Music Therapy (BMT)

Music Therapy uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, or social challenges. You’ll see first-hand the impact music can have on developing clients’ potential and enhancing their health, wellness, and quality of life.

In Laurier's Bachelor of Music Therapy program, you'll participate in supervised group and individual placements with diverse clients, including those with developmental and physical disabilities, mental health issues, and geriatric care.

Laurier has the only undergraduate degree in music therapy in Ontario.

Apply Your Learning

Make the most out of your university career by taking advantage of all that Laurier has to offer you. Volunteer work, campus clubs, leadership programs, studying abroad, work experience – there are so many ways you can extend your classroom experience into the real world.

Here are just a few examples of the experiences you’ll get in the Music Therapy program:

  • Get supervised clinical training, a crucial component of our program, which is offered in community-based settings and at our on-campus music therapy clinic.
  • Complete a 1,000-hour internship (organized by Laurier) in fourth year, making you eligible to apply for certification as a music therapist through the Canadian Association of Music Therapists upon graduation.
  • Use your major instrument(s) in music therapy sessions, along with percussion, piano and guitar, which you will be taught at Laurier.
  • Join the Music Therapy Students Association (MTSA). MTSA hosts events throughout the year to support the academic, career and personal needs of our Music Therapy students. 

Check out the Music Experience Guide.

 

2020 graduates who secured employment or went on to postgraduate studies

 

Laurier ranks in the top 6 percent of universities worldwide*

 

students who gained hands-on learning experiences at Laurier in 2019/20

*Center for World University Rankings (CWUR)

Admissions

Format: full time      Duration: two years     Start: September (fall term)

You can apply to the Bachelor of Music Therapy at the end of your second year in Laurier’s Bachelor of Music program or Bachelor of Music in Community Music program. You must be registered in one of these two programs to qualify for admission to the Bachelor of Music Therapy program.

To qualify for this program, you must complete the following courses:

  • MU158: Introduction to Music Therapy
  • PS101/102: Introduction to Psychology
  • PS275: Introduction to Developmental Psychology, Infancy and Childhood
  • PS276: Introduction to Developmental Psychology: Adolescence and Young Adulthood or PS377: Developmental Psychology: Adults and Elders

You will need to have a high standing in your Music and Psychology courses and strong interpersonal skills.

Admission requirements also include an interview with the music therapy coordinator and an audition.

Program Details

About Music Therapy

Because music therapists communicate with clients through music, they must have excellent musicianship and musical sensitivity. Nearly half of the required courses are in music and include instrumental or vocal study, musical skills and ensemble work.

Our program also features courses in clinical improvisation, case studies, therapeutic theories, and two years of supervised group and one-on-one clinical placements on campus and in the community. You will also take courses in developmental, abnormal, clinical and social psychology. Alongside your major instrument, you will learn and use percussion, piano and guitar during your placements.

Become a Practising Music Therapist

In fourth year, you will complete the Canadian Association of Music Therapy (CAMT) 1,000-hour internship, making you eligible upon graduation to write the Certified Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) exam, allowing you to practice in both Canada and the USA. Laurier helps you find these internships.

Further Education

After graduating from the Music Therapy program, our students often continue their music therapy training by pursuing a master’s degree in music therapy. Other students have chosen to train in allied healthcare professions such as social work, psychotherapy, or occupational therapy, or to complete a Bachelor of Education to become a teacher. If you are interested in research, you may wish to choose a graduate degree with a research component.

Program Options and Courses

First-Year Courses

Students interested in the Music Therapy program will be required to take all of the mandatory courses for either the Music or Community Music program, in addition to taking the following three courses as their 1.5 electives.

  • MU158: Introduction to Music Therapy
  • PS101: Introduction to Psychology I
  • PS102: Introduction to Psychology II

Sample Upper-Year Courses

  • Clinical Improvisation I and II
  • Medical Music Therapy
  • Music, Culture, and Community
  • Music Therapy Internship I and II

Similar Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

How many students get into Music Therapy each year?

The number of students in the Music Therapy program varies from year to year. Generally, the maximum number of students admitted is approximately 20.

How many instruments do I need to know?

As a music student at Laurier, you will already have technical proficiency on at least one instrument when auditioning for the Music Therapy program.

Music therapy students also must pass the keyboard facility exam before entering the program.

You will take a guitar techniques course during your third year, and you will also be expected to use your voice and various percussion instruments in your classes and placements.

Does it matter which Bachelor of Music degree I study at Laurier first?

No. Both the Music (Common-Year) and Community Music streams set students up to audition/interview into the Music Therapy program. Choose the degree path that is the best fit for you for your first and second years at Laurier.

Does my Laurier Music Therapy degree qualify me to be a working music therapist? Can I work with any type of client?

So long as you complete 1,000 hours of work during your internship courses, the only thing you will have left to do after graduation is to write the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) exam. Upon successful completion of this exam, you will be qualified to practice music therapy in Canada and the USA.

You can work with a wide variety of clients once you have this certification, so long as you remain safe and ethically within the scope of practice you have trained in.

What do music therapists do?

Music therapists build therapeutic relationships with their clients and use musical experiences to safely, ethically, and intentionally work towards their clients’ goals in relation to health and wellbeing.

What type of placements may I have? What do placements look/feel like?

In your third year, you will co-facilitate a music therapy group with a peer, usually within a developmental education classroom. In your fourth year, you will work one-on-one with a client in the on-campus Laurier clinic and co-facilitate a music therapy group in the community, often in long-term care or in another setting with adults. Each placement is supervised by a qualified and experienced music therapy supervisor.

What type of clients do I get to work with? Do I have choices in who I work with?

In the third-year placement, you will work with children with a variety of developmental and/or physical disabilities.

In the fourth-year group placement, you will usually work with adults, often older adults with dementia. In the fourth-year individual placement, participants self-refer from the community. Clients span a variety of ages and health concerns. These placements are assigned to students based on their academic timetables.

Internship opportunities are available in a wide variety of clinical settings. Students apply directly to the internship sites they are most interested in.

Describe the internship in more detail. What will my day-to-day look like?

Your internship will involve full-time work in a healthcare setting. Your exact day-to-day experience will depend based upon your specific site.

You can expect to lead group and individual music therapy sessions each day, which you will always document according to the standards at your site. You will attend interdisciplinary team meetings to collaborate with other healthcare professionals and meet regularly with your clinical supervisor to discuss your successes and challenges.

What are examples of some current/past internship locations?

Current and past fourth-year Music Therapy students have completed internships within the following settings:

  • community centres
  • end-of-life/hospice care
  • group homes
  • hospitals (both adult and pediatric)
  • long-term care
  • mental health treatment (both adolescent and adult)
  • rehabilitation
Can I do my internship abroad?

Some students have completed internships abroad in the past. However, as the internship leads to certification with the Canadian Association of Music Therapists, it is crucial that all internships be supervised by a certified MTA. If this is something you’re interested in, please speak with our experiential placements coordinator.

Does Laurier help me find an internship?

Absolutely. The internship is a course, so we are committed to ensuring that each student finds an internship. You will get a lot of choices in applying to sites that are of interest to you. If something falls through, we will help you to find an internship site. Some flexibility may be required in terms of location, however, the experiential placements coordinator will work with you to determine the best fit.

Is our internship paid?

No, your internship replaces credits you would take in-person at Laurier.

How will the Music Therapy area encourage my health and well-being?

An important part of working as a therapist is also taking care of yourself. In courses and placements, you will be encouraged to develop self-awareness and your own practices for taking care of yourself, so that you can practice safely and ethically with your future clients.

Are there unique workshops students participate in?

Students are encouraged to participate in music therapy seminars and events organized by the Music Therapy Students Association, which happen regularly. Guest speakers often visit Laurier to speak about music therapy business development, experiences in international music therapy practice, and other relevant topics. Music therapy students are also encouraged to attend guest workshops that are open to the entire music student body.

What guests have visited Laurier?

In 2018, Gary Ansdell, an internationally renowned scholar in Community Music Therapy, visited Laurier and spoke with our undergraduate and graduate music therapy students.

In 2018, Belgian music therapist Jos de Backer spoke to conference delegates at Laurier about listening in clinical improvisation.

Are there any extracurricular activities that would help me prepare to become a music therapist?

If possible, we recommend that students gain experience working and/or volunteering in the types of settings in which music therapists are employed (for example, long-term care facilities, schools, hospitals, community centres, etc.). Such experiences will help you to develop the interpersonal skills that are central to your future work as a therapist.

Tuition and Scholarships

Getting a university education is an investment in your future.

At Laurier, we take financial health seriously by providing a wide variety of funding opportunities for you throughout your degree, such as scholarships and bursaries, and by equipping you with the skills to manage your finances effectively in the years to come.

Faculty of Music Scholarships

We award roughly $100,000 in Faculty of Music Audition Scholarships to incoming students. This is in addition to any academic entrance scholarships, entrance bursaries or competitive scholarships you may receive.

Audition Scholarships recognize well-rounded students who demonstrate strong technical ability, academic achievement, recreational/extracurricular involvement and/or financial need during their audition process.

"My favourite courses were my practicum placements and my internship. My internship gave me the practical skills to truly understand what it takes to be a music therapist, something that cannot be taught in a classroom."

Jackie Naccache, Music Therapy graduate

"The professors are caring and supportive as well by taking important things like mental health and stress into consideration in their courses. This support and community is what has helped me become the musician I am today."

Hanisha Kulothparan, Music graduate

Your Career Awaits

Music therapist job settings include:

  • community programs
  • correctional centres
  • hospices
  • hospitals
  • long-term care centres
  • mental health and addiction facilities
  • private practice
  • rehabilitation facilities
  • schools

Explore more careers.

Support After Graduation

Alumni for life means that you have access to Career and Employment Support offered at Laurier for your entire career.

Waterloo Campus

The Waterloo campus is tucked into about one city block, so you’re steps away from your classes, food and your new favourite study spot.

There are many ways to tour our Waterloo campus, whether that's on a guided tour with one of our Laurier student ambassadors, on your own using virtual reality, or even on-demand through one of our pre-recorded tours. See our campus spaces and start to picture yourself at Laurier.

Interested in More Info?

Email choosemusic@wlu.ca, call 519.884.0710 x2492 or see all Music faculty and staff.