Master of Music Therapy

Course M04AA (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Year and Campus: 2013 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 055550D
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 200 credit points taken over 24 months full time. This course is available as full or part time.


Dr Katrina McFerran, Head of Music Therapy


Contact Centre

T: 13 MELB (6352)

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
VCA and MCM Student Centre


Course Overview:

The Master of Music Therapy (MMusThrp) provides a course of study for those people who have completed a Bachelor's degree and also have a high level of formal music training. The course provides a thorough study of the theory and practice of music therapy.

The Master of Music Therapy coursework degree is 2 years full-time. Part-time study may be undertaken only with the approval of the Course Coordinator. On satisfactory completion of the MMusThrp, graduates will be eligible for Registration as Music Therapists (RMT) with the Australian Music Therapy Association (Inc.).

ON CAMPUS MODE Delivery for Melbourne-based students:

Subjects are tuahgt via a combination of weekly lectures, intensive teaching periods and through regular participation in clinical placements (minimum 80 days in total across the two years, approximately 20 days per semester). The course requirements are full time and limited time is available for undertaking additional work commitments.

BLENDED LEARNING (Intensive/Online) Delivery for Interstate Students:

The Master of Music Therapy (coursework) degree will be also offered through "Blended Learning" delivery, which combines online and intensive-mode teaching. This will enable students in States of Australia where there is no available course to undertake music therapy training, subject to the availability of suitable clinical placements.

The Blended Learning version of the course covers all subjects offered in the traditional on-campus mode: Theoretical subjects (i.e. Applications, Research and Thesis subjects) will be offered via online delivery; Music Therapy Skills subjects will be taught in intensive mode; Clinical Training will be carried out in the student’s home state where suitable supervision from a qualified Music Therapist is available, and research tutorials will be incorporated into the intensive teaching blocks.

Students enrolled in the Blended Learning mode will be required to travel to Melbourne twice per semester - the first time approximately at or before the beginning of semester, and the second around mid-semester.

The Blended Learning mode has been approved by the University of Melbourne, and the Education Committee of AMTA.


On completion of the Master of Music Therapy, students should:

  • Be able to understand and identify, use and evaluate concepts and principles of music therapy and the various theories that underpin the practice of music therapy;
  • Have acquired the skills in musicianship and the advanced knowledge of music styles and idioms, including improvisation, which will enable them to direct creative music activities for clients within the music therapy context;
  • Have acquired skills in the assessment, design, implementation and evaluation of music therapy programs in a diverse range of clinical/special education settings;
  • Understand relevant clinical conditions and the application of music as a treatment/special education modality;
  • Be able to carry out independent research and analysis into music therapy and to think creatively about issues arising in their practice;
  • Appreciate the ethical responsibilities of music therapists in health and special education facilities and to the individuals within those facilities;
  • Be committed to enhancing the well being of clients.
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

Students in both Blended Learning and On Campus modes undertake the subjects listed below - please follow individual subject links for detailed information regarding the requirements for each group of students.

Subject Options:

The full-time course structure is as follows:

YEAR 1 - Semester One

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2013

Total points for Semester One = 50.0

YEAR 1 - Semester Two

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2013

Total points for Semester Two = 50.0

YEAR 2 - Semester One

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2013

Total points for Semester One = 50.0

YEAR 2 - Semester Two

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2013

Total points for Semester Two = 50.0

Total points for Course = 200.0

Entry Requirements:

To be accepted into the Master of Music Therapy course, applicants must have:

  • A Bachelor of Music or Bachelor of Music Education degree (or equivalent), of at least three years duration, OR
  • A Bachelor degree in an allied field (e.g. teaching, occupational therapy, nursing etc.) plus a high standard of achievement in music performance (equivalent to 8th grade A.M.E.B), music history (equivalent to at least one-year study at tertiary level), and in music theory (equivalent to at least 5th grade A.M.E.B.).
  • All applicants must have successfully completed at least two Psychology units at tertiary level.
  • It is strongly recommended that applicants have some experience of working with people with special needs and have observed music therapy in practice. This experience will enhance the applicant's presentation at interview.

Application Procedure

Further details regarding how to apply are available via the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music website:

There is no quota but numbers are limited by the availability of clinical training sites.

Applications must also include: an audition tape/CD; an example of academic writing; and 3 written references (details below).

Audition CD

An audition CD is required for all applicants. The purpose of an audition CD is to enable assessment of the applicant's music performance ability and the level of musicianship.

  • The audition CD must comprise six pieces of contrasting styles. Three of these may be a combination of classical pieces, jazz, improvisatory work etc. or a range of classical pieces representative of different periods: e.g. Baroque, Classical, Romantic or Contemporary.
  • In addition, evidence of vocal skill must be provided by singing three songs (composed song, popular song or folk song) accompanied by the applicant on guitar (including first position chords; bar chords; bass runs; various accompanying styles such as strumming and picking techniques, and tonal improvisation techniques).

The audition CD must carry a label with the statement 'I certify that this is a bona fide CD of my performance' with the name of the applicant, and duly signed and dated. In the case of any doubt as to the authenticity of the audition CD, the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music reserves the right to audition applicants further before final admission to the course.


Three references are required on the appropriate reference form: one character reference, one academic reference, and one from a person who can attest to the applicant's musical ability. These forms should be completed by persons who have known the applicant for at least one year.

Example of Academic Writing

Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in academic writing, by submitting three thousand words that demonstrate an ability to review and critique literature and use a consistent referencing style. You are welcome to submit a piece of writing from previous study or this may be a literature review of music therapy with a specified client group. You may be required to discuss this writing in the audition.


An audition/interview will be required for all applicants as part of the selection procedure. At the audition, the applicant will be asked to play one piece from the three presented on the audition CD and to sing one of three songs with their own guitar accompaniment. Instrumentalists must provide their own accompanists. Applicants should bring their own guitar, tuned, in order to sing one of the songs.

Interviews are usually held in early/mid-November. Phone interviews can be organised for Interstate and International applicants as necessary.

At the interview, applicants will be asked to discuss their interest in the study of music therapy and any relevant experience.

Applicants should be prepared to discuss their perceptions and understanding of music therapy at the interview. Applicants are strongly advised to observe qualified music therapists as they engage with clients of different ages and with different conditions/needs. A list of facilities that have agreed to take applicants on observation is available by emailing the Coordinator of Clinical Training, Jacinta Calabro on

Applicants should also research information on Music Therapy from prominent sites, such as:
The Australian Music Therapy Assocation:
The American Music Therapy Association:
Voices - A World Forum for Music Therapy:

The following text book is also strongly recommended:
Davis, W., Gfeller, K., & Thaut, M. (1999). An Introduction to Music Therapy Theory and Practice. 2nd edition. McGraw-Hill

Police Checks

Changes have been made to the procedures under which many of the external organisations host clinical placements and students are required to have obtained a police check as to their suitability to undertake such placements. Students are required to undergo, at their own expense and arrangement, a police check prior to the commencement of their course. Please note: A Police Check is not required at time of application.

Core Participation Requirements:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting the requirements of this course are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit.

Graduate Attributes:

University of Melbourne postgraduate coursework degrees seek to develop graduates who demonstrate a capacity for contemporary professional practice and/or specialist knowledge and theory. Postgraduate coursework degrees have multiple purposes. They are designed to provide students with the opportunity for advanced knowledge and understanding in a specialist area; to enhance professional knowledge and skills; and to engage with new and emerging fields of study.

Professional Accreditation:

Graduates of the Master of Music Therapy course are eligible for Registration as Music Therapists (RMT) with the Australian Music Therapy Association (Inc.).

Generic Skills:

The University expects its postgraduate coursework graduates to have the following qualities and skills:

  • An advanced understanding of the changing knowledge base in the specialist area;
  • An ability to evaluate and synthesise the research and professional literature in the discipline
  • Advanced skills and techniques applicable to the discipline;
  • Well-developed problem-solving abilities in the discipline area, characterised by flexibility of approach;
  • Advanced competencies in areas of professional expertise and/or scholarship;
  • A capacity to articulate their knowledge and understanding in oral and written presentations;
  • An advanced understanding of the international context and sensitivities of the specialist area;
  • An appreciation of the design, conduct and reporting of original research;
  • A capacity to manage competing demands on time, including self-directed project work;
  • A profound respect for truth and intellectual integrity, and for the ethics of scholarship;
  • An appreciation of the ways in which advanced knowledge equips the student to offer leadership in the specialist area;
  • The capacity to value and participate in projects which require team-work;
  • An understanding of the significance and value of their knowledge to the wider community (including business and industry);
  • A capacity to engage where appropriate with issues in contemporary society; and
  • Where appropriate, advanced working skills in the application of computer systems and software and a receptiveness to the opportunities offered by new technologies.

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