Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions

Music Therapy

Welcome to Music Therapy

Music therapy is defined broadly as the use of music in the treatment of people of all ages who have problems of a mental, physical, and/or emotional nature. Because of the large variety of problems clients experience and the breadth of possible uses of music, the profession of music therapy encourages specialization at the graduate level in both music therapy practice and training. NYU Steinhardt offers a Master of Arts Degree in Music Therapy. The music therapy program is approved by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and upon graduation qualifies a student to apply for national certification in music therapy (MT-BC). The program is approved by the New York State Education Department and qualifies the student for licensure in Creative Arts Therapy (LCAT) after graduation and 1500 hours of post graduate supervised practice.

The music therapy program attracts students from diverse cultural and academic backgrounds to study and apprentice with leading professionals in music psychotherapy. Classes are small, and students are encouraged to develop their particular specialization in music psychotherapy during the program.  At the core of our program is clinical training: the New York metropolitan area offers rich opportunities for clinical observation and internships in facilities such as medical and psychiatric hospitals, prisons, schools and centers for special needs children, rehabilitation centers, and treatment centers for the homeless, elderly, and terminally ill, among others.

Professor Barbara Hesser, CMT, LCAT, FAMI, Program Director, is assisted in training by an internationally recognized clinical faculty. All of the faculty are practicing music therapists who bring a rich and diverse understanding of clinical work to their teaching. In addition to teaching courses, they are active in their clinical practice, professional writing and research, and serve the professional music therapy association (AMTA) in many capacities. This dedication to ongoing clinical, professional and creative work is an important philosophy (read our mission statement here) of our program. In addition to the regular required coursework, these professionals offer workshops to students throughout the year; which allow students to learn more about various music psychotherapy specializations, such as the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM), Analytical Music Therapy (AMT), Nordoff-Robbins music therapy, and others.

The Nordoff-Robbins Center, located around the corner from the NYU music therapy department, offers NYU music therapy students a unique opportunity to gain entry level music therapy skills and advanced competencies with a specialization in the Nordoff-Robbins approach. Center staff teach in the program and provide clinical supervision as well. Nordoff-Robbins publications, research, and clinical material are embedded into the curriculum of the Masters Music Therapy program. The on-site location affords daily interaction both at the formal and informal levels between Center staff, program faculty and music therapy masters students. Our unique relationship with this center provides our students with some of the most current and innovative clinical and research practices today.

For more information, please contact: 1-212-998-5452 or