What is Music Therapy?

Maybe you have heard the term and wondered what music and therapy might have to do with the other. Maybe you are looking to pursue this exciting major in college, but aren’t sure what it really entails. So, what is Music Therapy exactly? 

Music Therapy at DuquesneAccording to the Association of Music Therapy, music therapy is “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.”

Music therapy interventions can be designed to:

  • Promote Wellness
  • Manage Stress
  • Alleviate Pain
  • Express Feelings
  • Enhance Memory
  • Improve Communication
  • Promote Physical Rehabilitation

If you wanted to pursue this in college, Music therapy majors takes classes in four core areas: 1) liberal arts (math, english, science, theology, etc.), 2) musicianship (aural, oral, and written music theory; music history; lessons on primary instrument; choir, band or orchestra), 3) behavioral and physical sciences (psychology, anatomy and physiology, etc. ), 4) music therapy (music therapy and developmental health, physical health, mental health, internship preparation, guitar, piano, voice, etc. )

Wondering if you have what it takes to be a Music Therapy major? Here are some qualifications a student would need to enter a Music Therapy program:

  • Capacity for empathy
  • Capacity for professional behavior
  • Capacity to socially interact with other people, i.e., lead a group of people, make eye contact with others, observe and understand the dynamics of social interaction
  • Some experience playing piano
  • Ability to sing in tune
  • Ability to play rhythms in time
  • Passionate about music and being a musician
  • Passionate about working with people and caring about them
  • Willingness to learn to sing, play piano, and play guitar

Let’s then say you graduate with a Music Therapy degree. Wondering what jobs you could pursue? Let’s take a look.

Board certified music therapists can apply for music therapy positions; theseMusic Therapy at Duquesne can be found across the country. If a student is interested in living in a specific location, they might open a private practice, contract sessions with local nursing homes or special eduction settings. MT’s can also apply for entry level positions in health care, e.g., milieu therapist in an in-patient behavioral health setting

If you are interested in pursuing this exciting major, you should absolutely check out Duquesne University’s music therapy program. This program provides students an opportunity to learn about all of the major approaches to music therapy and to attend practicum with board certified music therapists in the community. The faculty support students to discover their areas of interest within the field and to develop a personal therapeutic style. Interested in hearing more? Learn more about The Duquesne University Mary Pappert School of Music and how to apply on Acceptd here.


About Sheena Nyros

Sheena Nyros is a social contributor for Acceptd where she enjoys advocating for artists. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Popular Culture and Entertainment Communication from The Ohio State University and a Master of Arts in Computer-Mediated-Communication from Michigan State University.