Skip to main content
Skip to main navigation

Music Therapy

  • Overview
  • Careers
  • New Freshmen
  • New Transfer
  • Illinois State Students

The Music Therapy sequence provides academic content and clinical experiences related to competencies outlined by the American Music Therapy Association.

Students who complete the Music Therapy degree are eligible to sit for the national board certification exam to obtain the credential MT-BC (Music Therapist - Board Certified), which is necessary for professional practice.

Why Study Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program, according to the American Music Therapy Association.

Music therapists work with populations covering the entire lifespan, from neonatal intensive care units through hospice and end-of-life care. Some examples of settings where a music therapist might be employed include schools, hospitals, nursing homes, forensic settings, private clinics, physical rehabilitation facilities, addiction recovery centers, and hospices.

Related Majors

Related Skills

  • Develop competencies in business management, computers, marketing, or other areas to broaden range of employment possibilities.
  • Develop a variety of skills. Become "multi talented."
  • Confidence, personality, a positive attitude, and a love of music are important to success.
  • Need basic tools of self-promotion.
  • Performers often travel frequently and must be flexible regarding their work schedules.
  • Gain experience working for a music publisher or other businesses in the entertainment industry.
  • Ability to read musical notes accurately
  • Ability to make critical observations
  • Ability to concentrate and practice musical instruments for long periods
  • Good listener
  • Good finger responses
  • Works well under pressure
  • Team player and ability to work alone
  • Creativity

Being Successful in the Field

  • Finding positions in the music industry requires a combination of talent, training, connections and some luck. Perseverance is required!
  • Some jobs may require you to join unions or guilds.

Related Fields

Education

  • Teaching
  • Private Lessons

Employers

  • Day care centers
  • Elementary and secondary schools
  • Private schools
  • Recreation centers
  • Colleges and universities
  • Conservatories
  • Studios
  • Self-employed

Strategies

  • Acquire teaching certificate for public school teaching.
  • Gain experience working with children through volunteer or part-time work experiences.
  • Graduate degree required to teach in higher education.
  • Specialize in an area such as music, music theory, composition, music history, etc.
  • Performance skill on one instrument or voice required.
  • Develop business relationships with schools and/or music stores to increase client base.

Performance

  • Instrumental
  • Vocal

Employers

  • Armed Forces bands and orchestras
  • Symphony orchestras
  • Small ensembles
  • Rock or jazz groups
  • Dance bands
  • Concert soloist
  • Clubs and restaurants
  • Church choirs
  • Community choral groups
  • Opera chorus or soloist
  • Musical theaters
  • Ballet productions
  • Recording industry
  • Radio, television, and motion picture industries

Strategies

  • Develop musical talent and skill.
  • Obtain formal training to acquire necessary skills, knowledge, and ability to interpret music.
  • Ambition and showmanship are important.
  • Join campus bands and choruses, church choirs, and other performing acts.
  • Seek competitions, apprenticeship programs, and workshops to gain experience and recognition.
  • Opportunities are very limited.
  • Most performers have othercareers.
  • Auditions are generally required.

Composing/Arranging

  • Composing
  • Arranging

Employers

  • Self-employed
  • Record companies
  • Publishers
  • Muzak
  • Motion picture and television industries
  • Production companies

Strategies

  • Knowledge of composition, harmony, arranging, and theory are important.
  • Learnhow to use electronic instruments and synthesizers.
  • Develop computer and desktop publishing expertise.
  • Skill on one or more instruments and voice are necessary.
  • Seek grants and awards through foundations.
  • Very few musicians earn living through composing.

Conducting

Employers

  • Choirs
  • Choral groups
  • Symphonies
  • Opera
  • Armed Forces bands and orchestras

Strategies

  • Develop superior musicianship and leadership.
  • Acquire extensive experience in performing groups.
  • Opportunities extremely limited.
  • Gain acceptance into a conductor-training program or related apprenticeship.

Music Therapy

Employers

  • Hospitals: general and psychiatric
  • Special education facilities
  • Mental health centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Correctional facilities
  • Private practice
  • Outpatient clinics

Strategies

  • Take courses in psychology, social work, or education.
  • Earn a master's degreein music therapy and seek certification.
  • Volunteer in a rehabilitation setting.
  • Must demonstrate a genuine interest in helping people.

Music Libraries

Employers

  • Colleges and universities
  • Conservatories
  • Public libraries
  • Radio and television stations

Strategies

  • Develop computer and research skills.
  • Gain thorough knowledge of music and musicology.
  • Earn master's degree in library/information science.

Recording Industry

  • Publishing and Editing
  • Producing
  • Recording
  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Talent Acquisition
  • Promotion/Media Relations
  • Publicity
  • Administration
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Product Management

Employers

Production recording studios (most located in New York City, Los Angeles, and Nashville)

Strategies

  • Complete an internship at a record company.
  • Take business courses to work in management or administration.
  • Journalism, public relations, and communication classes helpful for work in areas of promotion.
  • Gain sales experience for marketing.
  • Must interact well with people and develop persuasion tools.
  • Knowledge of electronics, audio engineering, and recording knowledge required for production.
  • Work or volunteer at a campus or local radio station.
  • Join organizations involved with bringing events and entertainment to campus.
  • Work at a retail record store to learn about the industry.

Communications

  • Music and Program Direction
  • On Air Performance
  • Promotion
  • Voice Overs
  • Copyright/Clearance Administration
  • Music License Administration
  • Music Editing, Production, and Composing
  • Sound Mixing
  • Post Production
  • Research

Employers

  • Radio and television stations
  • Virtual reality sound environments e.g. Internet sites, software creators

Strategies

  • Take classes in communications, broadcasting, or journalism. Work at on-campusradio station.
  • Complete an internship at a television or radio station.
  • Develop computer-related skills such as software development and programming.

Miscellaneous

  • Sales
  • Music Journalism
  • Law

Employers

  • Music shops
  • Record stores
  • Instrument manufacturers
  • Music-related publications
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Entertainment law firms

Strategies

  • Music shops
  • Record stores
  • Instrument manufacturers
  • Music-related publications
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Entertainment law firms

Other Professions

  • Accompanist
  • Architectural Acoustic Consultant
  • Artist & Repertoire (A&R) Person
  • Arts Administrator
  • Arts Administrator/Manager
  • Cantor/Soloist/Choir Member
  • Choral Director
  • Church Organist
  • Church/Synagogue Musician
  • Community Development Specialist
  • Composer/Arranger
  • Conductor
  • Copywriter/Clearance Administrator
  • Disc Jockey
  • Editor
  • Film Music Editor
  • Instrumentalist
  • Journalist
  • Music Copyist
  • Music Critic
  • Music Director
  • Music Librarian
  • Music Minister
  • Music Promoter
  • Music Publishing Specialist
  • Music Software Programmer
  • Music Store Manager/Owner
  • Music Teacher
  • Music Therapist
  • Musical Booking Agent
  • Musical Instrument Repairer
  • Musician
  • Orchestra Librarian
  • Organist
  • Piano Tuner
  • Professor
  • Publicist
  • Recording Technician
  • Royalties Broadcast Monitor
  • Sales Representative
  • Singer/Voice Teacher
  • Technical Writer

Career Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Mark Fauble  110 Student Services Building  mbfaubl@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-5825 

Internship Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone Note
Andrea Crimmins  Centennial West 312  amcrimm@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-8198  Music Therapy Internships 
Cindy Ropp  Centennial West 312  crropp@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-8803  Clinical Internship in Music Therapy 

Applying to Illinois State

Program not available to new students beginning in the spring semester.

Applying to the Program

  • Complete your application for admission, including selecting an audition date
  • Refer to the suggested repertoire recommendations for each music studio to prepare for your audition. You may want to also contact the respective applied faculty member for further information about the audition.
  • Please provide a letter of recommendation from a music professional to:
    Undergraduate Music Admissions
    Campus Box 5660, Illinois State University
    Normal, IL 61790-5660.
  • If you are currently enrolled in a 4-year NASM (National Association of Music Schools) accredited institution, you must provide a completed Transfer Acknowledgement Form. Send the completed form to:
    Undergraduate Music Admissions
    Campus Box 5660, Illinois State University
    Normal, IL 61790-5660.

Plan of Study

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for fall transfer students is September 1-January 15. You are encouraged to apply early in the preferred filing period for best consideration for admission into competitive majors. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today.

Music therapy admits students to start in the fall semester only.

Applying to the Program

  • Complete your application for admission, including selecting an audition date
  • Refer to the suggested repertoire recommendations for each music studio to prepare for your audition. You may want to also contact the respective applied faculty member for further information about the audition.
  • Please provide a letter of recommendation from a music professional to:
    Undergraduate Music Admissions
    Campus Box 5660, Illinois State University
    Normal, IL 61790-5660.
  • If you are currently enrolled in a 4-year NASM (National Association of Music Schools) accredited institution, you must provide a completed Transfer Acknowledgement Form.  Send the completed form to:
    Undergraduate Music Admissions
    Campus Box 5660, Illinois State University
    Normal, IL 61790-5660.

Minimum GPA

2.00

Middle 50% GPA

2.99 - 3.46

Required Courses

None

Recommended Courses

  • Music Theory I & II (MUS 101 & 102)
  • Musicianship I & II (MUS 107 & 108)

Additional Information: Classical Audition required for admission. Please visit FineArts.IllinoisState.edu/Music for more information.

*Fall admission only.

Plan of Study

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Christine Hansen  Center for Visual Arts 214F  casmelt@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-7050 

Middle 50% GPA

2.99 - 3.46

Plan of Study

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Application Period

Applications are always accepted.

Application Information

Current students can use the Apply to Your Program tool on My.IllinoisState.edu.

Major Requirements

  • Complete your application for admission on my.illinoisstate.edu, including selecting an audition date
  • Refer to the suggested repertoire recommendations for each music studio to prepare for your audition. You may want to also contact the respective applied faculty member for further information about the audition.
  • Please provide a letter of recommendation from a music professional to:
    Undergraduate Music Admissions
    Campus Box 5660, Illinois State University
    Normal, IL 61790-5660.

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Christine Hansen  Center for Visual Arts 214F  casmelt@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-7050 
2016-08-03T11:23:40.188-05:00 2016
©