Music Therapy

Lalene Kay, MT-BC, Chair of Music Therapy Department
(440) 826-2368,

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Transform your passion for helping others into a compelling career that puts you at the center of a rewarding profession as a music therapist.

Music therapists are health professionals who utilize music within a therapeutic relationship to address the physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of individuals.

Baldwin Wallace's music therapy program will help you acquire the knowledge, skills, technical competencies and professional perspectives to prepare for a meaningful career.

Your studies will include comprehensive, rigorous coursework and practical experiences. The program conforms to the guidelines set by the American Music Therapy Association.

Real-world experience is key. At BW, you'll be participating in field experiences beginning in your sophomore year. You'll have three semesters of direct client contact in a one-to-one setting. The culmination of your studies is a six-month, full-time music therapy internship.

Small classes, personalized attention and faculty mentoring are at the forefront of the program. BW's faculty-student ratio is 7:1 for the Conservatory of Music.

BW faculty are established professionals with real-world experience, impressive credentials and networking connections. They bring decades of experiences to the classroom, studio and clinical settings.

Career Opportunities

Board-certified (MT-BC) music therapists may work in a variety of clinical and independent settings that include:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Group homes
  • Rehabilitation center
  • Public schools
  • Mental health institutions
  • Hospice

Equivalency Program

Baldwin Wallace offers the option of an equivalency program in music therapy to individuals already possessing a music degree (at least at the bachelor's level) from a recognized institution. In this non-degree program, a student completes all music therapy core courses as well as non-music courses required by the American Music Therapy Association. After completing all coursework and the six-month internship, the equivalency student is then eligible to sit for the national certification exam administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists.

Cleveland Music Therapy Consortium

Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music and The College of Wooster comprise the Cleveland Music Therapy Consortium. This association was the first music therapy degree offered in Northeastern Ohio and was the first in the nation involving a cooperative arrangement among educational institutions.

All-Steinway School

BW is closing in on achieving the elite All-Steinway School designation for its Conservatory of Music. Once accomplished, BW will join a prestigious list of 11 conservatories worldwide that boast this renowned classification. The addition of 88 Steinway pianos will further elevate your learning experience by having lessons and performance opportunities on the same quality instruments that are the standard in concert halls worldwide.

Vibrant Facility Engages Students

Striking Boesel Musical Arts Center is a picturesque four-building complex that houses BW's Conservatory of Music. It's a seamless blend of historic architecture and modern design. The facility houses 50 soundproofed practice rooms, instructional space, practice studios and impressive rehearsal halls that can accommodate the latest technologies for teaching and performance.

Exceptional Learning Experiences

Innovation, excellence and outstanding hands-on learning and performance opportunities make Baldwin Wallace's Conservatory of Music a proven choice for students nationwide. The undergraduate-only Conservatory provides an exceptional learning environment for students to take lead roles in performing, conducting, managing and teaching. Alumni can be found at top graduate schools and working with the best orchestras, operas and theatres. Other alumni are employed in rewarding positions in teaching, arts management and music therapy.

Conservatory Students are Talented, Intelligent

BW Conservatory of Music students are achievers. Over the past three years, the average ACT score for incoming students was 26. The average SAT score was 590 for verbal and 570 for mathematics.


As a music therapy major, you'll graduate with a Bachelor of Music degree.

BW's music therapy major offers an outstanding foundation for students interested in immediate employment as well as graduate school. It can be studied as a single major or companion field of study for a double major. You can enhance your studies by adding a music emphasis to your major.

You'll study music theory, history and literature, tonal harmony, Solfège and more. You'll also take classes in psychology, sociology, education and other pertinent topics. Outside the classroom, you'll take private lessons and participate in a major ensemble and other performance activities.

As a music therapy student, you'll complete three semesters of direct client contact in a one-to-one setting at approved practicum sites – hospitals, nursing homes, adult day care centers, public schools, nonprofit agencies and other facilities.

The culmination of your studies is a six-month, full-time music therapy internship. Upon the completion of the required internship and conferral of a degree, you can take the national certification exam administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists.

After successful completion of the national certification exam, you will gain your certification.

Course descriptions, requirements for the major and additional information can be found in the University Catalog.

Special Degree Emphasis

Students can apply to participate in one of the Conservatory's emphasis programs. Music emphasis programs may be added to any Conservatory major to provide more intensive, focused and experiential study of a particular area of music. Emphasis such as those in chamber music, composition, conducting, jazz, music history, music theory, pedagogy (studio teaching) and sacred music provide superb opportunities for many students.

Master Classes

Master classes are an integral part of the education of every Conservatory student. Each year, BW brings to campus guest artists to interact with students. These include professional composers and performers.


Student success is a top priority. Small class sizes, individual attention and faculty mentoring are at the core of BW's Conservatory of Music programs.

With more than 325 events a year, Baldwin Wallace's Conservatory of Music offers an impressive array of performance opportunities.

Impressive Performance Opportunities

Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music has outstanding campus performance traditions and collaborations with regional and national organizations. A few examples include:

  • Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival
    The three-day campus event is the oldest collegiate Bach Festival in the country. It features lectures, BW performance groups, faculty members and renowned professional soloists and musicians. Baldwin Wallace students consider the unusual opportunity of participating, as colleagues, with world-class professionals a high point in their performing experience. The festival is evolving to include year-round events, such as Bach Haus, that explore Bach's influence on a broad spectrum of music.
  • FOCUS Festival of Contemporary Music
    The biennial festival features the music of a contemporary composer who visits Baldwin Wallace for a week-long residency. At the conclusion of the week's rehearsals and symposia, the composer's music is performed in a series of concerts, including large ensembles and chamber groups.
  • Art Song Festival
    BW Conservatory of Music is home to this week-long biennial event that brings international concert artists, singers and pianists to campus. The festival focuses on the unique relationship between singer and pianist in the performance of art song repertoire. It provides an opportunity to hear renowned artists in both recital and master classes.

Co-Curricular Activities

Personally and professionally rewarding, student organizations and activities foster career skills, leadership and teamwork. Opportunities for music therapy majors include:

  • SMART Program
    The SMART (Shaping Music And Reading Together) Program is a student-run initiative at Baldwin Wallace that uses musical activities to improve reading skills in young children. It is a collaboration between the Conservatory music education and music therapy departments. Its mission is to strengthen the reading fluency, social skills and cultural diversity awareness of small children through a creative musical experience.
  • Cleveland Student Music Therapists
    The purpose of this organization is to provide a forum in which students may share their ideas about music therapy. It is open to all music therapy majors within the Cleveland Music Therapy Consortium.
  • Ohio Collegiate Music Education Association (OCMEA)
    This association prepares pre-service teachers to be holistic educators by arranging professional development, leadership and networking opportunities designed to help members be successful.

Learning Resources

At Baldwin Wallace, student learning experiences are enhanced by exceptional resources that include:

  • Riemenschneider Bach Institute
    The institute houses rare items related to J.S. Bach and his circle, as well as historical reference materials, scores and a collection of classic recordings. It has one of the nation's most impressive holdings of Baroque manuscripts and first editions. It attracts scholars from around the world.
  • Ferne Patterson Jones Memorial Music Library
    A valuable campus resource, the library offers 18,000 scores, 7,000 books, and more than 10,000 sound and video recordings. Online resources to which the library subscribes include over one million tracks of streaming audio and video. Help with research is available by appointment, on a walk-in basis or through email.


At Baldwin Wallace, you'll experience personal and professional growth in a supportive community that challenges and inspires you to succeed.

BW Music Therapy Majors Find Success:

Claire Schad '16 traveled abroad to Jamaica, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria to gain insights into the study of music therapy through different cultures. In addition to working hands on with children and adults to learn new music therapy techniques, she observed music therapists, drama therapists and art therapists.

Jaclyn Ford '15 attended joint lectures with German students at Heidelberg University in Germany that challenged her to look at the practice of music therapy from a different perspective. She also attended the World Congress of Music Therapy in Krems, Austria, and met the music therapists whose research she studied.

Natalie Young '15 spent three summers as a clarinetist in the Ohio Light Opera Orchestra, a resident company of the College of Wooster. BW's connections with the Cleveland Music Therapy Consortium helped her land a volunteer position as a student music therapist at the Wooster Community Hospital while in the orchestra.

Sam Sinai '12 is an independent music therapist in Whidbey Island, WA. She recently released a cello relaxation CD and presents workshops on music and holistic wellness. The knowledge and experience she gained at BW allows her to bring music therapy to her clients in an accessible, healing and meaningful way.


Lalene DyShere Kay, ACC, MT-BC
Director of the Cleveland Music Therapy Consortium
M.M., (Music Therapy) Michigan State University
B.M., (Music Therapy) Ohio University

Edie Steiner
Lecturer of Music Therapy
M.Ed., (Special Education) Grand Canyon University
B.M., (Music Therapy) Baldwin Wallace University

Karen DiRienzo