MU 545 - Composition for Music Therapy Practitioners

  • 3 credits

Students have the opportunity to explore their own composition and improvisation skills as they relate to facilitating music therapy sessions. We explore topics in music theory, composition, and improvisation, and incorporate those concepts into our own compositions and improvisations. Music recording technology is also explored in this course.

Course Objectives: Upon completion of this course, students are able to:

  • improvise and compose music that facilitates functional objectives.
  • use composition to facilitate movement, speech and language, and other functional skills.
  • develop creative music skills including musical play, melodic improvisation, harmonic improvisation, and playing in different meters and styles.
  • record compositions utilizing computer programs.
  • generalize learned techniques into clinical practice.


Must be admitted to CSU's Music Therapy master's degree program.

Textbook and Materials

Textbooks and materials can be purchased at the CSU Bookstore unless otherwise indicated.


  • Improvisation: Methods and Techniques for Music Therapy Clinicians, Educators, and Students (2004)
    Wigram, Tony
    ISBN: 978-1843100485
  • Songwriting, 1st Ed.
    Baker, Felicity & Wigram, Tony (eds.)
    ISBN: 978-1843103561
  • The Way of Music - Creating Sound Connections in Music Therapy (2011)
    Das, Kalani & Borczon, Ronald M.
    ISBN: 978-1607252788

Additional readings posted on Canvas or in CSU Library Electronic Reserves.

Students are required to have access to high-speed Internet and a web browser. Students must also have a method for recording mp3 or mp4 files.


Andrew Knight

Dr. Andrew Knight holds a bachelor’s degree in Percussion Performance, Jazz emphasis from UW-La Crosse, a music therapy equivalency and master’s degree from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in Educational Foundations and Research from the University of North Dakota (UND).

Dr. Knight comes to CSU from University of North Dakota, where he supervised students at clinical placements in the Grand Forks community, taught undergraduate coursework, advised the student music therapy association, and conducted research. Prior to UND, he was an active clinician in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area, with various music therapy clinical roles in nursing/geriatric facilities, school districts, and at agencies serving adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. His current research pursuits include clinical applications of music therapy for toddlers with language impairments, adults with addiction issues, music therapy percussion pedagogy, and technology use in clinical settings.