Here’s a range of things that could be useful while preparing to study music therapy.  It’s intended as an inspiration rather than a check-list, and they’re in no particular order:


  • Practise – play your instruments regularly, improve technique, sing while playing (if possible).
  • Improvise – play music to suit your mood, or think of a subject and make up music to fit that.
  • Sight-read – find a sheet of any kind of music and play it straight away.
  • Piano/Guitar – Get confident on both these instruments (at least the basics, so you can play some chords).
  • Play by ear – jam along to the radio, CD player or online music.
  • Play in a band – join a group of musicians and meet regularly, learn how to play tightly together.
  • Sing in a choir – blend your voice with others, learn to sing harmony lines, enjoy the sound.
  • Learn – pick up a new instrument, how about percussion or a single-line instrument?
  • Teach – share your musical knowledge with someone else, one-to-one, find out how they learn.


  • Care facility – volunteer, visit, get to know people who live and work there.
  • School/nursery – volunteer to help with fun music sessions for classes.
  • Community group – get involved in an existing music group, or start a new one!
  • Dementia – find out more about this locally, get involved as a volunteer.
  • Autism – learn about this, find out what is available to help people with autism near you.


  • Read more – find books, magazines or journal articles about music therapy (here’s a few I’ve read for example…)
  • Write a diary – keep a regular note of how you feel about what happens.
  • Schedule – plan time slots for activities, and stick to them.
  • Record audio – get familiar with techniques and equipment to record sound.
  • Record video – borrow gear and learn how to record movies of music.
  • Process footage – transfer, edit and export music and video files.

This list will grow, suggestions welcome.

Also, here’s a great list of tips for music therapy students from Rachel at Listen & Learn Music.

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