Diploma Course in Clinical Music Therapy

  • The Music Therapy Academy
  • Programme Outline
  • Entry Requirements Specific to the Programme
  • The Diploma course aims to:
  • Clinical Contexts in Music Therapy

The Music Therapy Academy is home to India’s clinical music therapy training programme, offering a Diploma in Clinical Music Therapy. This 1 year, full-time training programme provides students with the professional skills required to become qualified in this specialised profession following successful completion of their training. In addition, it offers supervision to students coming from international Music Therapy degree programmes to conduct 6-12 month internships in music therapy.
The Music Therapy Academy also serves as the National Resource Centre for a wide spectrum of professionals and laypersons throughout India and abroad. It offers services and information to: medical doctors, nurses and health professionals, teachers, artists, corporations, parents, carers, national and international students seeking career advice, the general public and the media. As a National Resource Centre, The Music Therapy Academy is involved in a wide variety of community and national educational programmes and projects year-round.

The Music Therapy Trust was formed as a Registered Charity No. E22876 in India in 2006. Its purpose is to provide a professional Diploma training programme for Indian musicians and health professionals in clinical music therapy. The first programme began in October 2007 in partnership with Action For Autism with the students completing their studies in August 2008.

Students are guided systematically through a series of carefully designed steps towards professional competence, initially focusing on the clinical context of music therapy and music skills with an introduction to theory, moving towards the practical implementation of these skills through supported clinical practice. Essential to music therapy is the relationship between client and therapist. It is almost entirely based on improvisation - the music being the shared, spontaneous creation of client and therapist. Music therapy is a medium in which people may take steps towards developing their skills and abilities by virtue of relating, primarily in a non- verbal way, with others. The role of the therapist is to facilitate the patient's own progress towards increased well-being.

The programme is studied full-time, 3 terms over 12 months. The programme is designed to train musicians and health care professionals as music therapists with the ability and flexibility to practice professionally with a wide range of clients within the health system, education, social services or private sector. Since it is the Diploma which confers the professional qualification it is necessary to complete successfully all the modules pertaining to the programme.

Entry Requirements for the Diploma in Music Therapy are:

  • A high level of musical competence. Other subjects besides music are considered where music skills are demonstrably sufficient. Consideration is given to mature students without a degree who may have professional qualifications or work and life experience which is relevant and useful.
  • A professional standard of proficiency on an instrument or voice, together with some keyboard/guitar skills where piano is not the first study.
  • The potential to use musical skills in professional Music Therapy practice and the ability to communicate musically.
  • Maturity of personality and self awareness compatible with training as a therapist.
  • Some experience of working within a setting and with clients relevant to the programme is preferred (e.g. children and adults with learning disabilities and autism or mental health problems or medical illnesses).
  • Evidence of a good command of written and spoken English. All applicants are required to supply the names of two referees. References are always taken up prior to offering a place.
In addition to these requirements students must be prepared to enter mandatory individual personal therapy for one year of the training. All students are required to attend personal therapy sessions on a regular basis during their training with The Music Therapy Trust.

Attending personal therapy develops the students' understanding of their own conscious and uncurious thought processes. It facilitates self reflection and development, and supports the growth of the student as a therapist themselves.

Support from tutors is given if students require help to find a suitable therapist. Students should be aware that role play (as both client and therapist) is an important learning and teaching method in the training and will be expected to take part in this. Students must also be prepared to allow tutors to contact their General Physician or other medical doctor prior to, or during the course of the training should this be necessary. Students will be required to confirm their agreement with these requirements when they accept a place in the programme. These requirements link to the need to ensure student’s fitness to practice at all times during the training
Initial selection is made through submission of the application form, followed by an interview/audition, and submission of a short essay in English.

  1. Provide students with the knowledge, experience, skill and confidence to work as professional Music Therapists within a range of clinical settings.
  2. Give students a thorough grounding in several theoretical viewpoints relevant to the practice of Music Therapy.
  3. Give students an understanding of clients' therapeutic needs by means of clinical studies in related disciplines.
  4. Extend students’ musical skills and facilitate an understanding of how these can be used to meet the therapeutic needs of clients.
  5. Provide students with appropriate clinical placements in accordance with India’s standards of education and training, with adequate supervision within the programme, and to develop students’ capacity to provide a Music Therapy service in institutional settings
  6. Provide students with an environment that facilitates self-development appropriate to work as a therapist, and to develop students’ abilities to reflect their role of Music Therapy practitioners.
  7. Provide students with an understanding of basic research and research methodologies of common relevance to the unique field of the Arts Therapies.
  8. Enable students to research their own practice and to relate this to the wider discipline of Music Therapy.

The clinical context aims to provide an understanding of music therapy practice in various clinical contexts. Specific areas of focus will be Childhood Development; Autism; and Intellectual and Physical Disabilities. This will be linked to relevant psychology and music therapy theory that will be introduced systematically.

The Indian context, traditional Indian healing systems, and how they relate to current music therapy practice will be explored through targeted and incidental lecture topics.

Students will be asked to participate in case study and academic paper reviews, and experiential activities designed to develop the therapeutic reflective skills necessary for working as a music therapist. This provides the foundations for working as an informed and knowledgeable clinical music therapist in different areas of practice.

Students will be introduced to core improvisational techniques and develop a musical understanding of supportive music therapy interventions within a clinical context. This will emphasize an understanding of improvisation beyond musical expression alone, to foster an understanding of why and how it can be used to address therapeutic goals in clinical settings.

All students will work towards developing a proficient standard of instrumental and vocal competence designed to build students’ musical resources.

The Course provides an understanding of music therapy practice in various clinical contexts. Specific areas of focus will be medical and health contexts, and trauma. Diagnostic information, examples from clinical practice and background to specific practice areas will be linked to relevant psychology and music therapy theory that will be introduced systematically.

The Course introduces the theoretical foundations informing music therapy practice from a variety of relevant perspectives. This theory is drawn primarily from psychology, with aspects incorporated from sociology, anthropology, medicine, musicology and education.

Students will participate in case study and academic paper reviews, sourcing and presentation of diagnostic information, and experiential activities. These are designed to develop the therapeutic reflective skills necessary for working as a music therapist. This provides the foundations for working as an informed and knowledgeable clinical music therapist in different areas of practice.

The Course is designed to build the students’ ability in critical evaluation of literature and media information about topics relevant to music therapy, and the students’ ability to communicate their critique constructively and articulately.

Students will work with patients in a clinical setting arranged by The Music Therapy Trust. Work with patients will be supervised either on site by the qualified music therapist working in this setting.

Students Supervision forms an essential part of the training process - where the student reflects on his/her clinical work with a qualified music therapist, receiving guidance and support during the therapeutic process. Insight into personal and group processes is a cornerstone of clinical practice.

Students will develop the professional skills required to enter the workforce as clinical music therapists. This covers a variety of areas, from the individual motivations of the therapist, to the practical skills required to function effectively in the workplace, to the discipline specific practices and procedures that ensure quality and efficacy of the profession.