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Music Therapy Major - Far fetched?

musicdependantmusicdependant Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
Hello, I'm currently a sophomore in high school and we are beginning to explore and look into careers and potential majors. I have been very interested in music therapy for a while now and I really think it's something I'd like to pursue, and there are a decent amount of colleges around me that offer the major. However, I am concerned that I may not be able to get into a program. Of course every program has different necessary prerequisites and expectations, however from what I've seen, in order to get certified as a Music Therapy you have to demonstrate proficiency in voice, guitar, and piano. My main instrument is voice and I have been singing since I was very young. I am in the very beginning stages of learning guitar and have no experience with piano, mostly due to the fact my family didn't grow up with a whole lot of money and my parents aren't really involved in music. I never really had the opportunity to learn the instruments. I am fairly well versed in music, however, simply from doing it for such a long time, and I took Intro to Music Theory as an elective this year, and plan on taking A.P Music Theory next year (my junior year), as my school luckily offers it. I will also be taking Psychology next year. I understand that in order to become certified, I have to be proficient in guitar and piano, but I'm wondering if I will still be able to get into an undergraduate music therapy program at a college after high school despite my lack of knowledge in instrumentation. Should I start vigorously attempting to learn the two instruments before I audition for colleges (most likely during the fall of 2018)? I plan on beginning to learn them anyways, but I'm just wondering if it's a lost cause at this point, or if it's just highly unlikely. Any input/information would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

Replies to: Music Therapy Major - Far fetched?

  • mtbcstudentmtbcstudent Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Hey there, I'm currently a freshman in college studying music therapy! It's awesome that you're already looking into potential careers already. Hopefully I can answer some of your questions.
    So to be a music therapy major, you will have to audition for music schools, which makes the college application process twice as long, you have to get accepted into the university on top of the music school and music therapy program. I applied to schools early action (that I knew I would get into) or apply early to schools with rolling admission. I'd highly suggest this because most music schools won't let you audition unless you're accepted to the university, and most auditions take place in January-February, with decisions being made in March.
    As far as auditions go, I can provide a lot of insight since I'm also a voice major. If you're not in voice lessons now, I suggest finding a teacher by your junior year so you can start working on audition pieces. Your teacher will guide you on appropriate song choices for auditions and proper singing techniques. There's one school I found, though I can't remember the name of it, that asked for piano and guitar songs to be prepared for the audition, but I never ended up applying there, and that's certainly not the norm.
    It is true that you need to be proficient in voice, piano, and guitar, however, you will take classes throughout your 4 years in college to build the skills necessary to be a music therapist. It is not mandatory to have to know guitar and piano to be admitted to a music school. I didn't know any guitar last semester, and this semester I'm learning a lot in my guitar class. However, you do need solid skills on your main instrument. At my school, you can do piano in a group setting or with an individual instructor. Guitar is the same way, but most schools, mine included, will have special guitar classes for music therapy majors. You'll also probably take a percussion class and maybe even a ukulele class.
    Taking AP theory is an excellent idea, it could cut off one or two music theory levels for you.
    Psychology is also a good class to take. Music therapy majors take quite a few psych classes, enough to add on a psychology minor without going too overboard with work.
    Just in case you didn't know, this is the track music therapy majors take to get certified. First, you complete 8 semesters of undergrad, taking classes in music, psychology, and music therapy techniques. You also do several semesters of clinicals or practicums, where you go and do music therapy under the supervision of an MT-BC (music therapist board certified). During your senior year, you start applying for internships. These last about 6 months and can be anywhere in the country, providing they are AMTA certified, or university affiliated. Some internships are paid, some are not, it all depends on the location and population. Once you are finished with your internship, you graduate from your university and are eligible to take the board exam to become an MT-BC.
    One thing I didn't do before I started college that I recommend is to observe a professional music therapist for a day. AMTA's website (www.musictherapy.org) is a host of information and has a list of music therapists in your state you can get into contact with. You will definitely observe music therapy in action in college, but it's good to know what to expect beforehand.
    I hope that helped! Feel free to ask me anything else.
  • BubsterMomBubsterMom Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    @mtbcstudent, What college are you currently attending for Music Therapy? My daughter is interested in that, although she is going to UC Santa Cruz as a Psychology Major minoring in Music. She expects to go to graduate school after. Reading your post above, I think it should have been the other way around (Major in Music and Minor in Psych). Her whole high school life was about music, plays 7 musical instruments and has a high school diploma in music (piano performance and theory).
  • lvvcsflvvcsf Registered User Posts: 1,879 Senior Member
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