To choose the best music therapy courses, it probably is a good idea to determine your goals. For individuals who are interested in becoming professional music therapists, the best courses are those that are part of an accredited music therapy program. Prior to practicing as a therapist, individuals also may need to pass a certification exam offered by an organization such as the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). Individuals who are preparing for this test might take courses that help them to gain a better grasp of exam material. Factors such as cost of tuition and prestige of a program also may be important when choosing music therapy courses.
Music therapy describes the use of music to treat individuals who might be suffering from emotional, mental, or sociological problems. Techniques used by music therapists vary greatly. Some may encourage patients to compose and play music, while others might encourage patients to listen to music and to discuss feelings or images they have while listening. Music therapy courses are any classes an aspiring music therapist can take to prepare for professional certification, though courses also might be offered to individuals without career aspirations who wish only to learn about this kind of therapy.
In most cases, the best music therapy courses for an aspiring professional are those offered by an accredited music therapy program. It is important that the courses you take are part of a program that is recognized by an official association in your region. For example, aspiring therapists in the United States only should take courses that are accredited by the American Music Therapy Association.
If you have already earned your therapist certification, but would like to pursue further scholarship of music therapy, the best music therapy courses might be those in a master's or doctorate program. In most instances, these courses are offered by music programs, though in some cases they might be part of psychology or social work programs. Prior to applying to a graduate program, it is advisable that you research faculty interests, research opportunities, and possible concentrations.
It is common for aspiring music therapy professionals to consider the cost and prestige of music therapy courses. College and postgraduate courses can be expensive, so many students choose programs where they can apply for financial aid, such as scholarships and grants. These are forms of financial assistance which often do not have to be repaid after graduation. Factors such as faculty qualifications, selectivity, and opportunities for internships can impact the prestige of a program.