Music Therapy: Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the common questions asked by potential students. If you have any additional questions, please email

What percentage of alumni find subsequent employment in music therapy?

Most students who graduated last year have found employment. Some of this work is part time. Several of last year’s students have created their own work – in schools, day centres etc. Some students choose to work part time whilst maintaining other work (such as performing or teaching).

How competitive is it to get onto the course?

We receive approximately 50 applications each year. Preparing thoroughly is important in order to ensure that you have the required skills, abilities and experience (see the application pack).

Are there any scholarships unique to this course, and if so what is success in application based on (ie musical ability or academic prowess)? Are there any other sources of funding you can recommend?

There are no bursaries given by the University. There is a small award (£1,000 for 2 students) given once students are on the course, on the basis of need. There is a bursary given through BAMT (see for this, and also as a good source of information about music therapy). Students do find funding through charities (often local).

Are most students classically trained, and is it an issue if I am not?

The majority of students are classically trained, however, we accept students from other backgrounds and do encourage you not to let a non traditional background dissuade you from applying. As well as a high level of musicianship we also look for an ability to play in different styles/ways, and to use music communicatively and sensitively.

What level should first-instrument musicianship be? Should this be, for instance, grade 8 or post-conservatoire/ professional?

Usually, our students have a music degree or have been to music college. However, some students have come through a non-traditional music route and are able to show through their performance that they have a high level of musical skill.

Is it required that students play a second instrument, and if so what level does proficiency is needed?

Most students have a second instrument but if piano is your first study instrument, it is not required. Keyboard skills are required, and confidence with voice. Melody instruments/voice are encouraged as first study instruments.

What level of keyboard skills are required?

At least grade 5 (most students play at a higher level than this).

What is the deadline for applications?

We do not have a deadline. However, we review applications, interview and offer places throughout April, May and June (and sometimes into July). Therefore applications are most usefully submitted before Easter (March is ideal).

What should I include on my application?

Please read the "Your application" tab on the MA Music Therapy course page, prior to completing your application. Musical requirements, as well as a personal statement, make up a part of your application. Full details can be found on the course page. 

When are auditions held?

On Wednesdays in April, May, June and sometimes July.

Could you provide me with some details on the audition?

We ask for 2 pieces on first study, 1 on piano and 1 on voice. Then there is a series of questions relating to different areas of the course, and at the end of the interview, some improvisation. There is also a group audition (with other candidates) that gives further opportunities to use your music.