TWU Music Therapy Frequently Asked Questions

What is 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 (American Music Therapy Association, 2011).

Where can I find out more about the practice of music therapy?

The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) provides a wealth of information about music therapy, both as a profession and as a career.

What are the necessary qualifications for an entering student who wants to become a music therapist?

Music therapy is classified as a music major. Therefore, entering students audition on a primary instrument/voice and be accepted to the music department. All MT majors study a principal instrument or voice and must meet specific level requirements on that instrument prior to completing the final semester of MT practicum and going on to MT internship. In addition, they must be able to demonstrate functional musical skills in voice, keyboard, guitar, and percussion.

What is music therapy internship?

An MT internship is a 6-month, full time, experience in which the student who has completed all other coursework works under the direct supervision of a qualified music therapist. Students may apply for internship at AMTA-approved internship sites in TWU-approved states no sooner than a year before the anticipated start date of their internships.

How do I become a board certified music therapist?

Once you have completed the undergraduate program (or its equivalency), including the internship, you are eligible to take the board-certification exam in MT. You will apply to the Certification Board for Music Therapist (CBMT), pay the required fee, and schedule the computer-based exam. You will leave the exam with the results of your test. For more information, visit www.cbmt.org.

I already have an undergraduate degree in music, and I want to become a music therapist. What are my options?

At TWU you may either complete an equivalency program (second bachelor’s degree) in music therapy OR you may complete the master’s/equivalency program. Admission into the graduate program requires an undergraduate program GPA of 3.0 and a TOEFL score of 79 IBT, 213 CBT, or 550 paper (for international students whose primary language is not English). Master’s equivalency students complete all the undergraduate coursework they have not taken already (about 50 semester hours) while concurrently completing the master’s degree (36 semester hours). This sequence generally takes 5 long semesters (and sometimes intervening summers) followed by a 6-month internship. The internship is then followed by a graduate practicum, which may be taken by the student who is already working as a board-certified music therapist. It is not necessary to live in Denton to complete the graduate practicum. Students who complete the equivalency-only program (second bachelor’s degree) must complete the undergraduate coursework they have not already taken to become a music therapist, along with the 6-month internship.

I have an undergraduate degree, but it is not in music. Can I become a music therapist?

Yes, but you will need to complete a second bachelor’s degree program that includes the coursework you have not already taken at the undergraduate level in music, music therapy, and related courses. If your undergraduate degree was not granted by a TX college or university, you may also need to take 2 semesters of American History, 2 semesters of American/TX Government, and 2 courses in global perspectives. A thorough review of your transcript will determine the exact courses you will need to take. You will not be subject to the core curriculum, per se, although several courses in the undergraduate core are specifically required for MT—Elementary Statistics, Introduction to Psychology, Music in World Cultures, and Human Biology (Human Anatomy may be substituted).

What is the dual master’s degree in music therapy and counseling?

TWU is one of a few universities that offer a dual master’s program in counseling and music therapy. It is a 64-semester hour program that, when completed, makes the graduate eligible to take the Licensed Professional Counselor Exam and become a professional counselor. Following graduation, those who pass the licensing exam must complete 3000 hours of supervised practice in counseling before become fully licensed in the State of Texas as an LPC. Those who graduate with this dual degree will also be eligible to become board certified as music therapists as soon as they have completed the undergraduate equivalency work (if they are not already MT-BCs) even prior to graduation with the dual degree. A student that is not eligible to take the board certification exam in music therapy may not graduate from the dual degree program.

What is the difference between board certification and a license to practice music therapy?

Board certification indicates that an individual has met the criteria for competent practice in music therapy and has passed the required examination. It is valid in all 50 states and is recognized in several foreign countries as THE credential for the qualified music therapist. A license is issued by each individual state and is only valid in that state. Presently, only a few states have licenses in MT.

What is the job market like for music therapists?

The practice of music therapy is very flexible in that the competent music therapist may work with several different client populations, in many different settings, and with a variety of age groups all in the same week. Music therapists in Texas work both in private practice and in full or part-time employment situations. The AMTA publishes a statistical profile of music therapists each year. This profile describes salaries of music therapists in various facility settings, salaries for MTs working with a variety of client populations, and MT salaries broken down by state and region of the country.

I am interested in the music therapy program, who can I contact to learn more?

For more information about TWU music therapy program, contact Michael Zanders, PhD, MT-BC.