10 Best Music Therapy/Therapist Colleges 2024

best music therapy schools

Music therapy has gained significant recognition recently as a powerful therapeutic tool for healing and improving well-being.

As the demand for qualified music therapists continues to grow, it has become essential to identify the best music therapy schools that offer exceptional education and training in this field.

In this article, we present the 10 best music therapy/therapist colleges for the year 2024. These institutions have consistently committed to providing high-quality education and preparing students to become competent and compassionate music therapists.

See the table of contents below.

Who is a Music Therapist?

A music therapist treats patients through interactions with music. This could be playing music, listening to music, or even writing music. A music therapist can use the exercises they sort out to assist their patients with music to convey and communicate their feelings, mainly while composing or playing music. The activities that music therapists can use to provide therapy typically fall into four main categories.

Here are some details about the four approaches to music therapy:

  • Receptive: Listening to music and allowing your body to respond naturally is part of sensory music therapy. Their responses to the music, such as dancing or talking about a song, can assist patients in relaxing and recalling memories.
  • Recreation: Recreation in music therapy involves figuring out how to play current tunes. As clients can learn songs they already know and like, this can be a great way for music therapists to help them become comfortable playing music.
  • Improvisation: When musicians play music without following a recording or pre-written sheet music, they perform improvisation. As players create the tunes as they play, this may encourage creativity and self-assurance.
  • Composition: Songwriting is referred to as composition. This may entail selecting the notes to play in a particular order and recording them according to the notation on the sheet music.

What does a Music Therapist do?

A music therapist may have several responsibilities that help their patients achieve their goals through music interaction. A music therapist’s most common duties include the following:

  • Meeting with patients to set therapy goals
  • Aligning goals with musical tasks, like learning a song or staying relaxed,
  • Helping patients improve their social and cognitive skills.
  • Creating individualized lessons for students who use various music therapy methods.
  • Teaching patients how to write songs.
  • Letting patients listen to music and watch how they react.
  • Playing a musical instrument.
  • Teaching patients how to play a musical instrument.
  • Showing patients how to communicate through music by singing, dancing, or playing an instrument.

10 Best Music Therapy/Therapist Colleges

#1. Temple University

Temple University is an excellent choice for anyone wishing to earn a music therapy degree. This public university in Philadelphia has a reasonably large student body.

In the most recent year for which we have data, approximately 28 music therapy students earned this degree at Temple. The curriculum provides students with a strong foundation in music and psychology, enabling them to work effectively in various healthcare settings.

Temple’s extensive partnerships with hospitals and community organizations offer valuable experiential learning opportunities.

Temple is an excellent university, evidenced by its Best Colleges ranking of #146 out of 2,241 schools nationwide.


#2. Western Michigan University

The exceptional Music Therapy Program at Western Michigan University’s School of Music helps students develop musical and clinical skills.

This program emphasizes experiential learning and gives students opportunities to work with children, adults, and older people. Comprehensive education is guaranteed by WMU’s dedicated faculty and extensive network of clinical sites.


#3. Berklee College of Music (Boston, Massachusetts)

Did you know you can find a vibrant music therapy program at Berklee, home to a world-renowned leader in music education?

The school strongly emphasizes cutting-edge technology to ensure that as many people as possible have access to music therapy. This includes disabled music therapists and clients with communication and creative barriers.

Music therapists and technologists at Berklee collaborate to develop prototype software that meets the specific requirements of researchers and patients.

Students at Berklee gain hands-on experience through internships and practicums, preparing them for successful careers in music therapy.

The school then holds symposia to discuss technology, field testing, and future goals. The Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship also offers a brand-new course on music health applications.


#4. New York University (New York City, New York)

The Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University houses a well-established music therapy program.

Students learn how to use music as a therapeutic tool through coursework, clinical placements, and research. NYU’s area in the core of Manhattan gives admittance to assorted populaces and famous medical services offices.


Also see this: 25 Best Musical Theatre Colleges in 2024

#5. University of Miami Frost School of Music (Coral Gables, FL)

The Frost School of Music’s comprehensive music education covers business, performance, critical thinking, and music technology.

The music therapy program is just as cutting-edge. Undergraduates require five clinical training or fieldwork experiences or five semesters.

Students’ musical and therapeutic abilities are incrementally developed semester by semester in these real-world classes, which prepare them to interact with patients of all ages with various neurological and developmental conditions.

The Miller School of Medicine, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, and Miami VA Medical Center are just some locations in and around Miami where students can train.

Students studying music therapy receive additional opportunities to assist the Miami community through the Ress Family Hospital Performance Project. Through live performances, Frost music students visit local hospitals to help patients feel better.


#6. Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana)

An acclaimed Music Therapy Program is housed in the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.

It is renowned for its superior research and education. Music, psychology, and therapeutic methods are all covered to provide students with a comprehensive education.

Thanks to the program’s emphasis on evidence-based practice and interdisciplinary collaboration, students are well-prepared for successful careers in a rapidly changing field.

#7. Loyola University New Orleans (New Orleans, Louisiana)

Loyola University New Orleans offers a highly regarded Music Therapy Program that prepares students for diverse careers in music therapy.

Through coursework, clinical experiences, and a strong focus on social justice, students develop a deep understanding of music as a means of healing and empowerment.

Loyola’s location in a vibrant musical city enriches the program’s cultural and artistic offerings.


#8. University of Kansas (Lawrence, Kansas)

The College of Kansas houses a highly regarded Music Treatment Program inside its School of Music. Students receive a comprehensive education that integrates music, psychology, and clinical practice to prepare them for successful careers in music therapy.

The program’s solid accentuation on examination and proof-based preparation cultivate advancement and decisive reasoning among students.


#9. Colorado State University (Fort Collins, Colorado)

The outstanding Music Therapy Program at Colorado State University’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance combines clinical training with a solid musical foundation. Internships, practicums, and community outreach programs give Colorado State University students hands-on experience.

The program’s emphasis on cultural diversity and inclusivity gives graduates the skills to work effectively with people from different backgrounds.


#10. Arizona State University School of Music, Theatre, and Dance (Tempe, AZ)

Students studying music therapy at ASU will receive a comprehensive and rigorous education in therapeutic techniques and instrumental performance.

Students are taught improvisation, songwriting, world music, and popular music styles. They can improve their instrumental skills by participating in one of ASU’s numerous orchestras, bands, ensembles, or choirs.

African Drumming, Javanese Gamelan, Mariachi, and Steel Pan are ethnomusicology ensembles.

The ASU Music Therapy Clinic connects students with actual patients in the community and provides professional development opportunities for them.

Students can quickly complete the six-month internship at local healthcare facilities due to the school’s metropolitan location.


Read: 25 Best Religiously Affiliated Colleges in the World | 2024 Rankings

How To Become a Music Therapist

Becoming a music therapist requires education, clinical training, and certification.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to pursue a career in music therapy. By following these steps and investing in your education and training, you can embark on a fulfilling career that uses music’s transformative power to improve others’ lives.

  • Research the Field: Before working on it, you should know about music therapy. Learn about music therapy’s applications in healthcare, education, and community programs.
  • Earn a Bachelor’s Degree: The minimum educational requirement to become a music therapist is a bachelor’s degree in music therapy. The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) has approved music therapy programs offered by accredited institutions.
  • Finish your clinical training: Receiving clinical training is a crucial part of becoming a music therapist. Students in most music therapy programs are required to complete a predetermined number of clinical hours under the guidance of a board-certified music therapist.
  • Pursue Certification: The next step is to get your certification as a music therapist after completing a bachelor’s degree and clinical training. The Music Therapist – Board Certified (MT-BC) credential is offered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). You must pass the board certification exam, which tests your knowledge and expertise in the field, to be eligible for certification.
  • Consider Higher Education: While a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement, some music therapists opt to earn advanced degrees like a Master’s or Doctor of Music Therapy.
  • Acquire Real-World Experience: Look for opportunities to gain practical experience outside your academic training to improve your skills and learn more.
  • Maintain your Professional Growth: As a music therapist, keeping up with industry developments and advancing professionally is critical. Participate in seminars, conferences, and workshops to improve your abilities and knowledge.

Qualities of a Good Music Therapist

Being a music therapist requires unique skills and qualities to connect with individuals and facilitate healing through music effectively. Some essential qualities that contribute to being a good music therapist include:

  • Musical Proficiency
  • Empathy and Compassion
  • Active Listening Skills
  • Strong Interpersonal Skills
  • Clinical Knowledge and Adaptability
  • Creativity and Flexibility
  • Cultural Sensitivity and Inclusivity
  • Professionalism and Ethical Practice
  • Patience and Resilience
  • Self-Reflection and Personal Growth

FAQs – Best Music Therapy Schools

What is music therapy?

Music therapy is a practice that uses music interventions to address individuals’ physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs.

What settings do music therapists work in?

Music therapists can work in various settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, psychiatric facilities, schools, nursing homes, community centers, and private practice. They can also work with diverse populations such as children with developmental disabilities, individuals with mental health issues, older adults with dementia, and patients undergoing medical treatments.

Can music therapy be used for individuals with specific diagnoses?

Yes, music therapy can be beneficial for individuals with a wide range of diagnoses, including but not limited to autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, depression, anxiety, trauma, Alzheimer’s disease, and physical disabilities. Music therapy is highly adaptable and can be tailored to address specific needs and goals.


For those who want to become music therapists, picking the right college for your education is essential. The ten colleges listed above have established themselves as industry leaders with comprehensive programs combining clinical training and musical proficiency.

These institutions provide their students with opportunities for hands-on experience, research, and interdisciplinary collaboration to ensure that they are well-prepared to make a positive impact in music therapy.

Graduates of these colleges can confidently embark on fulfilling careers using the power of music to heal, inspire, and transform lives as the demand for music therapists continues to rise.



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