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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of  Music
July 25, 2014
Canadian Excellence

Bachelor of Music Therapy

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Music therapy is the clinical use of music as a therapeutic intervention for people who have special needs. Laurier's four-year Honours Bachelor of Music Therapy degree program requires a high level of musicianship. It also includes psychology becau se knowledge of psychological theories is necessary for clinical practice with different client populations. A crucial component of the program is supervised clinical training which is offered at the only university-based music therapy clinic in Canada. Supervision is provided by professionally accredited music therapists.

    Registered for the first two years in the Honours BMus program, students make formal application to Music Therapy at the end of second year. Admission to third-year Music Therapy is limited and is based on grades in Music and P sychology, personal interview, and recommendation of the Music Therapy faculty.

The intent of the program is to produce music therapists who are eclectic practitioners and who understand the musical and therapeutic process. Four major principles have shaped the design of the curriculum:

1. the program is music centered in that clinical music forms the basis for understanding the therapeutic relationship;
2. skills in improvisation are essential for developing clinical musicianship;
3. a humanistic approach acknowledges the client as an individual with unique life experiences, thus incorporating all facets of personality, musical and non-musical needs;
4. every person has the potential to be creative regardless of disability or illness.


Group Placements 2 years
Four supervised placements are selected from such client populations as:
sensory impaired children
developmentally delayed children and adults
multi-handicapped children
adolescents with emotional disorders
adults with physical handicaps
palliative care
adult psychiatric
autistic children
Down's Syndrome

Individual Clients 1 year
In addition to the above placements each student is assigned to an individual client for the entire fourth year. These sessions are held in the on-campus music therapy clinic.

All music therapy students attend a weekly seminar to present case reports, and discuss professional issues in the field of music therapy. In addition, outside professionals are invited to speak on topics relevant to clinical practice.

At the end of each term students make a formal presentation for staff and administration of the facility where they have been assigned for the term, describing and explaining the goals and accomplishments of their work in music therapy at the facility.

Experiential Music Therapy
In addition, students have the opportunity to participate in an experiential music therapy group.

After graduation each student is required to complete a 1,000 hour internship in accordance with the guidelines of the Canadian Association for Music Therapy (CAMT).


Dr. Colin Lee

Dr. Heidi Ahonen

Dr. Carolyn L.R. Arnason

SAMPLE PROGRAM Honours Bachelor of Music Therapy Program
This is a possible program outline for a pianist studying Music Therapy.

Year I Year II Year III Year IV
Piano Piano Piano Piano
Theory I, II Introduction to Music Therapy Principles of Music Therapy Theory of Music Therapy
Musical Skills I,II Musical Skills III, IV Practice of Music Therapy Music Therapy Practica III, IV
Choir Choir Clinical Improvisation I Clinical Improvisation II
Music History I Theory III, IV Music History II, III Psychology of Music
Introduction to Psychology Guitar Techniques Psychology Research Methods Music Therapy Research
Values and Society Developmental Psychology I, II Abnormal Psychology Clinical Psychology

Motivation and Emotion Composition I Music of the World