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An internship, following or during an undergraduate or graduate degree in music therapy, is required to become a board-certified music therapist.  We offer our internship beginning in September, and ending in June.  The part-time internship is a 21-hour a week commitment over 9 months.

All interns will be supervised by a board-certified and NYS-licensed music therapist.  We also have practicum experiences which are organized by local universities.

More information about certification and eligibility requirements can be found on the American Music Therapy Association’s website.

Application requirement

Education Requirements

The intern must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate music therapy degree program accredited by the American Music Therapy Association.  Applicants who demonstrate high academic achievement will have priority. A contract will need to be completed by the hospital and college.

Entry-Level Skill Requirements

The Music Therapy intern will need to have some experience in the areas listed below, as they will be nurtured and matured throughout the internship process. Some skills were adapted from the AMTA Professional Competencies. Because we strive to provide high quality to our patients, the intern will be required to demonstrate their musical, clinical, and professional skills through an interview and audition. The interview and audition will take place at Cohen’s. If the applicant lives outside of the NY Metro area, the interview and audition may take place via Skype, where the same expectations will be held.

Musical Skills

Guitar Skills
Intern demonstrates the following abilities on the guitar:

  • Ability to use various strumming/finger-picking patterns
  • Plays basic chord progressions (I-IV-V-I) in a variety of keys
  • Ability to accompany self and others proficiently
  • Can provide basic improvisation in any key

Keyboard/Piano Skills
Intern demonstrates the following abilities on the keyboard/piano:

  • Ability to accompany self and others proficiently
  • Plays basic chord progressions (I-IV-V-I) in a variety of keys
  • Sight-read simple compositions (i.e. children’s music, popular music)
  • Can provide basic improvisation in any key

Intern demonstrates the following abilities using his/her voice:

  • Ability to sing in tune and in tempo
  • Ability to lead a group in song

Intern demonstrates the following abilities using percussion instruments:

  • Ability to accompany self and others proficiently

General musical skills
Intern demonstrates the following musical skills:

  • Ability to improvise using percussion, guitar, piano, and voice
  • Ability to play and transpose basic chord progressions (I-IV-V-I) in several keys
  • Ability to use culturally appropriate music for a variety of cultures
  • Ability to play and sing a basic repertoire of traditional, folk, and popular songs with and without printed music

Clinical Therapeutic Skills

Therapeutic Applications

  • Intern demonstrate basic knowledge of typical and atypical human systems and development (e.g., anatomical, physiological, psychological, social.)
  • Intern has knowledge of basic medical terminology and common pediatric illnesses

Therapeutic Principles

  • Intern demonstrate basic knowledge of the dynamics and processes of a therapist-client relationship
  • Intern demonstrate basic knowledge of the dynamics and processes of therapy groups
  • Intern demonstrate basic understanding of music psychotherapy
  • Intern demonstrates the ability to assess client strengths, weaknesses and potential
  • Intern develops, documents and executes appropriate goals and objectives

Therapeutic Relationship

  • Intern recognizes the impact of one's own feelings, attitudes, and actions on the client and the therapy process
  • Intern has the ability to use oneself effectively in the therapist role in both individual and group therapy, e.g., appropriate self-disclosure, authenticity, empathy, etc. toward affecting desired therapeutic outcomes.
  • Intern demonstrates basic awareness of the influence of race, ethnicity, language, religion, marital status, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, ability, socioeconomic status, or political affiliation on the therapeutic process.

Professional Skills

  • Ability to work cohesively within a large department
  • Ability to maintain professionalism with all staff
  • Ability to collaborate with different professions (child life, social work, medical staff, etc.)
  • Ability to maintain responsibility in regards to assignments due
  • Ability to adhere to the AMTA Code of Conduct
  • Ability to follow hospital policies and procedures
  • Speak and write professionally and concisely
  • Participate in supervision
  • Treat all persons with dignity and respect, regardless of differences in race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity/expression

Application process

Your application must include the following:

  • CCMC Music Therapy Application
  • Current resume detailing practicum, relevant work, music and volunteer experience.
  • Official transcripts of all academic training (in a sealed envelope).
  • Letter of Verification from the Academic Director, stating that you are currently enrolled in a Music Therapy program.
  • Three letters of professional reference (one must be from an academic professor, and the other two may be from practicum supervisors or someone who has observed your work musically with children.  Please include these in sealed envelopes).

*All applications must be postmarked by March 1st*


A personal interview/audition is required.  After the interview you will be given a tour of the hospital. If unable to attend on-site (due to distance), a video-conference interview/audition will take place.


Selection of music therapy interns is made on a basis of academics, references, experience, and an interview/audition.  Students will be notified of their acceptance into the internship program in writing. 

  • If accepted, the intern will undergo a criminal background check and will need to complete a medical clearance including TB screening (this can be provided free of charge to the intern at Employee Health Services) and drug testing.
  • The intern must have an educational affiliation with Cohen Children’s Medical Center prior to start date. The Internship Director will work with the academic institution to obtain legal documentation necessary for affiliation.

Internship responsibilities

The music therapy intern should expect to be a part of a large, accepting pediatric interdisciplinary team consisting of music & art therapists, certified child life specialists, physicians (at all levels – medical students, residents, fellows, and attending physicians), nurses, social workers, chaplains, and physical, occupational, and speech therapists. As the hospital is located on the border of Nassau County and Queens County in the Metro NY area, a strong multi-cultural presence is adopted into the hospital’s core philosophy. Cohen’s also incorporates the philosophy of family-centered care into every aspect of its practice.

Internship hours will primarily be from 7:45-3:45, three days a week (Mon-Thurs, student and Internship Director will choose days). Occasionally, the intern will be asked to work different hours (nights, weekend, etc.) as the supervisor may be working different hours. The hospital has the ability to track hours as the intern is processed through the volunteer department; however, it is the responsibility of the intern to also keep a log of hours.

Interns have full access to all instruments and equipment available to the Music Therapists. Interns will share a locker with other Child Life/Art Therapy interns, and will have access to multiple spaces/offices with computers. The intern will also have access to using specialized equipment specific to Music Therapists (recordable stethoscope, local-access share drive for music therapy, Mac computer, etc.).

The intern will not need to purchase liability insurance; the intern will be processed through the volunteer services department, which provides liability insurance free of charge. The intern must complete a volunteer orientation prior to start date, which includes training in hospital safety and procedures (including materials safety, Team STEPPS [safety in the workplace], and Culture of CARE [how to provide exceptional patient/customer service]). The intern will also be oriented and trained to their specific units and to Sunrise Clinical Manager, our electronic charting system.

The intern may be expected to perform the following duties throughout their internship:

  • Provide individual and group music therapy
  • Provide music therapy as a means of procedural accompaniment
  • Participate in weekly workshops with required readings
  • Provide music therapy for legacy building, including with the patient, family, and siblings
  • Collaborate with other staff in various projects/sessions (OT/PT, child life, etc.)
  • Provide in-services on specific music therapy techniques
  • Attend various meetings for child life, creative arts therapy, research, and palliative care
    • At times, these meetings will provide in-services from various staff members. These in-services available to the intern include lectures from various internal/external medical professionals, social workers, child life specialists, and external special needs specialists.
  • Attend medical, nursing, psychiatric, chaplaincy, and trauma grand rounds when deemed applicable to music therapy practice.
  • Provide music therapy during support groups (resident support, family support, sibling support, etc.)
  • Provide musical experiences in hospital-wide events (special events, music in the chapel, team building experiences, etc.)
  • Write electronic progress notes in patient’s medical chart
  • Provide a gap-in-service project
  • Present a case-study in a child life/creative arts therapy staff meeting
  • Learn to propose a research project
  • Participate in supervision

Intern philosophy

As we are based in a humanistic philosophy here at Cohen Children’s, we treat our interns with the same philosophy. Cohen Children’s Medical Center has a robust training program for many different disciplines, with music therapy being one within the Department of Patient and Family Centered Care. Our program will strive to offer opportunities for clinical, professional, and emotional growth in a safe and supportive environment.