Composition primer: An educator’s guide to teaching foundational composition skills for music therapy

Patricia Winter, Radford University
James Haines, Elizabethtown College


The purpose of this article is to outline foundational techniques and strategies that music therapy educators can use to teach students to compose music for clinical practice. The overarching goals are to highlight the importance of therapeutic design and rational, and the intentional use of musical form and function to address clinical goals and objectives. The techniques described can be implemented in the classroom, with the goal of supporting students to transfer these skills to fieldwork and internship experiences.