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College of Music / Areas of Study / Music Therapy

Music Therapy


Selection and preparation in Music Therapy at Florida State University is based upon an important yet extremely simple premise -- it is, that every client receiving music therapy services should have the best clinical assistance possible.

This implies that every therapist should be committed to the subject of music and its therapeutic use with people. The strength of this commitment is evidenced by the academic and social behaviors of the prospective therapist in life, both in and out of the university environment.

The FSU Music Therapy student is characterized by diligence in the pursuit of musical and academic excellence and active dedication to the improvement of the quality of life of their fellow human beings.


Personal Qualities

For those who value knowledge, the learning process is perpetual throughout life's time. To be an effective music therapist, one must develop:

  1. the ability to think, and therefore, value and discriminate,
  2. the ability to feel, and therefore, become sensitive to aesthetic qualities in music and life, and
  3. the courage to act, and therefore, translate those abilities to think and feel into overt behaviors.

Successful music therapists evidence personal qualities of leadership, intellectual curiosity, social commitment, and emotional stability. They approach life, music, and the therapeutic profession in a positive, imaginative, and enthusiastic way.The music therapist attempts to create a respect and desire for quality life experiences, teaching others to learn and mature, react positively, listen responsively, and relate sensitively.

Toward this goal, music therapists provide a variety of learning and therapeutic experiences for their clients and are stimulated by current research to seek, evaluate, and appropriately implement current ideas and developments in the therapeutic applications of music.

They promote positive relationships with clients, colleagues, and others. They are emphathetic with people of differing social and ethnic backgrounds, and demonstrate mature attitudes and values. They consistently maximize client opportunities and accomplishments, and minimize self-aggrandizement. Their public performances are part of therapeutic programs geared to helping people become sensitive to aesthetic opportunities in life.


Comprehensive Competencies

Music therapists must be prepared and eager to assist those in need:

  • the young,
  • the poor,
  • the underprivileged,
  • the handicapped,
  • the aged,
  • those unable to cope, and
  • the medically or mentally ill.

In addition to personal competencies in music performance, improvisation, conducting, applied music, composing, arranging, analysis, history, repertoire, and other musical skills, they must have competencies in the teaching of music on all levels, nursery school through adulthood, and in the methods of music therapy in the full array of habilitative and rehabilitative settings.

They must be exposed to techniques of teaching in the humanities, related arts, and general music areas, as well as, become proficient in the areas of psychology, anatomy, and other health/behavioral sciences. Concurrently, the music therapist must be able to express knowledge through verbal communication (oral and written) and through overt, demonstrable music and teaching/therapy behaviors.


Liberal Studies Component

A general knowledge and understanding of history, science, art, philosophy, and communication serves to enhance one's ability to function effectively in contemporary society and facilitates greater understanding of the human condition.

The Liberal Studies requirements of the Florida State University are designed to:

  1. help the student understand him/herself as a person,
  2. assist in the development of positive attitudes and penetrating insights toward others and the world,
  3. encourage acceptance of change and approach new ideas with an open mind,
  4. provide the ability to apply appropriate evaluative techniques and establish an attitude of curiosity, and
  5. promote the relating of one's own art to other disciplines.



The task of structuring and managing life's environment in which individuals, regardless of ability, may positively experience, successfully achieve, and hence, come to control and value the quality of their own life, demands a breadth of knowledge and skills, as well as high levels of perception and sensitivity on the part of the music therapist.

The acquisition and development of these abilities requires an intellectual commitment that is realized in daliy living and is maintained and strengthened during the years of training and throughout the professional career.

The music therapy faculty at Florida State University College of Music is dedicated to the pursuit of these goals, both for themselves and for their students.


Areas of Study

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