As a music therapy major, you’ll learn to connect, inspire, and heal others through the medium of music. Over eight semesters, while completing the college’s core music curriculum, you’ll gain real world experience through internships, cutting edge clinical research, and collaborating with a diverse community of musicians, faculty, and industry and health professionals. You will also prepare for the Board Certification Examination in our state of the art music facilities as well as in Boston’s world class hospitals and research facilities.
Learn skills necessary to practice as a professional music therapist. These include a foundation in music theory, history, composition, arranging, keyboard, guitar, voice, improvisation, and conducting, as well as clinical skills including principles of therapy, exceptionality, and the therapeutic relationship. After course work is completed, students will engage in 1,040 hours of clinical internship at an approved site and will be evaluated on the skills and competencies listed above. This prepares students to sit for the Board Certification Examination to earn the MT-BC (Music Therapist - Board Certified) credential. Students will learn to apply critical problem-solving techniques in developing music therapy interventions for a wide variety of clients and patients.
Competencies as a music therapist involve client assessment, implementation of music therapy strategies, evaluation, documentation, termination, discharge planning, and interdisciplinary team work. Students will become familiar with the professional work environment through a series of practica in which the concepts and strategies learned in the classroom are applied to clinical music therapy work with individuals in community settings, including schools, medical centers, nursing facilities, and other agencies serving people of diverse needs. Students will be prepared to adapt to the needs of a quickly changing health care environment and mental health network, and will learn how to develop a music therapy practice, administer programs, and devise treatment programs in a team approach.
The music therapy major will learn and interpret codes of ethical practice standards in the music therapy profession while actually using them in clinical practica and internship settings.
What Will I Learn?
Upon completion of the major in music therapy, students will:
- apply the highest standards of professionalism in their field;
- apply the latest music therapy techniques;
- synthesize music therapy assessment and research;
- interact with a variety of clinical populations;
- apply music therapy strategies in five clinical practica under supervision;
- synthesize personal and professional skills;
- apply the latest music therapy technology; and
- apply contemporary music to the music therapy process.
As an enrolled Berklee College of Music undergraduate student, you will be required to declare a major field of study by your third semester.
To declare this major, you must meet these requirements during your first two semesters at Berklee:
- GPA over 2.7
- Enrollment in MTH-201 Introduction to International Music Therapy with a grade of 84 percent on the midterm exam or completion of the course with a final grade of at least 84 percent.
- Demonstrated proficiency on principal instrument, musicality, intonation, expression, and technical skill
- Consistent ability to sing with pitch accuracy, in an established meter, with musicality
- Ability to read and demonstrate comprehension of material from a current music therapy textbook
- Demonstrated ability to communicate ideas clearly, through both speech and written language
- Expressed desire to become a music therapist, motivation appropriate to profession, ability to state strengths/challenges
- Common sense and judgment, based on responses to case studies
- Solid interpersonal skills
- Minimum score of 40 points out of 70 points on Interview/Audition rating
Curriculum and Courses
There are 59 required credits (38 credits in the music therapy core, 15 credits in LAS courses, and 6 credits in instrumental courses) specific to this major in addition to the B.M. required core music courses (41 credits) and liberal arts courses (39 credits, 12 of which count towards the major-specific LAS credits) for a degree total of 127 credits. See the sample curriculum here.
Music Therapy Core Classes
- MTH-201 Introduction to Music Therapy (3 credits)
- MTH-220 Creative/Recreative Methods in Music Therapy (3 credits)
- MTH-250 Clinical Orientation to Music Therapy 1 (2 credits)
- MTH-255 Receptive Methods in Music Therapy (3 credits)
- MTH-300 Clinical Orientation to Music Therapy 2 (2 credits)
- MTH-305 Improvisation Methods in Music Therapy (3 credits)
- MTH-320 Music Therapy Internship Preparation (1 credit)
- MTH-350 Advanced Music Therapy Practicum 1 (3 credits)
- MTH-400 Advanced Music Therapy Practicum 2 (3 credits)
- MTH-410 Introduction to Music Therapy Research (3 credits)
- MTH-430 Professional Topics in Music Therapy (2 credits)
- MTH-xxx Music Therapy Elective (2 credits; see major grid)
- Major Electives or Additional Music Therapy Elective (2 credits)
- MTH-495 Music Therapy Internship (6 credits post coursework)
Required Major-Specific LAS Classes
- LSOC-211 General Psychology (3 credits)
- LSOC-212 Psychology of Music (3 credits)
- LSOC-421 Abnormal Psychology (3 credits)
- LMSC-424 Human Anatomy and Physiology (3 credits)
- LSOC-xxx Psychology Elective (3 credits; see major grid)
- ISGT-230 Intermediate Clinical Guitar for Music Therapy (1 credit)
- ISGT-330 Advanced Clinical Guitar for Music Therapy (1 credit)
- ISPC-231 Percussion for Music Therapy (1 credit)
- ISKB-231 Keyboard for Music Therapy 1 (1 credit)
- ISKB-232 Keyboard for Music Therapy 2 (1 credit)
- ILVC-210 Elements of Vocal Technique for Non-Voice Principals (1 credit)
Updated for catalog year fall 2022
Sample Curriculum by Semester
Meet Sarah Blacker B.M. '06
Explore the path to a rewarding career in music therapy with Sarah Blacker, a certified music therapist. "It’s amazing what music does to move you in so many directions," she says.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Learn about financial aid, scholarships, and others ways of paying for your Berklee education.
Some students choose to study abroad at our Valencia, Spain, campus. It is recommended that music therapy majors consult with the chair or contact the study abroad office.