Frequently Asked Questions:
What music therapy majors do you offer?
(The following links are to the MSU Undergraduate Catalog course listings.)
- Music Therapy Major (Guitar Primary) (B.A.)
- Music Therapy Major (Keyboard Primary) (B.A.)
- Music Therapy Major (Strings, Bass, Woodwind, and Percussion Primary) (B.A.)
- Music Therapy Major (Voice Primary) (B.A.)
- What is Music Therapy? Music Therapy is the use of music and musical activities in conjunction with interpersonal skills to accomplish therapeutic goals: to restore, improve, or maintain mental and physical health. Through carefully planned musical experiences, the client is provided with opportunities to develop potential growth. One might also describe a music therapist as one who uses music as a tool in doing therapy. Music therapists may work with any age group and a variety of disabling conditions. As a member of a therapeutic team or private practitioner, the music therapist participates in the analysis of individual problems and the establishment of treatment goals before planning and carrying out music-related treatment.
What does one study in Music Therapy?Keyboard
The training of a music therapist is a unique combination of music, psychology, and music therapy, including music therapy clinical work. The undergraduate Music Therapy program at Montclair State University, approved by the American Music American Therapy Association (AMTA), normally takes 4 1/2 years to complete.
In addition to regular course work, a 6-month full-time supervised internship is required. Students may intern at any of the over 150 approved internship facilities across the United States. While some MSU students intern in this immediate area, many take advantage of the opportunity to work in another part of the country. The intensive spirit of the internship provides the student with the day-to-day supervision necessary to refine one's clinical skills and end one's academic training. Some internships provide a stipend and/or room and board.
The graduate of the undergraduate Music Therapy program receives a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Therapy and is eligible to apply to take the examination to become a Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) through the Certification Board for Music Therapists.
Sample Course Sequences and internships (subject to change)
Music Therapy Internships
- Where do music therapists work?
The music therapist may work in a wide variety of clinical and educational settings: hospitals, clinics, psychiatric institutions, nursing homes, community mental health centers, prisons, and private schools. As the profession continues to grow, there is an increasing demand for music therapists with clinical experience and advanced degrees to serve as administrators or university teachers in music therapy. MSU receives many requests for assistance in finding music therapists to fill positions, and these are shared with those seeking jobs. Professional job listings are published bimonthly by the American Music American Therapy Association (AMTA), 8455 Colesville Road, Suite 1000, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910.
- What is the professional designation for music therapists ?
Currently, the only professional designation available for music therapists is the Board Certification. This designation is achieved by being eligible for the examination through completion of accredited coursework and internship and then taking a written examination through the Certification Board for Music Therapy. Therapists practicing prior to 1998 were able to achieve professional designation through the RMT (Registered Music Therapist), awarded by the National Association of Music Therapy or the CMT, awarded by the American Music Therapy Association. Both the RMT and CMT remain active credentials for the practice of music therapy, as attested to by the American Music Therapy Association.
- Why is the music therapy program special?
The Music Therapy training program at Montclair State University is one of the oldest (1969) and foremost training programs in this country. It features closely supervised clinical work each semester, which takes place at both highly reputable local facilities as well as schools, nursing homes and hospitals in New York City. In addition, the program offers a Music Therapy Training Group, Introduction to Guided Imagery and Music, an on-campus music therapy clinic, and specialized courses in piano accompaniment and clinical improvisation. Guest clinicians from the U.S. and other countries frequently make presentations and give workshops. In the past, the following guest clinicians offered workshops and lectures to our students: Clive Robbins, Clare O'Callaghan (Australia), and Elaine Streeter (Great Britain).
The MSU Music Therapy program is the only program in the state of New Jersey for educating music therapists and the only competitively priced undergraduate and graduate program in the tri-state metropolitan New York City area. All students who have completed this program have found positions.
Another unique feature is the David Ott Laboratory for Music and Health. The Ott Lab's resources for reseach and practice in the psychology of music include: interactive sensors for physiological feedback during both active and receptive music experiences; computer hardware for recording and display of data; iPod for music storage and retrieval; Somatron for vibro-acoustic experiences; and a variety of musical instruments for active music making. Students gain a practical understanding of these resources, and practice in collection and presentation of physiological data to inform clinical intervention and music therapy research.
The Laboratory's mission supports the development of research skills for students, interns, graduates, practicing clinicians and collegial academic institutions. Students conduct research oriented toward physiological outcomes of music and music therapy interventions and publish results in a variety of scientific journals. Their practical experience is applicable to their work as practicing music therapists. (For more information, contact Ott Lab Coordinator Dr. Eric Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Are scholarships and other financial aid available?
Several scholarships and fellowships for music therapy majors are provided through the David Ott Music Therapy Fund, established by Tom and Lucy Ott in memory of their son, David. Two David Ott Scholarships of $500 each are awarded each year to undergraduate and/or postbaccalaureate music therapy students, one to an upper level student and one to an intern. The David Ott Fellowship is awarded to an incoming matriculated graduate music therapy student and provides a total of $4000, with $1000 awarded each semester for four semesters. The Cali School of Music provides scholarships on a competitive basis to music majors who apply and meet additional requirements. Many of these scholarships are awarded to students who are already enrolled as they continue their studies.
Prospective students are advised to keep in mind that MSU's tuition is quite reasonable compared to many other schools, leading to less need for large scholarship assistance than at more expensive schools. Additional information on financial aid is available from the MSU Financial Aid Office at www.montclair.edu/financialaid or 973-655-4461.
- Where can I find additional information?
For those unfamiliar with music therapy, it is a good idea to begin some music therapy reading or arrange for observation of a music therapy session. Suggested introductory readings are provided below. You may contact the Music Therapy coordinator (see below) for a list of music therapists working in New Jersey.
Music Therapy Days - The Cali School of Music and College of the Arts offer informational programs several times a year for prospective students. Learn about music therapy as a field and career choice, and about MSU’s program. Highlights will include opportunities for networking; options for class visits; and open discussion with the music therapy faculty. Visitors may come for all or part of the day. See Arts Days Events for dates and schedules.
If you have additional questions, please contact:
Prof. Brian Abrams
Tel: (973) 655-3458
- Introductory Readings - Books
Bruscia, K. (Ed). (1991). Case Studies in Music Therapy.
Gilsum, NH: Barcelona.
Davis, W. B., Gfeller, K., Thaut, M. (1997). An Introduction to Music Therapy: Theory and Practice. 2nd Edition. Boston: McGraw Hill.
Goodman, K. D. (1981). Music therapy. In S. Arieti (Ed.), American Handbook of Psychiatry, Vol. VII: Advances and New Directions. New York: Basic Books
- Journals and Web Resources
The Arts in Psychotherapy
AMTA - American Music Therapy Association
CBMT - Certification Board for Music Therapy
Music Therapy World