Immaculata’s M.A. in Music Therapy offers extensive training in musical and clinical knowledge and skills to help you establish or advance your career in music therapy. Your courses, offered during evenings and weekends, will focus on clinical improvisation, music and imagery, songs in psychotherapy, music biofeedback research, client assessment, ethics, human development and psychopathology.
The program fulfills the academic requirements for you to become a board-certified music therapist and a Pennsylvania licensed professional counselor.
What is music therapy?
Music therapy helps clients to develop skills, adapt behavior, and overcome obstacles in their lives. Music therapists use different kinds of musical experiences, such as singing, improvising, writing songs, and listening to and talking about music, to meet clients’ needs using the unique relationship between the client, the music and the therapist.
- Small classes taught by faculty mentors with extensive clinical experience and published works
- A range of research opportunities, including lab experience collecting physiological and electroencephalographic data about clients’ responses to music
- Individual lessons in piano, voice, and guitar to help you develop clinical music skills in various styles—rock, folk, oldies, kids’ songs, etc.
- A variety of enrichment opportunities, including the Jamaica Field Service Project, a two-week service-learning trip to provide music therapy in schools and medical centers
- Complete an optional 15-credit graduate certificate in addiction studies
- Opportunities for grant writing and advocacy experience
Music therapists work in a wide variety of clinical and educational settings: hospitals, psychiatric institutions, nursing homes, community mental health centers, prisons, schools, private practice, and hospice facilities.
Music therapists with clinical experience and advanced degrees are increasingly in demand, particularly in psychiatric settings and hospitals. Immaculata receives many requests for assistance in finding music therapists to fill positions, and these are shared with students in the program. Professional job listings are also published by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Mid-Atlantic Region of the American Music Therapy Association (MAR-AMTA).
Full-time and part-time internships are offered in a wide variety of clinical settings, under close supervision. Students must complete a minimum of 1,000 hours for their internship. Watch IU graduate Catherine Parker conducting Melmark’s Joybells choir performing with the Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia during her internship.
Students who enter our music therapy program are looking to combine their love of music with a desire to help others. You need to be well-rounded musically in order to reach others through singing and playing, improvising and moving to music. You also need the motivation, maturity and creativity to work with people who have a range of needs. This means adapting to different people, being open to feedback, and having the emotional fortitude to “be there” for someone.
Applying to the program
After applying to the College of Graduate Studies (CGS), you must arrange an audition and interview by emailing Corey Olver, MT-BC, MAMT at email@example.com. In order to be admitted into the Music Therapy program, you must be admitted into CGS and pass the graduate audition and interview.
- Play two contrasting pieces on your major instrument. This would be classical music or jazz or Broadway, according to your specialization.
- Play two contrasting pieces on guitar in which you sing and accompany yourself. Styles may be popular, musicals, jazz, Broadway, R&B, gospel, or any secular style of song.
- Play two contrasting pieces on piano in which you sing and accompany yourself. Styles may be the same as above.
- Play two children’s pieces, one which you play and sing on piano, and one on guitar.
We also give you an opportunity to ask us questions about the program. Auditions last for one hour.
Please note that many students enter the music therapy program as strong musicians but may not be skilled guitarists or pianists. We understand this and do not expect all applicants to be strong in all these areas in order to be admitted into the program. This component of the audition allows us to evaluate the number of music skills courses required to meet the music competencies set forth by AMTA.
Auditions are held in Villa Maria room 208 (VM208), the main campus building.
This option provides comprehensive education and training for students who have completed an undergraduate degree in a related field (e.g. music, music education, psychology, etc.) and wish to become Board-Certified Music Therapists (MT-BC). You can qualify for the board certification exam after 18 months in the program and finish your master’s degree in three years.
- Learn how music therapy applies to diverse clinical populations, including children and adults with special needs, medical conditions, or psychiatric problems, and people in hospice or palliative care.
- Develop your clinical musicianship, learning how to use guitar, piano, voice and your major instrument (e.g. clarinet) in different clinical settings.
- Observe, assist, and lead music therapy sessions with different client groups, under the supervision of a board-certified music therapist.
- Receive help preparing for the board certification (CBMT) exam.
This option is for music therapists who already have the MT-BC credential and wish to develop advanced clinical skills, with a special emphasis on music-centered psychotherapy. You can complete this program in two years.
- Learn advanced music therapy methods and techniques in improvisation, music and imagery, and song use.
- Develop a comprehensive knowledge of client assessment.
- Receive advanced clinical supervision.