Music Therapy Courses, Classes and Training Program Overviews

Essential Information

Music therapy courses are available at colleges and universities as part of bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree programs in music therapy. In rare instances, music therapy can be learned online through general music degree programs.

Students preparing for music therapy careers learn how to provide tailored treatment to emotionally ill or disabled individuals. They learn the basics of incorporating instruments, voice and movement into a therapeutic treatment program. Some degree programs offer areas of emphasis, such as special education, guitar, psychology and piano. As part of the core curriculum, students participate in fieldwork assignments, which may consist of a practicum or postgraduate internship.

Here are some major topics covered in music therapy courses:

  • Basics of music theory
  • Music therapy principles
  • Psychology
  • Communications
  • Special needs care techniques

List of Classes

Music Therapy Principles and Purposes

Music therapy is the use of music to restore, enhance or repair physical or emotional functions to disabled individuals. This introductory bachelor's level music therapy course provides an overview of the techniques used in this field. Students are taught the history of music therapy as well as how it works and where it began. Through this music therapy class, students begin to see the ties between music and different therapeutic treatments.

Physical Disabilities

This beginning music therapy class allows students to observe certified music therapists working with individuals who have physical disabilities that include speech, hearing and visual handicaps. Students participate by using their instrumental skills and applying the concepts covered during the in-class portion of course. They analyze how procedures work, when to use different techniques and the results they observe over the period of the semester.

Mental Retardation and Exceptionalities

Undergraduate and graduate students complete clinical sessions in music therapy, which build on their observations of certified professionals by giving them the chance to practice their own abilities. This clinical music therapy course provides the opportunity to work with individuals suffering from minor to severe mental disabilities and to gain hands-on practice using the music therapy techniques discussed in class. Students grow their music therapy skills and begin to see the way exceptional populations react to music and how it improves their abilities overall.


This music therapy course is offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels during the last two years of an undergraduate program or the last two semesters of the graduate program. Students explore music therapy in literature, science and medicine. They also learn about advances and updates in the field. Advanced music therapy classes in research require the completion of an original research proposal.

Field Study

In the last semesters of the music therapy program, students complete a field study, which allows them to schedule meetings with clients and gain practical experience. Students practice the techniques learned in their music therapy classes. They work with clients and analyze the results of interacting with them. Typically, the experience is arranged through the music therapy department.

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