PERF 6003 Music Therapy Skills & Practice A

Credit Points 20

Coordinator Allison Fuller Opens in new window

Description This subject focuses on the development of creative therapeutic music skills to support the delivery of music therapy to individual and group participants across the lifespan. Students learn, practice, and demonstrate a diverse range of skill sets that can be applied within their practicum placements as appropriate. This subject utilises creative active learning experiences within a lectorial (a synthesis of lecture and tutorial) format and addresses focus areas including: practicum placement; therapeutic music skills; music therapy methods (improvisational); technology in music therapy; and culture-centred music therapy.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline Music

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 2 20cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Postgraduate Coursework Level 6 subject

Equivalent Subjects PERF 7005 Music Therapy Skills 1 and PERF 7009 Music Therapy Skills and Practice A


This subject is only available to students enrolled in program 1650 Master of Creative Music Therapy.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this subject, students will be able to

  1. Employ critical thinking strategies in applying music therapy practical skills to in-class active learning scenarios and real-world placement settings with a focus on: skills, repertoire, and improvisation frameworks for Guitar, Piano, Voice, Plusmore!
  2. Explain the application of the AMTA Standards of Practice and apply them to in-class active learning scenarios and real-world placement settings for individual and group music therapy participants
  3. Describe and report on experiences and learnings from SiMPrac (1st Yr) or RMT Placement (2nd Yr)
  4. Design and demonstrate an improvisational experience for use with an individual or group within a music therapy setting
  5. Apply knowledge of: the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy approach, Electronic Music Technologies (EMTs); Culture-Centred practice; and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) within in-class active learning scenarios and real-world placement settings
  6. Demonstrate a student novice (1st Year) or student advanced beginner (2nd Year) level of music therapy skills within the following method: Improvisational

Subject Content

  1. Practicum Placement: 1st Year Students: Simulated Music Therapy Practicum (SiMPrac): 160 hours of online modules & activities; weekly small group supervision with an RMT; repertoire portfolio development; and field work. 2nd Year Students: Music Therapy Placement with a Registered Music Therapist: 160 hours within a clinical, educational, community or other setting as considered appropriate. 
  2. Therapeutic Music Skills: Skills, repertoire and improvisation frameworks for Guitar, Piano & Voice, including a focus on melodic chromatic instruments more broadly, tuned and un-tuned percussion instruments, and aural/musicianship skills as applied to music therapy.
  3. Method & Focus Approach: The 'improvisational' method with a focus on the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy approach. 
  4. Technology Focus: The use of various forms of electronic music technologies (EMTs) within music therapy practice - focus on sound reinforcement and devices. 
  5. Goals Focus: Music therapy for addressing the development of cognitive goals across individual and group settings. 
  6. Culture Focus: Addressing cultural needs within music therapy practice with a focus on one culture. 
  7. Music Therapy Practice: Augmentative & Alternative Communication within music therapy practice. 

Special Requirements

Legislative pre-requisites

Special Requirements - NSW Health Legislative Prerequisites Pre-requisites

Student Compliance Information for all Health-Related Placements

Prior to enrolling in this subject, students must have submitted a Student Undertaking Form and undertake to apply for a National Police Check, which is required to be submitted before placement, and a Working with Children Check Student Declaration. Use the link to the Special Requirements webpage below for more information.

To be eligible to enrol in this subject and complete any required health-related placements or experiences, students must meet Western Sydney University program requirements as well as any special, legislated, or policy-mandated requirements.

Western Program Requirements

Visit the Special Requirements webpage for details about your program.

Special Requirements

Mandatory NSW Health student placement policy requirements

To be able to undertake placement in any NSW Health facility you must be assessed as compliant with NSW Health student placement policy in the first year of your program, regardless of when you expect to go on your first placement. Access and read the NSW Student Compliance Information Booklet.

NSW Student Compliance Information Booklet

Please ensure that you

  1.  Find your existing National Police Check or apply for one
  2.  Gather documentary evidence of your vaccination history
  3.  Print and compete all relevant NSW Health forms relevant to the campus you are enrolled at or online enrolment requirements
  4.  Follow booklet instructions on how to have your compliance documents assessed by NSW health staff.

International students have additional requirements; the link to the booklet will inform you of these requirements.

School Requirements

Contact your School for further details regarding your School’s requirements, if any, such as

  • If you live outside of NSW or Australia and need to meet your state, territory or country’s compliance requirements
  • If you need to meet different state, territory or country compliance requirements.
  • NSW Working with Children Check (WWCC) or other state equivalent, valid for your entire program.
  • Current approved first aid certificate valid for your entire program - approved program providers can be found at the Government Training website
  • Other non-health related requirements.

Student Compliance Resources are also available on the Placements Hub web page (NSW students only)

Essential equipment

Students enrolled in this subject are expected to have access to a guitar and a piano/keyboard; and own technology devices for listening to MP3 files and making basic short videos.


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Self-Assessment 1,000 words 20 N Individual
Practical 1,000 words 20 N Group/Individual
Simulation 5 minute video and 500 words 20 N Individual
Professional Task 1,000 words 20 N Individual
Professional Placement Performance 160 hours and 1,000 words 20 Y Individual
Participation Lectorial attendance of 100% is expected with a minimum of 11 required S/U Y Individual

Teaching Periods

Autumn (2024)

Penrith (Kingswood)


Subject Contact Allison Fuller Opens in new window

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