits
Show Course Description

Use of the computer and MIDI synthesizer keyboard to create, edit and perform music scores. Notation and sequencing software programs will be used. Spring, every year. Prerequisites: basic piano keyboard or consent of instructor.

Campus 2 Credits
MU 215 Music Theory III
Campus | 3 Credits
Show Course Description

A course for the development of concepts and skills in written music theory. Every year.

Campus 3 Credits
MU 225 Music Theory IV
Campus | 3 Credits
Show Course Description

A course for the development of concepts and skills in written music theory. Every year.

Campus 3 Credits
MU 321 Music History I
Campus | 3 Credits
Show Course Description

Study of non-Western and Western music from the ancient period to contemporary. Course presents music in relation to the social and cultural background of the periods. Every year. Prerequisite: MU 225 or consent of instructor.

Campus 3 Credits
MU 322 Music History II
Campus | 3 Credits
Show Course Description

Study of non-Western and Western music from the ancient period to contemporary. Course presents music in relation to the social and cultural background of the periods. Every year. Prerequisite: MU 225 or consent of instructor.

Campus 3 Credits
MU 323 Music History III
Campus | 3 Credits
Show Course Description

Study of non-Western and Western music from the ancient period to contemporary. Course presents music in relation to the social and cultural background of the periods. Every year. Prerequisite: MU 225 or consent of instructor.

Campus 3 Credits

Applied Music Area

Music majors must study the primary applied instruments for credit each semester and must accrue at least 7-8 credits in that instrument for the degree.

Ensembles

Music majors must participate in an ensemble for credit each semester and must accrue at least 7-8 credits in ensembles for the degree.

Required Music Therapy Courses

29 credit hours required; MU 243 and MU 352 fulfill 3 credit hours of Music Core Electives. Choose MU 011 of MU 029, based on primary applied instrument.

MU 011 Piano Class I
Campus | 1 Credit
Show Course Description
Campus 1 Credit
MU 329 Secondary Voice
Campus | Credits
Show Course Description
Campus Credits
MU 242 Clinical Musicianship
Campus | 1 Credit
Show Course Description

Provide applied practice of clinical music therapy interventions and methods for use in medical, long-term care, educational and rehabilitation settings. Focus on the functional skills needed on: guitar, voice and piano, as well as non- symphonic instruments. Spring, every year. Course fee. Prerequisites: MU 282 and MU 342.

Campus 1 Credit
MU 243 Conducting I
Campus | 2 Credits
Show Course Description

Introduction to basic conducting patterns and techniques with practical experience in choral/vocal and instrumental music. Prerequisite: MU 115 or consent of instructor.

Campus 2 Credits
MU 282 Music as Therapy
Campus & Online | 3 Credits
Show Course Description

An introduction to the history of music therapy and to the application of music in the therapeutic treatment of a variety of populations. Fall, every year. Course fee.

Campus & Online 3 Credits
MU 283 Therapeutic Processes in Music Therapy
Campus & Online | 2-3 Credits
Show Course Description

Designed to help students understand the process of music therapy from referral to termination. Special emphasis given to assessment and evaluation. Also investigates the dynamics and processes of music therapy groups. Spring, every year. Course fee. Prerequisite: MU 282 and consent of instructor.

Campus & Online 2-3 Credits
MU 342 Guitar Techniques
Campus | 1 Credit
Show Course Description

Develop functional guitar and vocal skills, stylistic and genre-specific techniques and understanding of terminology essential for use in music therapy clinical and educational settings. This course is primarily applied and performance- based in nature. Fall, every year. Prerequisite: Music therapy major or consent of instructor.

Campus 1 Credit
MU 344 Clinical Improvisation
Campus & Online | 2 Credits
Show Course Description

Development of therapeutic skills on voice, percussion, piano and guitar used in clinical improvisation. Normally reserved for upper-level music therapy students. A lab is required as part of this course. Fall, alternate years. Course fee. Prerequisite MU 283 and consent of instructor.

Campus & Online 2 Credits
MU 352 Percussion Techniques
Campus | 1 Credit
Show Course Description

Developing a fundamental understanding of terminology and cultural uses, as well as basic skill and technique with multicultural percussion (e.g. African hand drumming, Latin-based instruments, etc). Fundamental skill and performance on Western traditional percussion instruments (e.g. trap set, marimba, etc) will also be included. Prerequisite: Music major or consent of instructor.

Campus 1 Credit
MU 383 Music Therapy Clinical Skills I
Campus & Online | 3 Credits
Show Course Description

Music therapy methods and treatment goals/objectives for children and adults with varied developmental and intellectual disabilities in group homes, schools, day programs and other residential settings. Also includes the development of assessment, evidence-based treatment planning and music therapy clinical skills for the purpose of effective treatment. Fall, every year. Course fee. Prerequisite: MU 282.

Campus & Online 3 Credits
MU 384 Music Therapy Clinical Skills II
Campus & Online | 3 Credits
Show Course Description

Music therapy methods and treatment goals/objectives for individuals in long-term care, medical, rehabilitation, mental health, hospice and residential settings. The development of assessment, evidence-based treatment planning and music therapy clinical skills for the purpose of effective treatment. Spring, every year. Course fee. Prerequisite :MU 282.

Campus & Online 3 Credits
MU 386 Music Therapy Seminar I
Campus | 0.5 Credits
Show Course Description

This required course provides necessary preliminary music therapy internship preparation, as well as addresses professional role and ethical issues in music therapy. Spring, every year. Course fee. Prerequisite: MU 257 or consent of instructor.

Campus 0.5 Credits
MU 484 Music Psychology
Campus & Online | 2 Credits
Show Course Description

An investigation of topics such as: the influence of music on human behavior; physiological responses to music; neuromusical research; hearing and music perception; human musicality. Includes individual projects. Normally reserved for juniors and seniors. Requires instructor’s consent. Spring or Fall, every year. Course fee.

Campus & Online 2 Credits
MU 485 Research in Music Therapy
Campus & Online | 2 Credits
Show Course Description

The study of various types of music therapy research. Exploration of research types in the literature. Qualitative and quantitative methods are investigated. Includes development of an original research proposal. Normally reserved for juniors and seniors. Requires instructor’s consent. Spring or Fall, every year. Course fee.

Campus & Online 2 Credits
MU 486 Music Therapy Seminar II
Campus | 0.5 Credits
Show Course Description

This required course provides more in-depth internship preparation, as well as addresses supervision, administration, employment options and reimbursement issues in music therapy. Fall, every year. Course fee. Prerequisite: MU 386 or consent of instructor.

Campus 0.5 Credits
MU 490 Music Therapy Internship I
Campus & Online | 2-6 Credits
Show Course Description

Supervised internship for music therapy students who have successfully completed at least 180 hours in pre-internship clinical training. Student must have passed all music proficiency exams prior to enrolling in this course. Admission to the internship requires consent of the Director of Music Therapy and a “C-” or better in all music therapy courses. The internship placement is based on the student’s clinical and personal needs. The student must: 1) accrue at least 900 hours in internship training, 2) accrue a total of at least 1200 hours in pre-internship and internship hours, and 3) demonstrate entry-level knowledge and skill in all AMTA Professional Competencies. No text. As needed. Course fee.

Campus & Online 2-6 Credits
MU 491 Music Therapy Internship II
Campus | 1-6 Credit
Show Course Description

Supervised music therapy clinical experience. Elective course for music therapy students who have taken MU 490 but have not accrued either sufficient clock hours or competency in all skill areas. Requires consent of the Director of Music Therapy. No text. As needed. Course fee. Repeatable for credit.

Campus 1-6 Credit
MU 157: Music Therapy Practicum I
Campus | 0.5-1 Credits
Show Course Description

First pre-internship clinical experience for music therapy majors. This course will provide students with opportunities to learn various skills in music therapy through observation of music therapy sessions at a clinical site. Students will work under the supervision of an MT-BC at each clinical site and will experience the therapeutic process through observation. Meets the American Music Therapy Association requirements for obtaining pre-internship clinical hours. Primarily develops observational skills. Students will receive small group supervision with faculty MT-BC. Fall, Winter, every year. Course fee. Pre-requisite: instructor consent.

Campus 0.5-1 Credits
MU 256: Music Therapy Practicum IIa
Campus | 0.5-1 Credits
Show Course Description

Level 2a pre-internship first clinical experience for music therapy majors. This course will provide students with opportunities to learn various applied skills in music therapy through co-leading and/or leading group music therapy sessions at a designated clinical site (typically older adults or children in school setting). Students will work under the supervision of an MT-BC and will experience the therapeutic process from observation and assessment through developed treatment plan and preliminary data collection. Meets the American Music Therapy Association requirements for obtaining pre-internship clinical hours. Students will receive weekly group supervision with faculty MT-BC. Fall, Winter, every year. Course fee. Pre-req: MU 157 and/or instructor consent

Campus 0.5-1 Credits
MU 257: Music Therapy Practicum IIb
Campus | 0.5-1 Credits
Show Course Description

Level 2b pre-internship clinical experience for music therapy majors. This course will provide students with opportunities to learn various applied skills in music therapy through co-leading and/or leading group music therapy sessions at a designated clinical site (typically children/adults with developmental disabilties or older adults). Students will work under the supervision of an MT-BC and will experience the therapeutic process from observation and assessment to developed treatment plan and data collection. Meets the American Music Therapy Association requirements for obtaining pre-internship clinical hours. Students will receive weekly small group supervision with faculty MT-BC. Fall, Winter, every year. Course fee. Pre-req: MU 157 and/or instructor consent

Campus 0.5-1 Credits
MU 356: Music Therapy Practicum IIIa
Campus | 0.5-1 Credits
Show Course Description

Level 3a pre-internship clinical experience for music therapy majors. This course will provide students with opportunities to learn various skills in music therapy through co-leading, and/or leading group or 1:1 music therapy sessions at a clinical site. Students will work under the supervision of an MT-BC and will experience the therapeutic process from assessment through final evaluation of treatment. Meets the American Music Therapy Association requirements for obtaining pre-internship clinical hours. Students will receive 2:1 supervision with faculty MT-BC. Fall, Winter, every year. Course fee. Pre-req: MU 157 and/or instructor consent

Campus 0.5-1 Credits
MU 357: Music Therapy Practicum IIIb
Campus | 0.5-1 Credits
Show Course Description

Level 3b pre-internship clinical experience for music therapy majors. This course will provide students with opportunities to learn various skills in music therapy through co-leading, and/or leading group or 1:1 music therapy sessions at a clinical site (typically 1:1). Students will work under the supervision of an MT-BC and will experience the therapeutic process from assessment through final evaluation of treatment. Students will receive 2:1 supervision with faculty MT-BC. Meets the American Music Therapy Association requirements for obtaining pre-internship clinical hours. Fall, Winter, every year. Course fee. Pre-req: MU 157 and/or instructor consent.

Campus 0.5-1 Credits
MU 456: Music Therapy Practicum IVa
Campus | 0.5-1 Credits
Show Course Description

Level 4a pre-internship clinical experience for music therapy majors. This course will provide students with opportunities to learn various skills in music therapy through observation, co-leading, and/or leading group or 1:1 music Level 4a pre-internship clinical experience for music therapy majors. This course will provide students with opportunities to learn various skills in music therapy through observation, co-leading, and/or leading group or 1:1 music therapy sessions at a clinical site (typically medical or psychiatric setting). Students will work under the supervision of an MT-BC and will experience the therapeutic process from observation through final evaluation of treatment. Students will receive 1:1 supervision with faculty MT-BC. Meets the American Music Therapy Association requirements for obtaining pre-internship clinical hours. Fall, Winter, every year. Course fee. Pre-req: MU 157 and/or instructor consent.

Campus 0.5-1 Credits
MU 457: Music Therapy Practicum IVb
Campus | 0.5-1 Credits
Show Course Description

Level 4b pre-internship clinical experience for music therapy majors. This course will provide students with opportunities to learn various skills in music therapy through co-leading, and/or leading 1:1 or group music therapy sessions at a clinical site (typically similar setting as a pending internship placement). Students will work under the supervision of an MT-BC and will experience the therapeutic process from observation through final evaluation of treatment. Students will receive 1:1 supervision with faculty MT-BC. Meets the American Music Therapy Association requirements for obtaining pre-internship clinical hours. Fall, Winter, every year. Course fee. Pre-req: MU 157 and/or instructor consent.

Campus 0.5-1 Credits

Other Required Courses

10 credit hours required; MA 253, PS 111, and BI 230 fulfill some Woods Core Requirements but others must still be met.

BI 230 Basic Anatomy and Physiology
Campus & Online | 3 Credits
Show Course Description

Examines the form and functional relationships of all the major organ systems of the human body. Designed for music therapy majors and fulfills the general studies science requirement for them. Course is available to others, but does not meet their general studies science requirement. Two one-hour lectures and one two-hour lab per week. Course fee. Prerequisite: Appropriate score on mathematics placement exam or completion of MA 101.

Campus & Online 3 Credits
MA 253 Statistics
Campus & Online | 3 Credits
Show Course Description

Elementary introduction to statistical reasoning, including sampling, organization and presentation of data, elementary probability, statistical inference and data analysis. In particular, topics covered include: the nature of probability and statistics; organization and presentation of data; measures of central tendency, variation and position; probability; binomial, normal and t distributions; estimation and confidence intervals; hypothesis testing; z and t tests, correlation and regression, and chi-square tests; applications to the natural and social sciences, business, education, and government. Use of appropriate computer software and technology resources. Fulfills Woods Core requirement. Prerequisite: MA 105 or placement.

Campus & Online 3 Credits
PE 119 Folk, Square and Social Dance
Campus | 1 Credit
Show Course Description

Students learn a variety of international dances and the cultural background of each dance in folk and square dance. Social dance includes learning the waltz, fox trot, jitterbug, rumba and cha cha. As needed.

Campus 1 Credit
PS 111 General Psychology
Campus | 3 Credits
Show Course Description

An overview of contemporary psychology introducing students to: human development, cognition and language, learning, memory, sensation, perception, motivation, emotion, biological basis of behavior, social psychology, personality, psychopathology and psychotherapy. The focus of the course is on both the scientific method of acquiring psychological data, as well as the theories which interpret that data and help guide further research in the field. For majors and non-majors, this course also serves as the prerequisite for most psychology classes.

Campus 3 Credits
PS 260 Developmental Psychology
Campus & Online | 3 Credits
Show Course Description

Studies human physical, cognitive, personality, emotional, social and moral development and change from conception to death. Prerequisite: PS 111.

Campus & Online 3 Credits
PS 285 Techniques of Counseling
Campus & Online | 3 Credits
Show Course Description

Theoretical and practical knowledge needed to make use of basic counseling skills. Emphasis on process in utilizing these skills. Activities include role playing and video presentations.

Campus & Online 3 Credits
PS 360 Abnormal Psychology
Campus & Online | 3 Credits
Show Course Description

Studies the dynamics of abnormal behavior including etiology, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of emotional disorders, psychoses, substance abuse and childhood disorders. Prerequisite: PS 111.

Campus & Online 3 Credits

Information about Course Requirements
We do our best to keep this information updated, but you should always double-check to ensure you are meeting graduation requirements. For the most current course requirements please review the latest undergraduate college catalog.  Always consult your academic advisor when registering for courses or when you have questions about course requirements.

Proficiency Examinations

Music therapy majors must demonstrate music skills as outlined in the American Music Therapy Association Professional Competencies. In addition, music therapy majors must pass the Piano Proficiency Examination, the Guitar/Voice Competency Examination, and Professional Characteristics and Dispositions Assessment before beginning internships. Students are responsible for scheduling the Guitar/Voice Competency Examination with the music therapy faculty. This examination will take place in February prior to applying for internships (for traditional students this would be February of the junior year). The examination can be taken no more than three times. Additional details regarding proficiency and competency examinations are located in the Music Area Handbook.

Career Paths

What Does a Music Therapist Do?

According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapists assess a person’s “emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills through musical responses”. In addition, music therapists design music sessions based on client needs. Applications and techniques may include:

  • Instrumental or vocal improvisation
  • Receptive music listening
  • Song writing
  • Song lyric discussion/analysis
  • Music and imagery
  • Music performance
  • Learning through music
  • Music and movement
  • Music and other expressive arts

Who Does a Music Therapist Help?

A music therapist can work with a wide range of population and in a myriad of facilities. Music therapy can be used with individuals with:

  • Developmental disabilities
  • Mental health needs
  • Substance abuse problems
  • Physical disabilities
  • Chronic or terminal illnesses
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Dementia
  • Autism

Music Therapy Jobs

A music therapist is trained to work in individual, small group, or large group settings at a myriad of facilities, including:

  • Medical Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Nursing Homes
  • Assisted-living Facilities
  • Psychiatric Facilities/units
  • Pediatric Units
  • Rehabilitation Units
  • Private Homes