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Barbara Hesser

Associate Professor of Music Therapy

Music and Performing Arts Professions

(212) 998-5452

Barbara Hesser is the former director of the Music Therapy program at NYU Steinhardt. She coordinated the master's and doctoral degree programs, was the Program Director of the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Center, and is the program liaison for Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) Training. In addition to her teaching responsibilities at NYU, she has given courses, workshops, and lectures in many countries throughout the world.

Professionally, Professor Hesser served the American Association for Music Therapy (AAMT) as president, vice president, co-chairman of the Education and Training Committee, editor of the first AAMT journal Music Therapy, and as a member of the editorial board of that journal for 15 years. She was also a member of the Commission on Education and Training for the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). She has served as a founding member and publicity chairman of the World Federation of Music Therapy. Among her publications, she has co-authored the “Essential Competencies for the Practice of Music Therapy,” which has been used by AAMT, CAMT, and now the AMTA as a document for standards of education and training in the profession. Professor Hesser maintains a music therapy private practice and is a Fellow in Guided Imagery and Music (GIM). She is a board member and vice president of Creative Arts as a Global Resource, Inc. In this capacity, she is one of the directors of the "Music as a Global Resource Initiative," an initiative in collaboration with the International Council for Caring Communities (ICCC), UN Habitat and other UN partners, and co-editor of Music as a Global Resource Compendium: Solutions for Social and Economic Issues, 3rd Edition released in January 2011.

Selected Publications

  • Hesser, B. (2014). Music therapy group: Self-experience in a university setting. In K. Bruscia (Ed.), Self-experiences in music therapy education, training and supervision (pp.171-182). Gilsum, NH: Barcelona Publishers.
  • Hesser, B. & Heinemann, H. (Eds.). 2011. Music as a Global Resource: Solutions for Social and Economic Issues, Third Edition. United Nations Headquarters, NYC. 
  • Hesser, B. (2002). Supervision of music therapy students in a music therapy graduate program. In J. Eschen (Ed.), Analytic music therapy(pp.157-168). Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  • Hesser, B. (2001). The transformative power of music in our lives: A personal perspective. Music Therapy Perspectives19 (1), 53-59.
  • Bruscia, K., Hesser, B., & Boxill, E. H. (1981). Essential competencies for the practice of music therapy. Music Therapy1, 43-49.


Music Therapy

Music Therapy at NYU Steinhardt helps you combine your love of music and your commitment to helping others for a rewarding professional career.

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