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Instruments at the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy

Level I On-site Certification

The Nordoff-Robbins Center offers an advanced training program for credentialed music therapists leading to certification as a Level I Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapist. The training is clinically based and unique in its concentration on the creative application of music and the development of musical resources for clinical practice. Video recording and comprehensive documentation of every session is standard practice, and provides trainees with a modality for supervision and self-evaluation.

For the On-site Certification track, candidates conduct sessions in group and individual music therapy, have weekly supervision and attend seminars in clinical improvisation, Nordoff-Robbins clinical theory, and group music therapy. In addition there is a weekly Certification seminar. The certification training runs from approximately September 1 to June 30 each year.


This training is open to those music therapists with a master's degree in music therapy. Those who possess an undergraduate degree in music therapy and are enrolled in a music therapy master's program may also be eligible to train. It is essential that certification candidates have prior clinical experience. Certification candidates are expected to have already utilized improvisation in their clinical work.

The interview-audition for this level serves to assess a candidate's capacity to fulfill the requirements of advanced training. In some instances it may be necessary to assign a candidate supplemental course work within the NYU music therapy master's program. Please note: The length of the training is typically one year but the need for continuing supervision may require clinical practice at the Center to be extended further in order to attain certification standards.

On-site Training Course Components:

1. Clinical Practice

Candidates will participate in the following clinical and related activities: individual and group music therapy with experiences as primary therapist and co-therapist; video/audio documentation (indexing) and analysis of therapy sessions; conferences with parents of child clients; communication with professionals involved in clients' treatment; report writing; development of video technique in filming and producing clinical oriented video recordings of therapy sessions; compilation of video excerpts and/or research studies of music therapy processes; presentation of one case study of individual therapy including video examples and spoken commentary.

2. Supervision

Candidates have a clinical supervisor with whom they meet for a minimum of one hour of individual supervision each week. At times, the trainee and supervisor will conduct clinical work as a team. Supervision is used to facilitate the candidate's integration of the various experiences in Nordoff-Robbins coursework and clinical work. Support is offered in a variety of areas: musical skill-building and enhanced listening ability through review of audio/video recordings; addressing clinical issues emerging from sessions; and, processing personal reactions and their emergence in music.

3. Seminars

Our training program is unique in its comprehensive focus on the clinical application of music and the development of musical resources. In addition to clinical work, there are instructional seminars, which meet weekly:

  • Clinical Improvisation

    • Clinical Improvisation focuses on developing musical resources and practical skills, studying various musical styles, idioms and forms. Goals include increasing responsiveness and learning to improvise with a sense of compositional form and clinical intention. Individual reactions to music, as well as students' personal musical styles, will be explored.
  • Foundations of Nordoff-Robbins Theory and Practice

    • This seminar covers a variety of topics that address various components of practice in Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy, including writing music-centered goals, learning and analyzing published musical repertoire in the Nordoff-Robbins tradition, clinical composition for individual and group therapy, working in a co-therapy model, indexing (reflective review of recorded sessions), and facilitating group therapy.
  • Certification Seminar

    • Certification Seminar provides participants with an opportunity to share excerpts of their ongoing work and receive practical feedback on their clinical-musical interventions. This seminar also uses critical texts from the Nordoff-Robbins literature, including Creative Music Therapy: A Guide to Fostering Clinical Musicianship (Nordoff and Robbins) and Paths of Development in Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy (Aigen) to guide analysis and study of seminal NRMT case studies and concepts.

Level I Application and Interview

Learn more about the Level I application and interview process.

Certification Fees

Learn about all fees for the Level 1 Certification in Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy