Utah State University music therapy students gain a working knowledge of music therapy theory and application, treatment protocol, and acquire the necessary skills to design therapeutic music interventions/experiences for a variety of clientele. In addition to core music coursework, students study human development, anatomy, psychology, statistics, current research trends, and techniques in the therapeutic use of music. All students are required to complete 180 pre-internship clinical hours, providing music therapy experiences for exceptional individuals, older adults, and psychiatric populations. Through the diverse intervention techniques of promoting wellness, managing stress, alleviating pain, expressing feelings, enhancing memory, improving communication, and promoting physical rehabilitation, students are able to positively impact the lives of others through this unique art and science.
Successful music therapy program applicants have all of the following, or a combination of most of the following.
- Advanced experience and/or instruction on one instruments (voice, or other)
- Basic proficiencies on piano and guitar
- Pleasing singing voice
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Effective oral and written communication skills
- Experience working with people with disabilities
- Ability to identify personal strengths and weaknesses
- Dependable and trustworthy
- Emotional stability
- Strong work ethic
- Ability to self-enquire
Coursework focuses on establishing a solid understanding of the history and theoretical framework of the music therapy profession (MUSC 1310) and provides opportunities to observe others providing music therapy services in the community. MUSC 1320 introduces practical experience in music therapy group facilitation techniques.
Coursework (MUSC 2310 & 2320) focuses on the music therapy treatment protocol and prepares students for pre-internship clinical field work (practica) work during the junior and senior years.
Coursework (MUSC 3310, 3320) focuses on deepening the student’s knowledge-base of the psychological and physiological effects of music as well as the characteristics and needs of children served in therapy who would benefit from music therapy services. Juniors also begin pre-internship clinical field work (MUSC 3331, 3332), facilitating music therapy sessions in the community to gain experience and professional skills in developing and implementing music therapy techniques and strategies while supervised by a board-certified music therapist.
Coursework focuses on working with adult clinical populations, undergraduate research, and preparing students for professional practice (MUSC 4310, 4320, 4330). Seniors continue the accrual of pre-internship clinical hours (MUSC 3333, 3334) and begin the process of applying for the required 6-month/1020 hours residential internship in music therapy. After successfully completing the internship, students are awarded their degree and are eligible to sit for the national board certification examination, administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists, to earn the MT-BC (Music Therapist-Board Certified) credential.
In addition to applying for admission to the University, all applicants interested in pursuing a music degree must successfully pass the respective program audition prior to their first semester enrolling in music courses. Auditions serve admission and placement purposes, and are also for talent scholarship consideration.
Applicants interested in admission to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Music Therapy degree program are required to pass a three-part audition process before beginning coursework.
- Auditionee singing a song and accompanying themselves on guitar or piano.
- A 1-2 minute response to the questions “What is music therapy?” and “What makes this career well suited for me?”
- A sung popular/contemporary song*, accompanied on piano
- A sung folk or children’s song*, accompanied on guitar
Music Therapy applicants living out of state or out of the U.S. may audition remotely. Contact Dr. Hearns to make arrangements for this. Applicants residing in the state of Utah should plan to audition in-person.
USU Music Therapy Students and Graduates...
- Provide 360 hours of clinical music therapy services for approximately 200 residents of Cache Valley in over 20 facilities throughout the community each year
- Benefit from an active student association, the Utah State Music Therapy Student Association
- Receive national, university, and departmental recognition through scholarships, awards, and recognitions for their academic and scholarly achievements. These awards have included:
- E. Thayer Gaston Writing Competition (sponsored by the American Music Therapy Student Advisory Board)
- Western Region, American Music Therapy Association Internship Scholarships and Songwriting Competitions
- USU Music Department Outstanding Graduating Seniors
- Present an annual fall concert, Muses, highlighting the musical strengths of our majors while providing an informative insight selective clinical populations served and goals addressed by music therapists
- Receive 100% supervision during their undergraduate practice experience
- Successfully compete for prestigious national internship sites
- Maintain a high record of achievement on the national board certification exam
- Are successful in securing professional employment and/or establishing private practices throughout the United States
- Are guaranteed the support of a vibrant and active state association, the Utah Association of Music Therapists
USU Music Therapy Faculty...
- Are recognized for many years of service provided to state, regional, and national organizations, including the Utah Association of Music Therapists, Western Region of the American Music Therapy Association, and the Certification Board for Music Therapists
- Are strong advocates in ensuring legislation for state certification and professional recognition of music therapists
- Engage in ongoing research and professional collaborative projects
- Maintain an active practice of providing professional music therapy services