Music Therapy

Welcome to the Music Therapy Program at Western Illinois University

The Music Therapy Program at Western Illinois University is one of only 2 universities in Illinois that offers a bachelor's degree or a Second Bachelor's degree (aka equivalency) in music therapy. The music therapy degree program started in 1974 and has flourished over the last decade. Western's School of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and our music therapy program is approved by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). Students who complete the bachelor of music in music therapy at WIU are eligible to sit for the Certification Exam for Music Therapists in order to become a Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) credentialed by CBMT (Certification Board for Music Therapists). Faculty and students are actively involved in the Illinois Association for Music Therapists.

You will study with highly qualified fulltime music therapy faculty with diverse skills and abilities. Dr. Jennifer D. Jones and Dr. Eileen Garwood are both Board Certified Music Therapists with an array of clinical practice, college teaching, and research experience. You will be both supported and challenged on your journey to becoming a music therapist.

Just in case you aren't completely sure what music therapy is, a brief description is provided. Music therapy is an established healthcare profession (since 1950) wherein trained professionals provide music experiences to help recipients (patients, students with special needs, older adults and others) improve in functional areas of life. For example, music therapists may work with patients in medical hospitals to reduce pain through receptive music therapy and music assisted relaxation or to improve their coping skills through therapeutic songwriting. Music therapists may compose songs to assist children in learning academic content or attention skills, use therapeutic singing to help a person recover speech after a stroke, or create musical legacy projects with persons and families facing the end of life in hospice care. The training at Western Illinois is broad and introduces the music therapy student to a wide range of clinical populations, music experiences and techniques, and theoretical models. Music therapy is the amalgam of music and helping – if you been looking for a career that combines these two – this is it.