Music therapy is a field that uses music along with the personality of the therapist as a treatment for rehabilitating, maintaining, and improving the lives of persons with physical, intellectual, and emotional disabilities. As a member of the therapeutic team, the music therapist participates in assessing problems, setting treatment goals, and planning and carrying out music experiences to meet these goals.
Career opportunities are available for music therapists in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, community mental health clinics, nursing homes, day care centers, and correctional facilities. Some music therapists establish their own private studios, usually working with clients referred by local health professionals. In addition, some public school systems are beginning to include music therapists in their special education programs.
Music therapy students can be involved in the campus Music Therapy Club, which promotes the profession, offers workshops for members and other interested students, and organizes service projects. Club members also participate in both the regional and national professional student organizations of the American Music Therapy Association. Through this involvement they have opportunities for leadership, scholarships, and participation at professional conferences.
Music therapy students have the opportunity to take field trips and observe music therapy clinical work in their freshman year. Six semesters of further clinical experience in a variety of community settings provide practical application of music therapy course work. A senior practicum course provides an opportunity to mentor and supervise beginning music therapy students in the clinical experience. A required six-month music therapy internship culminates the educational program with placement opportunities in approximately 150 clinical settings throughout the United States. Professional music therapists supervise the internship programs, which meet the training requirements of the American Music Therapy Association. Students may select an internship in settings such as hospitals, clinics, day care facilities, schools, community mental health centers, substance abuse facilities, nursing homes, hospice, rehabilitation centers, and correctional facilities. Several Slippery Rock University alumni have found employment at their internship facility.
The double majors, BM in Performance/BM in Music Education, the BM in Performance/BM in Music Therapy, the BM in Music Education/BM in Music Therapy are available for students who wish to pursue combined degrees. Please see Chairperson for the semester by semester schedule.