Music Therapy Program

What is 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. -The American Music Therapy Association

Music therapy interventions can be designed to:

  • promote wellness
  • manage stress
  • alleviate pain
  • express feelings
  • enhance memory
  • improve communication
  • promote physical rehabilitation

About Us

Eastern Michigan University has been educating and training music therapists since 1976. Believed to be one of the Nation's most rigorous undergraduate programs in Music Therapy, EMU's graduates go on to positions in hospitals, psychiatric units, school districts, hospices, community mental health settings and private practices. Many graduates go on to graduate school or obtain advanced practice certifications.


EMU's 40-credit-hour Music Therapy concentration includes:

  • four semesters of clinical improvisation
  • methods and materials with children and adult populations
  • Psychology of Music with an emphasis on cognitive neuroscience
  • Music Therapy research
  • professional skills including website development
  • over 200 hours of pre-internship clinical training
  • at least 900 hour internship following the completion of coursework

Admission and Audition Information

As a music therapy student in EMU’s nationally-known program, one of only two in the state, you can get the skills and training you need to conduct the clinical and evidence-based power of music inventions to help a variety of people with special needs. Your studies in this program will include coursework, performance and 1,200 hours of clinical training that will make you eligible to sit for the national Music Therapist board certification examination. Our Bachelor of Music Therapy program is fully approved by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).

More information about the application process.

Music Therapy Interview

There are several purposes for the Music Therapy Interview. One of the most important reasons is for potential music therapy students and the Music Therapy faculty to meet, and begin to get to know each other.

During the interview, students will be asked to:

  • Explain their interest in music therapy.
  • Talk about any volunteer (music or non-music) experiences they may have had with people who have or don’t have special needs.
  • Perform on their principal instruments (this is in addition to playing an audition for the applied music faculty).
  • Sight-sing (even if they have never done this before). The sight-singing part of the interview gives the faculty an opportunity to assess vocal skills and to make recommendations.
  • Play the piano, if they already know how to play (no matter the level).
  • Ask questions about the Music Therapy Program at EMU.

Applicants must also submit a three-page double-spaced essay on the topic of “Why I wish to pursue a degree (or certificate) in music therapy”. Include your personal perspectives and motivations as well as your current understanding of the field of music therapy and how you see yourself within the field. All essays to be saved as a word (.doc or .docx) document and sent as an attachment to Dr. Theresa Merrill, director of music therapy, at [email protected]. Music Therapy Admission essays are due no later than one week prior to your chosen audition date. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Theresa Merrill.

Have more questions? Take a look at Frequently Asked Questions [PDF].

Contact Us

For information on the EMU Music Therapy Program:

For information on the Music Therapy Center:

  • Prof. Debra Gombert, MT-BC, clinical coordinator of music therapy
    [email protected] | 734.487.6734