School of Music | Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

Music Therapy in the News

Music Therapy


The Music Therapy program in the ASU School of Music brings over 40 years of music and academic excellence into today’s clinical and technological healthcare environment. As a nationally renowned music therapy program, our goal at Arizona State University is to provide students with the education and development tools needed to excel in their career as a music therapist. The music therapy curriculum places an emphasis on both musical and therapeutic skill areas, while also enhancing the student’s overall understanding of the profession of music therapy.

Music therapy students study their major instrument/voice with an internationally recognized performance faculty. Music therapy students also study musical improvisation, songwriting, world music, and popular music styles. Students have many opportunities to participate in performance groups. These include a top ranked orchestra, bands and choirs. In addition, ASU School of Music has ethnomusicology ensembles including African Drumming, Javanese Gamelan, Mariachi and Steel Pan.

What is Music Therapy? Music therapy is a special education/mental health profession where engagement in active music making helps a client achieve non–musical, therapeutic goals. Music therapy takes place in numerous clinical settings, such as clinics, client homes, schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities, psychiatric settings, hospice care units, and corrections centers.

Who is a Music Therapist? A music therapist is a credentialed (board certified), professional therapist who has earned a music therapy degree and completed a 1200-hour internship in addition to being a trained and competent musician. Music therapists mainly work within clinical settings in the medical, educational, institutional or community-based context as either an employee or as a private practitioner. ASU’s music therapy program is designed to effectively progress each student in his or her development towards participating in a music therapy internship and preparing for the board certification exam.

What type of clients does a Music Therapist work with? Music therapists work with a wide array of client groups including, but not limited to, children and adults with special needs, individuals with various disabilities, traumatic brain injury patients, older adults with dementia related challenges, and individuals with substance abuse disorders as well as mental and psychiatric disorders.

The ASU Music Therapy Clinic

Arizona State University provides supervised pre-clinical experiences for our music therapy students with a variety of client populations providing a wealth of training experience. The ASU Music Therapy Clinic provides students with clinical opportunities to observe current licensed music therapists in practice, as well as work one-on-one with children with various disabilities. Because ASU is located in a large metropolitan area, there are opportunities to perform clinical practice in nationally recognized facilities including the Barrow Neurological Center, Mohammed Ali Parkinson’s Center, Hospice of the Valley, and Banner Medical Centers. There also are a variety of opportunities to complete the required six-month internship in the Phoenix metropolitan area.