Music, Theatre, and Dance: Music Therapy

together music sheet

Over the last 10 years, 85% of Marywood University Music Therapy graduates have passed the Certification Board for Music Therapists certification examination, exceeding the current pass rate of 74%. 



Marywood Music Therapy visits Pa. State Capital

Marywood University music therapy alumni, faculty, and students recently attended Hill Day at the state capitol. State Representative Daniel Deasy (27th District, Allegheny County), and State Senator Mike Folmer (48th District, Dauphin, Lebanon, and York Counties) introduced resolutions, recognizing music therapy as a valid therapeutic service and declaring October as Music Therapy Month in Pennsylvania.

Front Row (L to R): Cassandra Eason, Middletown, N.Y.; Megan Gallik, Honesdale, Pa.; Abaigael McMahon, Manlius, N.Y.

Back Row (L to R): Alyssa Alderfer, Hatfield, Pa.; Devon Underwood, Etters, Pa.; Julianne Innamorato, Matawan, N.J.; Stephanie Poveromo, Scranton, Pa.; Christopher Morrison, Germansville, Pa.; Julianna Altonjy, Andover, N.J.; Janet Herington, Odenton, Md.; Alicia Swain, alumna, Scranton, Pa.


Bachelor of Music (BM) in Music Therapy

Completion of this program leads to board certification as a music therapist. Following the academic studies and required clinical training, the candidate is awarded the B.M. degree and is eligible to take the National Board Certification Examination for Music Therapists, designed and administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). The credential awarded is Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC).

The music therapy degree candidate must complete the required clinical training experience, which has two components: pre-internship and internship. Pre-internship training consists of various practical field experiences with at least three different populations, taken by a student in conjunction with music therapy coursework as prerequisite for internship placement. Internship is the culminating, in-depth, supervised clinical training experience in music therapy completed at a national roster internship site. A minimum of 1040 hours is required (or hours until entry-level competence is achieved) at an AMTA-approved clinical training site.

This competency-based curriculum prepares students for a career using music in a systematic sequence of interventions leading to specific changes with children, adolescents, and adults requiring special services. A credentialed music therapist is employed in such places as community health centers; traditional state and private facilities serving persons with mental and physical challenges, including psychiatric partial hospitalization day programs, group homes or intermediate care facilities for people with developmental disabilities; general hospitals; allied health rehabilitation facilities; schools, private practice; consultative work, and/or further graduate study. Professional membership available with the American Music Therapy Association, Inc. (AMTA).

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Degree-Equivalency in Music Therapy Certificate

The Equivalency program is regarded as entry level, and student earns undergraduate credit for courses. The degree-equivalency is for students who already hold a bachelor's degree in a related field and seek board certification for professional practice as a music therapist.

This program consists of core music therapy and clinical training requirements, plus courses in related fields (e.g., abnormal psychology). Prior to beginning the program, the program director designs a course of study with the student resulting in entry-level competencies in three areas: musical, clinical, music therapy foundations/principles (AMTA Professional Competencies).

The degree-equivalency program requires a minimum of three semesters (or 1-1/2 years) plus minimum 1200 internship hours. The internship follows completion of the core music therapy course work. Upon successful completion of academic and clinical components, candidates are eligible to take the National Board Certification Examination for Music Therapists (CBMT). The credential awarded is Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC). Professional membership is available with the American Music Therapy Association, Inc. (AMTA).



The Marywood Music Therapy Clinic, an integral component of the Music Therapy Program, is housed in the Sette LaVerghetta Center for Performing Arts and supported by the University. Both the therapy room and observation room are accessible to those with physical challenges.


The purpose of the Music Therapy Clinic is two-fold, namely, to provide music therapy majors with an educational opportunity for hands on one-on-one clinical experience under the supervision of a board certified-music therapist; and secondly, as an out- reach to those in the community with special needs. Approximately sixteen to twenty clients are served weekly. Among them are individuals of all ages with a variety of challenges, e.g. mental and physical challenges, attention deficit disorders, cerebral-palsy, autism spectrum, closed head injuries, Down syndrome, and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.  


Referral, Assessment and Program Plan:
Referrals are received from parents, health care professionals, agencies, doctors, teachers, social workers, speech pathologists, psychologists and others. The supervising Board Certified Music Therapist completes the initial music therapy assessment and models the procedure for the student therapist while instructing them in the necessary documentation of responses. The initial assessment usually takes place over a period of two or three sessions.  The content includes a history and/ or a profile of the individual's extra-musical and musical strengths and needs of the individual and is used to design an individual treatment plan.   The student clinician then follows the individual's program goals and objectives in the delivery of weekly music therapy intervention under the supervision of the MT-BC. Each session is scheduled for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the individual's attention span. Parents or guardians are encouraged to arrange periodic observations of sessions with the supervisor.  The student therapist documents each session and writes a progress /termination report at the end of each semester. This experience provides invaluable pre-internship training for the prospective music therapist, as well as assists the client in meeting his/her goals.


Modest fees are charged for the initial assessment and for each music therapy session to defray operating costs. The students and supervisor are dedicated to making this experience a beneficial one for all concerned.