Our Graduate Program Prepares You To Practice Music Therapy With Skill and Compassion.
The two-year, 39-credit Professional Studies Program for Music Therapy Certification Eligibility provides comprehensive graduate-level education and training for students who have completed an undergraduate degree in music or a related field (e.g. music education, psychology, etc.) and wish to become Board Certified Music Therapists (MT-BC).
Combining theory, research and practical experience, the program develops your ability to work with a wide variety of clients, integrating your knowledge of assessment, treatment and evaluation in ways that are compassionate and culturally sensitive.
The music therapy program at Shenandoah University is one of only two programs in the state of Virginia, and our 42-year program has become a hub for music therapy activity in the community. Our community partnerships offer numerous opportunities for you to gain hands-on experience beyond the classroom, and to enhance your employment possibilities after graduation.
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Learn More About This Program
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, songwriting, and listening to and talking about music, to meet clients’ needs using the unique relationship between client, music and therapist. Music therapists are creative, compassionate, thoughtful people.
Music therapy is goal directed, and music therapists learn skills in the assessment-treatment-evaluation process that allows them to work effectively with clients. Depending on the setting, you work as part of a clinical team, alongside colleagues such as doctors, nurses, teachers, and physical therapists.
Music therapists work in a wide variety of setting that includes schools, hospitals, mental health facilities, nursing homes and hospice. Some settings, like nursing homes, tend to emphasis group work, whereas other settings, like hospitals and hospice, tend to emphasize individual work.
Click here to download an introductory reading list.
Students complete a 6-month full-time clinical placement in which they work directly and intensively with clients, under the supervision of a music therapist. Through mentorship, students are guided into a setting of interest (e.g. hospital) and supported by faculty through the application process, remaining in contact with faculty throughout internship.
Students have the opportunity to participate in international music therapy cultural programs arranged through the Shenandoah Conservatory and approved programs outside of the Conservatory such as the Jamaica Field Service Project.
Career and Salary Possibilities
Students who complete this program, and pass the board certification exam, work as clinical music therapists in a range of settings, including schools, hospitals, mental health facilities, hospice and private practice.
The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) provides annual salary data for music therapists, updated each year and available online for review. In their 2015 analysis, the average salary for professionals with a Bachelor’s degree was $46,740.00. Music therapists with a Master’s degree earned, on average, $55,019.00. The average music therapy salary in Virginia was $52,263.00.
Working in classes of 8-12 students, we combine theory and research with hands-on practical knowledge and skills. You work on assignments that develop your understanding of how to implement music therapy activities and experiences, and how to understand the complex needs of clients.
An interdisciplinary focus is included. Currently, 2nd year students participate in case reviews with graduate nursing students, focused on assessing and developing treatment plans for adults with mental health concerns. These kinds of collaborations build teamwork and increase student’s understanding of a music therapist’s role in interdisciplinary care.
Here are examples of courses you will take:
MUTH 524 Performing Therapy: An Experiential Orientation gives students an experiential understanding of music therapy by writing and performing original song and musical materials that speaks to important life experiences that shape who each student is. By meeting with and working with children and adults who have learning differences, students learn from and incorporate their understanding of therapy and difference into their developing understanding of music therapy clinical practice.
MUTH 531 Psychology of Music takes students through important theories and research related to music therapy clinical practice. Students explore the neurobiology and neuroscience of music, music as a cultural phenomenon, and integrate current research into their clinical thinking.
MUTH 536 Medical Music Therapy drawing on biopsychosocial theories, students learn a wide range of music therapy practices for children and adults in medical settings. This includes methods that focus on pain management, reducing stress and anxiety, and dealing directly with the psychological distress experienced alongside a medical diagnosis. Students also complete a placement in a medical setting that helps develop these skills.
MUTH 583 Music Therapy Internship Students complete a 6-month full- time clinical placement in which they work directly and intensively with clients, under the supervision of a music therapist. Through mentorship, students are guided into a setting of interest (e.g. hospital) and supported by faculty through the application process, remaining in contact with faculty throughout internship.
The Music Therapy Program has three fulltime faculty, four part time faculty, and number of guest speakers.
Dr. Tony Meadows MT-BC, LPC, FAMI, is Director Graduate Studies, advises all gradate students, and teaches the majority of the MMT program. He is a GIM Fellow, completing Analytical Music Therapy training, and has more than 20 years clinical experience. Dr Meadows has published extensively in the field.
Dr. Daniel Tague MT-BC is Director of Music Therapy, and teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate programs, specializing in work with children with special needs, and adult mental health. Dr. Tague is currently the Chair of the Clinical Practice Commission for the World Federation of Music Therapy. Dr. Tague also coordinates Global Experiential Learning trips for music therapy students, including the World Congress of Music Therapy in Austria in 2014 and Japan in 2017.
Dr. Hakeem Leonard MT-BC teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate programs, and has worked with a wide variety of clients. He has specific expertise in music therapy business practices, and multicultural awareness.
Director of Graduate Music Therapy Studies; Associate Professor, Music TherapyFull Biography
Director of Undergraduate Music Therapy Studies; Assistant Professor, Music TherapyFull Biography
Adjunct Instructor, Music TherapyFull Biography
Adjunct Instructor, Music TherapyFull Biography
Application and Audition Information
Admission to Shenandoah Conservatory graduate programs is competitive and the audition schedule fills quickly. Early application and audition registration is recommended.
Applicants must have a have completed an undergraduate degree in music or a related field (e.g. music education, psychology, etc.), with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). Students interested in applying to the program who do not have a music degree are encouraged to contact Dr Meadows at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss music core requirements. After applying, you must arrange an audition by emailing Dr. Meadows at email@example.com. In order to be admitted into the graduate music therapy program, you must be admitted into the Shenandoah Conservatory and pass the audition/interview.
The audition is one hour and divided into two parts. In the first part, you perform one piece on your primary instrument (that reflects your skills) and a total of four songs on piano and guitar (two each), in which you sing and play. Choose a range of styles that reflect your interests and skills, including children’s songs, pop, folk, show, jazz, blues and “oldies.”
In the second part of the audition, you will be asked a range of questions about your interest in music therapy, your background experiences, goals and general knowledge of the field. You will also be given the opportunity to ask questions about the program.
Please note that the piece you perform on your primary instrument should reflect your musical training. Typically, this means performing a piece from your undergraduate studies (and/or current training), from either the classical or jazz tradition. This piece does not need to be memorized, and for vocalists, an accompanist is not provided. Vocalists may bring an accompanist, a recording to provide accompaniment, or sing acapella.
Scheduling An Audition
Auditions can be arranged in one of two ways. For applicants who live close to campus, auditions are scheduled on campus during the week, or selective weekends in the spring semester. Typically, students will meet with Dr Meadows in Ruebush 216, in the main conservatory building. On-campus parking is free, and generally readily available.
Students living more than 150 miles from campus can elect a Skype interview. These are arranged directly with Dr Meadows, and can be scheduled most days of the week, pending availability.
Gainful Employment Information
|Job Title||Cohort Number of graduates||Number of Students Graduated On Time||On Time Graduation Rate|
|Length of Program||Credits||Credit Hour Average Tuition||Program Tuition|
|3 years||36||$500.00||Approximately $18,000.00 plus
professional core and music skills lessons*
*Students also need to complete up to an additional 15 professional core credits and take up to three semester of piano, guitar and voice lessons, depending on skill level.
|Books $45 per credit/Supplies||Program Median Loan Debt|
Qualities Of Good Music Therapists
Students who come into our graduate music therapy program are looking to combine their love of music with a desire to help others. They can be music therapists (MT-BC) seeking to advance their knowledge of theory, research and clinical practice or students with an undergraduate degree in music or a related field seeking to enter the field of music therapy. Both are typically interested in psychology and may also be interested in medicine and/or philosophy.
Being intellectually curious is very important. Having the desire to open yourself to new concepts, theories and ideas is essential in your development as a music therapist, as are your writing and critical thinking abilities.
Being a competent musician is also very important. Understanding how to reach others through singing and playing, improvising and moving to music means that you need to be well rounded musically. During your training you develop guitar, piano and vocal skills in a range of styles such as rock, folk, country, oldies, children’s songs and sometimes even your own compositions.
Finally, being in good mental and physical health is very important. In order to help others, you need the motivation, maturity and creativity to work with people who have a wide range of needs. This means growing and adapting to different settings and people, being open to supervision and feedback, and having the emotional capacity to “be there” for someone else. The best therapists are often those people who have used music to help or heal themselves—they know first-hand what it’s like to use music therapeutically, and what it’s like to overcome life’s challenges.