Music Therapy Student Handbook


Welcome to the Alverno College Music Therapy Program, the third oldest music therapy training program in the United States. We are proud of our rich history and so excited for your future. The Alverno music therapy program combines an intentional balance of classroom education and clinical training combining musical and clinical foundational components in the liberal arts tradition. While here, it is our goal that you, the music therapy student, will connect classroom theory and real-world clinical application with a diverse group of music therapy professionals in the community. The seasoned faculty
at Alverno are passionate about the field of music therapy and are eager to share their varied career experiences while you train, feed your curiosity, and to support learning as you discover your individual career path.

Flourishing while you transform from student to professional music therapist is our goal. We believe you can achieve this by:

  • Demonstrating a willingness to learn and applying feedback from instructors, peers, and through self-assessment
  • Practicing responsibility for your learning and developing both independent and teamwork skills
  • Deepening personal inquiry through self-awareness and reflection and understanding that solutions usually have multiple approaches
  • Developing and applying expression of self in class, college, and clinical settings that has clarity and confidence
  • Recognizing relevance in academic and clinical experiences
  • Exploring a variety of ways music promotes health and development of skills
  • Engaging in all aspects of the training program with honesty and self-awareness
  • Investigating and breaking down complexities into smaller ideas or concepts as your personal philosophy evolves
  • Serving therapy recipients with commitment and ethical duty

The music therapy training program requires diligent and focused work. As a student emerging into professional practice it is our hope that you find your work deeply satisfying and committed to making a difference.


Since 1948, Alverno College has been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music and is approved by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) to offer clinical training in music therapy. The AMTA Standards for Education and Clinical Training informs and creates the foundation to ensure program quality for the emerging music therapist.


The mission of the Alverno College Music Therapy Program is to prepare students to deliver high quality music therapy services in a diverse and rapidly changing world.


Based on a rich tradition of student-centered academics and clinical experiences, students in the Alverno College Music Therapy Program will develop agility, critical thinking, and be prepared for a diverse array of professional opportunities.


We, the music therapy faculty at Alverno College, believe the focus of our work is the development of students who emerge as skilled music therapists possessing strong musicianship, a solid sense of therapeutic self and distinct professionalism. We create guided experiences, which specifically center on each student relating skills and abilities to personal and professional goals. We hope to prepare professionals who are ethical, proactive, competent, dedicated to lifelong learning principles, and able to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world.

As a faculty, we believe ability- and performance-based baccalaureate and equivalency music therapy education is the ideal preparation for the professional music therapist. Alverno faculty members have purposefully selected and defined eight abilities that reflect contemporary life requirements as the framework for the baccalaureate degree. Students in the music therapy program are immersed in a liberal arts framework that merges concepts from the natural and behavioral sciences and arts and humanities, with a strong focus on specialty areas of study in music, clinical and music therapy foundations. This integration provides the framework for client-centered music therapy practice, the foundation for scientific inquiry and research, ethical decision making, leadership in the practice and the profession of music therapy, and a commitment to lifelong learning.

A basic Alverno principle is that education goes beyond knowing to applying what one knows. Therefore, music therapy faculty members are committed to a process of outcome-oriented performance including public criteria, feedback, and self-assessment, which over time results in professional competence. Because self-awareness of one’s learning style and needs is a necessary characteristic of a successful professional, music therapy faculty focus significantly on the process of self-assessment. Students gain an appreciation of their evolving professional selves by reflecting on learning experiences, beliefs, feelings, and society’s expectations of music therapy. As accomplished learners, researchers, musicians, and clinicians, Alverno faculty members serve as role models of lifelong learning. Our goal is to promote a process of teaching and learning that provides guidance to students in the development of their career goals and music therapy practice.

Alverno Music Therapy Program Outcomes

An Alverno student with a major or equivalency in Music Therapy will be able to:

  1. Integrate music theory, knowledge of diversity in music, and musical leadership skills as a musician in a variety of settings. (Aesthetic Engagement L5 & 6)
  2. Effectively integrate music therapy theories in clinical practice, adhering to professional standards and ethics. (Analysis L5 & 6)
  3. Deliver quality music therapy services that are informed by assessment and evaluation, leading to intentional therapeutic action. (Problem Solving L5 & 6)
  4. Present self as a leader in clinical and community contexts. (Social Interaction L5 & 6)

Academic Advising
Typically, in the first year at Alverno, students receive dual advising where they are asked to meet with music therapy advisors and a representative from the Academic Advising department in the Advising Office, FO 121. This ensures additional support around the new music therapy student.

Faculty Advising
Once students have completed introductory courses in the college and completed equivalent requirements for ADV 299, they are officially transferred to faculty advising in accordance with AMTA Standards for Education and Clinical Training to their music therapy advisor.

Faculty advising consists of meeting at least one time mid-semester with assigned music therapy faculty to provide guidance for progression in the major. Additional meetings can be scheduled as needed outside of the advising period. The student is notified of their assigned faculty advisor through official communication from the Director of Music Therapy.

To prepare for advising / mid-semester planning meetings with your Advisor, students should bring

  • degree summary sheets,
  • a current copy of their Academic Evaluation,
  • a list of courses planned for the following semester,
  • questions regarding academic planning and
  • any concerns about the current semester.

Students who bring these items find their meeting to be more efficient and feel more confident about what courses to register for in the future.

Code of Ethics

As music therapy majors you are preparing to enter a professional field that carries certain foundations for quality, safety, and practice. Being a professional holds certain ethical responsibilities and we aspire to be as ethical as possible in communication, decision, and action. We, as a music therapy faculty, urge you to read the code of ethics adopted by the AMTA and adhered to by Alverno College Music Therapy Faculty. Students and faculty will also discuss the code in a variety of your classes. The code of ethics will serve as a model for your relationships with fellow students, faculty, clinical supervisors, clients, and community members. For more information follow the link to the AMTA website:

Faculty Contact Information

Becky Engen, Ph.D., MT-BC, Graduate Director of Music Therapy
414-382-6157 |
MUY 160 Orientation to Music Therapy
MUY 362 Psychology of Music Research

Leslie Henry, M.M., MT-BC, WMTR, Director of Undergraduate Music Therapy and Music Department Chair
414-382-6135 |
MUY 171 Clinical Experience & Lab: Geriatrics
MUY 361 Psychology of Music
MUY 363 Creative Music Making
MUY 462 Design and Application of Music Therapy
MUY 480 B Ethics
MUY 480 C Clinical Affiliation
MUY 129/ MUY 272L/ MUY 361L / MUY 472L Fall Music Therapy Lab
MUY 171L / MUY 273L/ MUY 362L / MUY 473L Spring Music Therapy Lab

Nancy Dexter - Schabow, M.M.T., MT-BC, WMTR
414-382-6756 |
MU 125 Weekend Workshop
MU 210 Improvisational Music
MUY 272/273 Clinical Experience & Lab: Developmental Disabilities
MUY 461 Theoretical Foundations of Music Therapy

Mary Stryck, M.S., MT-BC
414-382-6894 |
MUY 480 A MT Internship Applications and ITP

Makenzie Kojis, MT-BC
415-382-6841 |
MUY 472/473 Clinical Experience & Lab: Psycho/Emotional

Maintaining Good Standing in the Music Therapy Major

Absences from Courses

Since classes at Alverno involve active participation through discussions, small group or laboratory work, attendance is the lifeblood of our work. When you enroll in a course, success occurs when all course requirements including engagement in classroom work are met. We have a guideline that students will miss no more than two class periods per course, however, the benefit you receive in attending all will be magnified with full engagement. Our class sizes are small, when you are missing from class, a key aspect of our collective growth is also missing.

Additionally, consistent tardiness may be considered an absence, please strive to be on time as it can be distracting to peers and the classroom flow.

When extenuating circumstances arise, contact the instructor to make up missed work. Please email your instructor at least 30 minutes prior to a class if you have an emergency to make arrangements for alternative learning plans.

The Advising Office may serve as a contact point for students with exceptional circumstances such as surgeries, extended illnesses, jury duty, etc. Instructors may advise you to drop a course, or may decide that you are ineligible to continue attending a course if attendance has not been regular or you have missed the first class meeting. However, in both instances: If you choose to drop the course, legally
you are the only one who can officially drop the course. Do this by contacting the Registrar’s Office.

Academic Integrity

Students will benefit more from the classroom experience when they are ready to engage and fully prepared from assigned material. Strive to keep up with your material as much as possible. If you are having difficulty, it is the goal of the music faculty to support you, please tell us if you are having difficulty so we can connect you with resources.

At no time is it acceptable to use the information of other students or plagiarism. Please refer to Alverno College policies on Copyright, Academic Honesty and Professional Ethics found in the Policy and Procedures section of this Handbook.

Academic Status

The Committee on the Status of Students is responsible for reviewing the academic progress of each Alverno College student. During the semester and at the end of each semester, this committee reviews students who are demonstrating academic difficulty including: not successfully completing courses and/or external assessments and/or not demonstrating the abilities offered in courses or assessments. Descriptions of the four academic status decisions follow. Note: In general, the academic progress of students who do not successfully complete a course, ability level, or external assessment is
reviewed each semester until the student demonstrates satisfactory progress.

  • Good Standing - Students who successfully complete their courses and external assessments and demonstrate the abilities offered in these courses and assessments are in Good Standing.
  • Probation - In general, students who (a) are unsuccessful in one or more courses or 5-6 credits of coursework and/or (b) are unsuccessful in a core course for the major and/or (c) continue to be unable to successfully demonstrate successful progress are on academic probation. Instructors of a student on probation are requested to complete a Mid-Semester Progress Report on the student’s performance. These reports are emailed to the student and their Advisor.
  • Probation with Warning - When students continue to be unsuccessful in courses and/or continue to be unable to demonstrate successful progress, the college is concerned that the student may not be able to progress to graduation. The student is placed on probation with the warning that an unsuccessful next term may result in academic dismissal. Instructors of a student on probation with warning are requested to complete a Mid-Semester Progress Report regarding the student’s performance. These reports are e-mailed to the student and their advisor.
  • Academic Dismissal - If, in the judgment of the Student Status Committee, a student continues to be unsuccessful in courses, external assessments, or ability levels she/he may be dismissed from the college. Students in the Alverno Success Program, on Good Standing, Probation, or Probation with Warning may be dismissed.

For more information on Academic Status, please refer to the Alverno College Policies.

Dismissal from the Music Therapy Program
Students may be dismissed from the music therapy major for the following reasons:

  • Breaking confidentiality through verbal, written, or electronic communication of patient health information (PHI) from clinical experiences
  • Not successfully completing 2 consecutive core music therapy courses
  • Egregious behavior in violation of the AMTA Code of Ethics

Course Sequence

Students may review their progress in the Music Therapy Program by viewing their Academic Evaluation on IOL. A hard copy of the course sequence is given to each student by their Professional Advisor during their first or second semester advising meeting. Please direct any questions about the course sequence to your Music Therapy Advisor.

The Alverno Music Therapy Program is designed to follow the AMTA Standards for Education and Clinical Training Guidelines. Here is the template the standards document highlights:

Musical Foundations (45%)

  • Music Theory
  • Composition and Arranging
  • Music History and Literature
  • Applied Music Major
  • Ensembles
  • Conducting
  • Functional piano, guitar, percussion, and voice
  • Improvisation

Clinical Foundations (15%)

  • Exceptionality and psychopathology
  • Normal human development
  • Principles of therapy
  • The therapeutic relationship

Music Therapy (15%)

  • Foundations and principles
  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Methods and techniques
  • Pre-internship courses
  • Psychology of music
  • Music theory research
  • Influence of music behavior
  • Music therapy with various populations

General Education (20-25%)

  • English, math, social sciences, arts, humanities, physical sciences, etc.
Understanding Restrictions and Permits

Every class in the music therapy sequence has been carefully planned to provide learning experiences that are connected in a developmental way. Some classes state they have prerequisites. This is to help students learn developmentally. In some cases, students are advised to file a permit with the Registrar’s Office so that permission may be granted to waive a prerequisite or take a class under special circumstances.

Students should file a permit electronically to gain this special permission. The process is as follows:

  1. Go to Alverno website:
  2. Select Current Students link
  3. Select Office of Registrar
  4. Select Forms
  5. Under the Permits heading, select click here
  6. Enter your username and password
  7. There are three choices of permits
    1. General Permit (used for taking a prerequisite concurrently with a course)
    2. Permit to Take a Course Elsewhere (fill this out if you are an equivalency student and want credit on your transcript for the course you are taking at another institution)
    3. Independent Study (if this has been recommended for you)

Fill the form out to the best of your ability as completely as possible, if you have questions feel free to ask your advisor.

Course Mapping

Alverno College offers three paths to professional training in music therapy for eligibility to become a board certified music therapist: The Bachelor of Music- Music Therapy Therapy (BM), the Second Bachelor of Music - Music Therapy (BM) for individuals with a previous degree, or a Post-Baccalaureate Equivalency, for individuals with a previous degree who are not eligible for a degree from Alverno, through the Concordia University Consortium, or may be a better fit versus the second bachelor degree option.

All first-degree music therapy majors must also take the Alverno College General Education Course. All transfer students will be evaluated by the Registrar Office and if applicable the Alverno Music  Department for applicable transfer credits. You will be notified of both credits transferred and of remaining courses needed by your music therapy advisor.

Choir Requirement for Instrumental Specialists

Students who specialize in instrumental applied studies are required to take a minimum of two semesters of choir at the college to reinforce their vocal techniques. This ensemble will count toward the student’s ensemble requirement for graduation.

Private Lessons on Secondary Instruments

If you are interested in taking lessons on an instrument outside of your primary instrument, please see the Music Department Chair. Since studying a second instrument requires additional time commitment, consideration may be balanced against the student’s other time demands. When a student can demonstrate satisfactory progress to date and time availability for practice on more than one instrument, permission may be granted, subject to instructor availability. Preference of additional instrument study will be considered for student demonstration of functional skill in guitar, piano, and voice, in accordance with AMTA Professional Competencies.

Introduction to Advanced Work (MU 399)

This meeting may be scheduled either during the mid semester or final assessment period and is designed to help increase awareness of upper level abilities the music therapy program needed prior to completion of the program. It will also serve as a space to ask questions about recitals, final projects, and internships for students. The Director of MusicTherapy will schedule a meeting time with students to review the advanced levels of the music therapy program.

Integrated Functional Music Assessment for Music Therapy Majors

Music Therapy students will be assessed on their functional music-making skills, including piano, guitar and vocal skills based on professional competencies as part of the readiness for the profession as identified by the American Music Therapy Association. Assessments of students' clinical musicianship will be conducted in clinical courses as outlined in the course syllabus. The assessment does not affect a student’s ability to successfully complete either course. Rather, it allows for realistic assessment of each student’s functional music skills required for internship and identifies where support can be built in to help the student. Integrated Functional Music Assessment is conducted in a developmental fashion in the following ways:

  • foundation skills are reviewed in MUY 171 and MUY 273
  • intermediate skills are reviewed in MUY 363
  • full proficiency skills are reviewed in MUY 473 and at the beginning of MUY 480B and at the end of MUY 480C

Students may be advised to take additional lessons, audit group instrumental classes or register for additional semesters of choir to strengthen musicianship and specific core functional music skills. See Appendix A to view skills rubrics for each class.

Student Organizations

Alverno College Music Therapy Student Organization
This group is an official student organization with the college that supports the pre-professional development of music therapy majors. Students will direct the activities of this group and elect officers to serve as a liaison to regional and national student groups. This group will work closely with the faculty advisor to determine the program content for the year. This organization meets during the scheduled Music Therapy Lab. All majors from both Alverno and Concordia are required to enroll in this class. Students from Concordia University should make the Director of Music Therapy aware if they have a class conflict.
Faculty advisor: Leslie Henry

Clinical Training

Distribution of Clinical Training Hours for Music Therapy Majors at Alverno College

The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) Education and Clinical Training Standards state, “Every student must complete a minimum of 1200 hours of clinical training, with at least 15 % (180 hours) in pre-internship experiences and at least 75 % (900) in internship experiences. Academic institutions may opt to require more than the minimum total number of hours and internship programs may opt to require more hours than the referring or affiliate academic institution. In addition, when a student is able to demonstrate required exit level-competencies, additional hours of internship may be required of the student by the academic institution in consultation with the internship supervisor.” (p. 5, #5) The Alverno College Music Therapy majors may accumulate their pre-internship clinical hours as stated below.
These numbers are approximations with specific identification of actual hours logged found in the Clinical log the student’s individual training plan (ITP) which is kept in a student file.

Hours scheduled independently by student

Observation hours (24+ hours) - total number based on need to fulfill minimum accrued hours from other categories listed below
These hours are spent in direct client contact (defined as interacting with the client in some capacity including verbal, music, etc.) in a music therapy type setting approved by the Director of Music Therapy.

Students who enter the program from Concordia or already possess a degree may need to compress earning their required hours to fit time congruent to their academic plan. For further information, they should discuss with their advisor.

Hours earned in classes

Clinical Classes:
MUY-171 Clinical Experience and Lab 1: Older Adults (up to 20 hours)

MUY-272 Clinical Experience and Lab 2: Developmental Disabilities (up to 20 hours)

MUY-273 Clinical Experience and Lab 2: Developmental Disabilities (up to 20 hours)

MUY-472 Clinical Experience and Lab 3: Psycho-Emotional. Disabilities (up to 20 hours)

MUY-473 Clinical Experience and Lab 3: Psycho-Emotional. Disabilities (up to 20 hours)

Each clinical course is designed to provide ten, one hour observation sessions, up to 30 minutes of debriefing and 30 minutes of documentation for each clinical session. All accrued time is approved by the supervising clinician.

MUY 362 Psychology of Music Research up to 6 hours
Students may receive credit for 6 hours of research participant contact and for planning, implementing sessions, and documenting research data. Verify this with the course instructor and may be project

MUY 462 Design and Application of Music Therapy 50 hours
Credit is given as follows: 15 hours for design of forms, 10 hours for session designs, 10 hours for implementation of sessions and 15 hours for documentation.

                                     Minimum TOTAL ACCRUED 180 HOURS

MUY 480C Music Therapy-Clinical Affiliation (Internship) typically 1020-1040 hours
This internship occurs after all Alverno coursework is completed and at an external clinical site.

Clinical Training Guidelines

Your development in becoming a professional music therapist is formed by content knowledge and practical application of your clinical skills. Clinical training is an essential and required component of the Alverno Music Therapy Program. Supervised, hands-on experience helps to refine observational, musical, and clinical skills. During the course of your music therapy studies at Alverno, you will have  opportunities to develop your skills in clinical settings with a wide range of age and therapy recipients.

It is important to be aware of your personal responses in professional settings. There may be times when a clinical situation may seem personally difficult, challenging, or activating. This can be a normal response where you grow as a professional or potentially something you would find beneficial processing with your clinical instructor and if needed a professional counselor. It is important to identify and address these challenges and reactions by discussing them with Alverno Music Therapy Faculty and college health resources when needed. Be sure to talk with faculty if this is the case for you.

Practicum Requirements from Facilities/Providers

Students in the Alverno Music Therapy program are visitors to whatever clinical program they attend and participation is subject to the rules the clinical partner enacts for student training programs. Most facilities have a set of eligibility requirements that students must complete before having contact with any clients. They are designed for the safety of those we work with. Please complete these clinical requirements as soon as possible. When students delay this process, they may not accrue the required hours and observations to successfully complete their clinical class and may need to repeat the class.


The Alverno Music Therapy Program works with a third party company (Castlebranch) to help students complete and store their required information on a secure, accessible site. You will be given specific information from the program regarding what is required for each practicum experience.

Go to the Castlebranch website and click to place and order Enter the corresponding packages listed for your clinical level and place the order(s). There are tutorials and picture guides to help you through the process. All information is entered and uploaded by the student to the system with the exception of the drug test where it provides directions to go to a local lab that Castlebranch contracts with to conduct this test.


  • Purchase package LV21 $93.75
    • DOJ DHFS Statewide Criminal WI
    • Nationwide Healthcare Fraud and Abuse Scan
    • Residency History
    • Medical Document Manager CRR
    • State Specific Search
  • Purchase LV21dt $37 Drug Test


  • Purchase package LV21re $25
    • DOJ DHFS Statewide Criminal WI
    • Residency History
    • State Specific Search
  • Purchase package LV21dt $37
    • Drug Test
  • Upload updated health and vaccination information, no additional cost

MUY-472 (3 year plan students who already have a degree or traditional 4 year students) or
MUY-473 (individuals already with a music degree or Concordia students)

  • Purchase package LV21re $25
  • Purchase a drug test - LV21dt $37
  • Upload updated health and vaccination information, no additional cost

*You are asked to make sure your physical and vaccination information is kept up to date, e.g., your physical should be performed annually.

Explanation of Clinical Requirements
Caregiver Background Check

Most facilities and providers require a Caregiver Background Check. The process will need you to provide information regarding the places you’ve lived for the past three years. Once your background check is complete, it reflects your public record up to that point in time. If you have been charged or convicted of certain criminal offenses, it may affect your eligibility to have contact with clients, per the policy of the facility or provider. If you are charged with any criminal offenses by law enforcement any time after the background check is completed, it is your responsibility to contact your Music Therapy academic advisor to notify her of this information by the next school day and before any client contact. Criminal charges do not include tickets for speeding. Please ask your instructor/MT advisor if you have any questions.

TB Test

Proof of a recent negative TB test or chest x-ray is required by clinical placements. Generally, a recent TB is within the last 90 days. You may complete your TB test with your personal healthcare provider, or public health nurse. It takes days to receive the test and have it read, so do not delay. Castlebranch will verify and store your results on the website.


A statement from your physician stating you are free of communicable diseases and identifies health readiness or accommodations. Castlebranch will verify and store your results on the website. If you do not have insurance, establishments like CVS pharmacy do have nurse administered physicals.

Proof of immunity

Proof of immunity from Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella may be satisfied by documentation from your physician or immunization record. If you do not have access to your immunization record, a titer (lab test) for proof of immunity will be required. Castlebranch will verify and store your results on the website. If you are a Wisconsin resident, your immunization record may be obtained here:

Influenza Vaccination

An influenza vaccination is required for our clinical placements. Castlebranch will verify and store documentation of the vaccination on the website.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Alverno requires a COVID vaccine for students. If you have not already received a COVID Vaccine, it is required by most of the affiliations Alverno has with outside clinical training sites. In order for us to place you in a clinical experience, it is important to obtain this vaccination as soon as possible if you have not yet already done so.

Note about Medical or Religious Exemptions

An exemption form is available through Castlebranch that a student can download and complete related to the respective exemption, e.g., medical, a medical provider or religious leader, if religious belief. These will be reviewed by Castlebranch and verified if meeting the standards of exemption when you upload the completed form to Castlebranch. There are a very limited number of clinical partners that do not require vaccines and will be prioritized for students who may have a medical or religious exemption. It is important to note if a student does not have recommended vaccines, they may have fewer options for clinical experiential learning due to the requirements of the provider.

Drug Test

Castlebranch will provide information of local labs where you can have this test completed to meet this requirement.

Other Clinical Guidelines:

Attendance and Professional Communication
To successfully complete your clinical courses it is really important to attend the minimal number of sessions designated in the course syllabus. At the start of the semester, map out the weeks of your clinical with your practicum supervisor so you are aware of (and work around) conferences, your clinician’s scheduled time off, etc.

Be sure you have the practicum supervisor’s and instructor’s contact information as well to contact in case of emergency or illness.

Student Role in the Clinical Setting
During practicum experiences, you will have opportunities to observe, co-lead and/or lead sessions. Students are encouraged to discuss your role with the supervising music therapist at the start and during the semester so you know what is expected of you and you feel comfortable with interactions and engagement in the sessions. Your involvement may change as the semester progresses. To get the most out of your clinical experiences, and ensure healthcare privacy, please power down your cell phone and place it out of sight.

If you need to cancel your experience (due to illness or emergency), please contact both your practicum supervisor and instructor as soon as possible before the scheduled session. Making up sessions will be handled on a case-by-case basis, with consideration of the practicum supervisor, client, and clinical factors in mind.

If your practicum supervisor cancels due to his/her illness or emergency, they will contact you as soon as possible. While it is desirable to make up this time, it will not be held against you. You will still need to notify your instructor when this happens. If the college cancels classes due to weather or emergency, you will need to contact your practicum supervisor and, if instructed to attend your practicum, make your best effort to get to the facility.

Timeliness of written reports and documentation
A documentation note will be due by the start of the next class after your practicum experience unless a clinical visit occurs the day before or of your class, the report/documentation is due the following week.

Be sure to submit a clinical report to both your instructor and practicum supervisor at the same time. The practicum supervisor may give you feedback (written or in person) regarding the content of your note, but is not required to. By providing them with a note they can help the student with accuracy of observations. The course instructor will give you written feedback regarding the format of the note, professional writing and terminology, and your self-assessment and reflection.

Timeliness in written documentation is imperative, as it is a reflection of quality professional practice. Music Therapists complete documentation on time in order to provide pertinent information to other professionals working with the client, to provide an accurate record of behavior and response, and to provide complete documentation for outside surveyors and payors.

Most importantly for the student, writing your note shortly after your visit will be easier because your memory is fresh of what occurred. Timely documentation will also provide you with timely feedback to help improve your next report and/or documentation note. If you are stuck, ask for help, faculty is here for you.

Dress Code
Professional dress should include functionality, safety, and hygiene. In general, dress in business casual attire, which can include slacks or skirt and collared shirts, blouses, or sweaters with sleeves that fits comfortably for movement. Areas from the top of the armpit to 4-5 inches below your bottom should be covered.

Special attention should be paid to:

  • Jewelry, body piercings, or gauges can be grasped/pulled by clients, sometimes it is necessary to protect yourself by covering gauges or removing hanging jewelry or scarves
  • Covering tattoos if a distraction to the clinical process
  • Avoiding clothing with profanity or images
  • Clothing in disrepair (torn, soiled, etc.)
  • Jeans should not be worn (unless specifically permitted by the facility/provider)
  • Open toed shoes should be avoided
  • Heavily scented products/perfume should be avoided
  • Nails that are long (more than ¼ inch), acrylic nails, or nails with chipped polish can hold bacteria and spread infection

If you have any questions or concerns, consult with your instructor and/or practicum supervisor.

Log of Clinical / Pre-internship Hours
At the end of each semester, the log of your clinical hours must be verified and signed by the practicum supervisor and submitted to the Director of Music Therapy. You will find it helpful to keep a copy for yourself too.

You may count the hours spent in direct client contact and discussions with your practicum supervisor, up to 30 minutes (before and after sessions) and you will be allowed 30 minutes of documentation time on your log. Commute time cannot be counted as clinical pre-internship hours. Time credit for session planning and documentation may be allowed (in certain quantities) by your instructor.

The Log of Clinical / Pre-internship hours can be found in Appendix B.

MUY 480 A, B, and C Courses

MUY 480 A, B, and C serve as a preparation for external internship and entry into the profession of music therapy. The series of these three courses have the goal of supporting music therapy students while developing professional judgement and ethics, exploring internship and clinical training plans, creating a resume, cover letter, and preparing for their board certification examination.

Students participating in these classes are encouraged to remain focused on their graduation and clinical training plans by researching internship placements, applying to those well-suited for their talents and interests, and conducting a self-awareness inventory called the individual training plan, available for viewing in Appendix C.

General information about internships may be found here on the American Music Therapy Association Website: and here: 3.2 Clinical Training section

National Roster Internships are internships that are vetted and approved by the Association Internship Approval Committee of the American Music Therapy Association and take applications from students throughout the country. You will be asked to apply to at least three internships from this model.

Guidelines for music therapy internship can be found here from the AMTA website:

University Affiliated Internships are approved via an agreement between Alverno College Music Therapy and the clinical partnering agency. Alverno College Music Therapy is the official internship provider in this model. These internships are initiated by the Director of Music Therapy with the clinical partner. If a student is interested in this type of internship, the student makes interest known to the Director of Music Therapy and the feasibility of the partnership will be explored. These affiliations must reach a mutual agreement between institution and clinical site to be viable for the internship.

In rare circumstances, a university affiliated internship may not work out. See Appendix D to review the termination policy for university affiliated internships.

Regardless of the internship model you engage in, you will be asked to complete a monthly internship journal and supervision with the Director of Music Therapy at Alverno. Internship journals are requested on or the closest weekday to the 1st of the month. Supervision will be scheduled for a time after the journal is received. See Appendix E to view the Internship Journal.

Individual Training Plan

The Individual Training Plan (ITP) is a tool used to identify the student’s development of skills outlined in the AMTA Professional Competencies. It is a fluid document that captures current performance and informs areas of focus for future development. You will be completing an ITP in MUY 480A, MUY 480B, and MUY 480C updating it throughout your remaining clinical coursework and internship. The plan is divided into three main headings: Music Foundations, Clinical Foundations, and Music Therapy. The Music Foundations section includes music theory and history, composition and arranging skills, major performance medium, keyboard, guitar, voice, non-symphonic instrumental, improvisation, conducting, and movement skills. The Clinical Foundations section addresses exceptionality, principles of therapy, and the therapeutic relationship. The Music Therapy section includes foundations and principles, client assessment, treatment planning, therapy implementation, therapy evaluation, documentation, termination/discharge planning, professional role/ethics, interdisciplinary collaboration, supervision/administration, and research methods. The ITP will be updated prior to external internship and provided to the internship director for a baseline of growth during internship. This document is available for viewing in Appendix C.

Music Therapy Program Policies and Procedures

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA)

POLICY: Alverno College music therapy students will practice HIPPA law in all settings regarding protected health information (PHI).

RATIONALE: The HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules protect the privacy and security of health information and provide individuals with certain rights to their health information.

  • The Privacy Rule, which sets national standards for when protected health information (PHI) may be used and disclosed
  • The Security Rule, which specifies safeguards that covered entities and their business associates must implement to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information (ePHI) 2
  • The Breach Notification Rule, which requires covered entities to notify affected individuals, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), and in some cases, the media of a breach of unsecured PHI You play a vital role in protecting the privacy and security of patient information.

Information retrieved from:U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2021). HIPAA basics for providers: Privacy, security, and breach notification rules (MLN909001 May 2021).


  1. Written - students should avoid utilizing any identifying information in written reports
  2. Discussion - students should avoid utilizing any identifying information in classroom discussions
  3. Outside of classroom - students should strive to maintain confidentiality outside of classroom situations
  4. Social Media - Students should avoid posting any clinical material with identifying information in all social media
  5. Students may not capture any client images or recordings (e.g.: photo, digital photo, video, etc.) without permission of the facility.
  6. Breach of information - if a student is aware of any breach of information, i.e. losing a notebook, laptop he/she/they should report the breach to their clinical supervisor immediately.

If there are any questions regarding additional topics related to breach of information, please discuss with the Director of Music Therapy immediately.

Infection Prevention

POLICY: Alverno College music therapy students will follow CDC recommendations for infection prevention in all clinical settings.

RATIONALE: Standard precautions are a set of infection control practices used to prevent transmission of diseases that can be acquired by contact with blood, body fluids, non-intact skin (including rashes), and mucous membranes. These measures are to be used when providing care to all individuals, whether or not they appear infectious or symptomatic.

Hand Hygiene means cleaning your hands by using either handwashing (washing hands with soap and water), antiseptic hand wash, antiseptic hand rub (i.e.; alcohol-based hand sanitizer including foam or gel), or surgical hand antisepsis.

PPE includes items such as gloves, gowns, masks, respirators, and eyewear used to create barriers that protect skin, clothing, mucous membranes, and the respiratory tract from infectious agents.

Proper handling, cleaning, and disinfection of patient care equipment and instruments/devices.

Clean and disinfect the environment appropriately.

Why Practice Hand Hygiene?
Cleaning your hands reduces:

  • The spread of potentially deadly germs to patients
  • The risk of health care provider colonization or infection caused by germs acquired from the patient

Use an Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer

  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are the most effective products for reducing the number of germs on the hands of healthcare providers. Antiseptic soaps and detergents are the next most effective and non-antimicrobial soaps are the least effective.
  • When hands are not visibly dirty, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are the preferred method for cleaning your hands in the healthcare setting. After known or suspected exposure to infections or facility outbreaks or higher endemic rates
  • Before eating
  • After using a restroom

Soap and water are recommended for cleaning visibly dirty hands.

Isolation - There are varying types of isolation at health care facilities - contact (bloodborne), droplet (sneezing), airborne (TB), information about these types of isolation can be found on the Wisconsin Department of Health Infection Control and Prevention Website. Personal Protective Equipment - Your practicum supervisor should be consulted to provide information to the student on how to proceed in situations where the student may come in contact with body fluids.

Information Retrieved from:
WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES (2021). Infection control and prevention - standard precautions.

PROCEDURE: Alverno College music therapy students will follow the infection prevention policies of their assigned practicum placement, including, but not limited to hand washing (including alcohol based sanitizers), instrument cleaning (see next section), and personal protective equipment.

Instrument Cleaning Procedures

POLICY: Alverno College music therapy students will clean and disinfect instruments borrowed from the College for clinical or personal use.

PROCEDURE: When instruments are used or returned to the College, the student is responsible for proper cleaning and disinfecting of equipment. Disinfecting wipes are located in both AL 200 and AL 205 for this purpose. Students are responsible for reading and following cleaning directions as labeled. Please be aware that disinfecting wipes require drying time for maximum effect. All surfaces of each instrument are to be wiped and dried for the designated amount of time to reduce the spread of germs.

Instrument Use/Checkout

POLICY: Alverno College students will follow instrument checkout guidelines when using instruments for clinical or personal purposes.

PROCEDURE: Music Therapy students are allowed to check out a variety of instruments for clinical interventions, improving functional music skills, course assignments and volunteer opportunities. Checkout sheets are provided in AL 200 and AL 205 for this purpose. Students SHOULD sign out each instrument on the day of check out and indicate the day the instrument is returned on the same sheet. The typical duration of instrument check out is one day to one week. If the student desires to check out an instrument for a longer period of time, they SHOULD communicate their need for an extended check-out to the Director of Music Therapy. Because these instruments are also used for classes, approval prior to check out is imperative. BE SURE TO PLAN AHEAD! WE WANT TO AVOID DISRUPTING A CLASS OR MUSIC

Instruments located on the carpeted area of AL 205 are the property of Music Therapy Services of Waukesha County, LLC and are used for clinic sessions with clients. Those instruments should not be removed from AL 205 or checked out by students.

For events outside of music therapy education, interested parties should contact the Music Department Chair directly for instrument availability and check out.

Upon return, students are responsible for cleaning instruments according to infection prevention procedures.


Your Alverno email is an official way the college uses to communicate with you. This includes all instructor communication. Good communication depends on you reading your Alverno email regularly at

Copyright and Fair Use

Disclosure Requirements related to Copyright Infringement as required by the Higher Education Opportunities Act (HEOA) (Public Law 110-315).

The act requires colleges to disclose on an annual basis to current and prospective students, policies and sanctions related to copyright infringement and illegal file sharing. The act and thus this document are not intended to address the practice of good writing, citing appropriately, use and integration of other works into one’s own, etc. in the various disciplines.

As a college student using Alverno College’s technology resources, you are required to comply with copyright laws. Illegal downloading of movies and music is just that: illegal, and traceable back to the user. It is also illegal to take texts, images, web-pages, and computer programs from the Internet or other sources without getting permission from the creator. College students have been successfully prosecuted for copyright violations.

However, much of the material in the Library and on the Internet can be used for educational purposes by following Fair Use Guidelines. You may use approximately 10% of a written text, of images out of a book, or information from a web-page for a course project. You can also play excerpts from movies and music. Of course, when you do use materials that you have not personally created, you must give full credit to the originator.

Additionally, there are resources available at Alverno College that have been paid for and are yours to use. These include library databases that offer free music streaming, web-pages that encourage student use (such as OWL at Purdue), ARTstor, which offers millions of images, and much more. Visit your Library and your Library Web-Page often for resources and updates. For more information on copyright laws and fair use, refer to the library's copyright resources. Other Important Alverno College Technology Use Policies from Alverno College Policies.


Alverno College makes every effort to provide accessible facilities and programs for individuals with disabilities. Accessibility Services

Academic Honesty

Throughout your studies at Alverno College, you will be exposed to a variety of learning styles and experiences. In some classes faculty require students to complete assignments in small-group work sessions while others may require students to complete work on an independent basis. Both experiences can be stimulating and rewarding.

Each academic experience at Alverno requires that you take responsibility for your own work in accordance with the instructions of your professor and with sound academic principles. Each student is expected to conduct her work, both inside of the classroom and in independent research in ways that are academically honest.

Academic honesty is a basic requirement of the Education programs. Failure to comply with procedures that are academically honest is grounds for failing a class, being dismissed from a particular program or being dismissed from the college. Academic Misconduct

Professional Behavior

We strive for professional behavior that includes effective communication, timeliness, respect, and engagement in our learning environment. If there are situations where students or the professor are treated with disrespect, if there are behaviors that are expected in the workplace not currently practiced, or ethical aspirations needing development, you may be contacted by your instructor or advisor to work on these skills.

Timely Work Completion

POLICY: Students should submit assignments, supporting documents, and self-assessments according to the course due dates, so that they may receive feedback identifying strengths and areas to continue to develop within a course.

Sometimes emergencies and illness happens and a late submission of assignments according to course timelines may occur extending the due date. This should be an occasional occurrence, not a usual habit as it impacts other students and the instructor, in addition to the student’s own development.

The curriculum and each course is developmentally sequenced, assignments and assessments for the students growth. In order to succeed in music therapy classes, coursework needs to be up-to-date at mid-semester. A pattern of continued lateness with assignments may result in being unsuccessful in the course. Non-submission of any assignments WILL result in a “U” for the class.


  1. Courses within the curriculum are developmentally sequenced. Therefore, each course syllabus/calendar will outline specific due dates for assignments and assessments that will facilitate development of course-related knowledge and abilities over time.
  2. If the student has not completed all assignments and assessments required by mid-semester, your instructor will file a Mid-Semester Progress Report.
  3. Costs incurred by fulfilling these requirements are the student’s responsibility.
Music Therapy Program Rubric

Alverno music therapy students are held to high academic and professional standards. Because the Alverno College Music Therapy training prepares students to enter the professional world upon completion of internship, it is important for students to develop professional attitudes and habits which should be present throughout their academic career.

This rubric is used by faculty to document professional behavior. Should concerns arise regarding professional behavior, faculty will review concerns with the student involved and make the Music Therapy Program Director aware.

This rubric will be used to assess successful completion of each music therapy course. 

Music Therapy Rubric

Student Name:                        Date:

Music therapy rubric
Balancing the Workload

The National Association of Schools of Music suggests the following balance for students in their courses:

Traditional Lecture/Discussion: a semester hour of credit represents at least three hours of work per week for a period of 15-16 weeks.

Classes with Labs: one credit may meet for 2-3 hours per week and may require up to 3 hours per week of practice.

Performance based lessons: one credit of lessons assumes the student will practice their instrument a minimum of 3 hours per week for proficiency.

Graduation Audit

Before a degree can be awarded, a graduation audit is completed by the Registrar’s Office. You will receive an email notification from the Registrar’s Office that identifies the remaining classes and validations needed for your program. You may check the Alverno Validation Matrix here. Your music therapy advisor will check in with you about this plan and if you have any questions, be sure to ask them.


Bachelor of Music - Music Therapy and second Bachelor of Music-Music Therapy students march in commencement and other graduation activities the semester they complete their academic coursework even though they receive an incomplete in their final internship course. Commencement activities are held in December and May. Those students who complete coursework in August are invited to participate in the December Commencement.

Completion of Internship

Upon successful completion of internship and meeting hours requirements, internship sites will provide final internship director, student, and site evaluations and hours logs to the Alverno Director of Music Therapy. When the Director of Music Therapy receives these documents, the registrar is notified and the internship is recorded as complete. This will activate notice for a conferral of the student’s degree (when applicable) and a completed transcript. The Director of Music Therapy will notify the Certification Board of Music Therapists to inform them of the student’s eligibility to sit for the board examination.

Degrees are conferred or made official when the incomplete is removed from a completed internship (for applicable students). The degree is mailed to the graduating students' most recent official address.

Integrated Functional Music Competency Assessment for Music Therapy Majors

Keyboard, Guitar, Voice

The American Music Therapy Association, Inc. lists several functional music competencies that need to be attained to work effectively as a music therapist. These competencies pertain to the use of keyboard, guitar and voice as they would be used during music therapy sessions. Listed below are the AMTA competencies addressed through a developmental series of assessments:

A.  Music Foundations
      4. Keyboard Skills
      4.1 Accompany self and ensembles proficiently.
      4.2 Play basic chord progressions (I-IV-V-I) in several keys. 4.3 Sight-read simple compositions and song accompaniments.
      4.4 Play a basic repertoire of traditional, folk, and popular songs with or without printed music.
      4.5 Harmonize and transpose simple compositions.

5. Guitar Skills
      5.1 Accompany self and ensembles proficiently.
      5.2 Employ simple strumming and finger-picking techniques.
      5.3 Tune guitar using standard and other tunings.
      5.4 Perform a basic repertoire of traditional, folk, and popular songs with or without printed music.
      5.5 Harmonize and transpose simple compositions in several keys.

6. Voice Skills
      6.1 Lead group singing by voice.
      6.2 Communicate vocally with adequate volume (loudness).
      6.3 Sing a basic repertoire of traditional, folk, and popular songs in tune with a pleasing quality.

The purpose of this assessment is to assist students in attaining the integrated functional music skills needed to successfully audition for and complete their internships, pass the Board Certification exam, and subsequently obtain employment as a music therapist.

Because integrated functional music skills develop with time and PRACTICE, the assessments are based on skills students have learned from Beginning and Intermediate Guitar courses, Group Piano courses, Creative Music Making, music theory, and clinical courses.

Integrated Music Assessment Level One: MUY 171 Repertoire Building Assignment

Integrated Music Assessment Level 1

Student will prepare:

A total of three songs unfamiliar to the student. These songs will be assigned at three different times during the semester. Select a song that was popular between the years 1950-1980 (a good place to start would be the Billboard Top Ten, any popular genre).

What you will be evaluated on:

Maintaining a strong sense of tonality while singing Cuing others to sing with you through a musical introduction and clear starting pitch Choosing a song that fits the vocal range of you and the person you are working with Clear articulation of lyrics and adequate volume.

Integrated Music Assessment MUY 273 Intermediate Proficiency/MUY 473 Full Proficiency 

Integrated Music Assessment for MUY 273 and MUY 473

Student will prepare:

One self-composed song from memory Two pop songs that you can transpose chords on the spot (I-IV-V), one song played on a stringed acoustic instrument, the other on piano.

What you will be evaluated on:

Playing in tune on an acoustic instrument Maintaining a strong sense of tonality while singing Cuing others to sing with you through a musical introduction and clear starting pitch Basic transposition Choosing a song that fits the vocal range of you and the person you are working with.

MUY 363 Creative Music Making Skills Check

MUY 363 Music Making Skills Check

MUY 480B & C Proficiency Checklist

  • Prepare at least 2 songs to play of your choice on guitar that have contrasting strumming techniques.
    • Demonstrate your ability to find your starting pitch
    • Demonstrate a clear introduction that establishes tonal center and rhythm for the song.
  • I will also ask you to demonstrate how you tune to an alternative tuning and explain to me how chords are played in that tuning.
MUY 480 Guitar
  • Prepare 2 songs to play of your choice on piano that have contrasting playing techniques.
    • Demonstrate your ability to find your starting pitch
    • Demonstrate a clear introduction that establishes tonal center and rhythm for the song
  • Play both melody and chordal accompaniment
MUY 480 Piano

Prepare 2 songs to sing without accompaniment. The following areas listed below will be assessed. I will also look for your ability to utilize or display.

MUY 480 Voice
MUY 480 Percussion
Alverno College Music Therapy Clinical Log
Music Therapy Clinical log

Clinician's Signature: __________________________________   Date: ______________

Planning allowed when a session is led by student up to 60 minutes

Debrief and report writing allowance is up to 30 minutes for each

Student: retain one copy of this log for your records and turn in one copy to your practicum instructor with final

Individual Assessment/Training Plan for Music Therapy Students at Alverno College


This is a working document that will be used during advising meetings to assess competence and plan curricular objectives. Numerical indicators of competence will be identified beginning with MUY 480A and continue through the last internship course. Students will have assessments that are appropriate to the competencies being learned (clinical classes, juries, guitar, piano, and voice class). These assessments will be attached to this form.

The student's skills in the following areas are assessed prior to commencement of internship as follows:

4 = Exceeds entry level competence
3 = Entry level competence
2 = Below entry level competence
1 = Not competent
0 = Not observed

Any areas designated with a 2 or lower rating will need to be accomplished by the end of the internship period. Specific recommendations and/or objectives for student skill development

A. Music Foundations

Insert tables

B. Clinical Foundations

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C. Music Therapy

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University Affiliated Music Therapy Internship Termination Policy and Procedure

The Alverno College Music Therapy program strives to provide the best experience for recipients of music therapy, clinical partners, and the students within our clinical training program. A cornerstone of this experience is the safety and well-being of therapy recipients and ethical behavior and the development of high-quality skills of the aspiring music therapist. Occasionally, there are instances where an internship needs to be terminated. This document will explain those circumstances.

Students are encouraged to review the Alverno College Music Therapy Handbook, The American Music Therapy Association Standards of Clinical Practice and Code of Ethics to guide aspirations. In the spirit of our learning environment, students may receive a verbal warning reminding them of areas of professional growth, and if not corrected, a written memo to ensure understanding and performance improvement. Termination may either be immediate or result from the lack of resolution of a corrective plan. In rare circumstances, internships may also be terminated due to circumstances outside the control of the intern (such as pandemic, departure of clinical training director, or the facility closure).

If a corrective plan is needed, a document is created by the Academic Institution Representative, the On-Site Supervisor, and student around the identified issue. Possible topics include those indicated on the Professional Skills Rubric (see page 23 of ACMTH), on site-specific policies, unexcused or excessive absence, dress guidelines (as described in Dress Code clinical training videos), or insubordination toward supervisors or institution designees.

Immediate termination may be the result of a serious situation involving theft, endangerment, or other situation agreed by Institution and site. Reasons for immediate termination include but are not limited to the following: willful breach of patient confidentiality and protected healthcare information (see page 16 of Alverno College Music Therapy Handbook ACMTH), harm or threat of harm to clients or staff at the site (as described in Client Rights and Client Abuse clinical training videos), being under the influence of drugs or alcohol or possession at internship site, or theft of internship or service user property.

The Academic Director will meet with the student to devise a plan of corrective action and/or criterion for the student to proceed to applying and securing another internship during the termination process. The student must work with the Academic Director or designee (as identified in the AMTA Standards of Education and Clinical Training) to receive final approval to proceed with another placement and when deemed ready, they will meet, discuss and develop an alternate internship application process.

Each party signing this document indicates they have read and understand the internship termination policy and procedures.

Intern Signature: ___________________________________    Date: ________

University Affiliated Clinical Training Director: ____________________________________    Date: ________

Alverno College Academic Director: ____________________________________   Date: ________


Journal #

Internship Reflective Journal

1. An interaction with a therapy recipient that made you feel confident:

      What do you think made this interaction unfold the way it did?

2. An interaction with a clinical team member that made you feel confident:

      What do you think made this interaction unfold the way it did?

3. An interaction that made you uncomfortable?

      What about the interaction made you uncomfortable?

      Are there any changes or adjustments you might make for the future?

4. What musical skill are you developing that is becoming easier to implement?

      What are the effects on the therapeutic environment when you utilize this musical skill?

5. What therapeutic skill are you developing that is becoming easier to implement?

      What are the effects on the therapeutic environment when you utilize this therapeutic skill?

      Write about any other general comments you would like to share in any remaining space.