Marylhurst University

Skip to content »

Petra Kern, Ph.D.

Faculty Image

Department of Art, Music and Creative Arts Therapies


Ph.D. in Music Therapy, University of Witten/Herdecke
MA with a specialization in Music Therapy, University of Applied Sciences, Würzburg-Schweinfurt, Germany

Other Training
NICU Music Therapist
Kindermusik I Teacher
Therapeutic Yoga Teacher

Music Therapy

Classes Taught

Research Methods in Music Therapy I
Research Methods in Music Therapy II


Dr. Petra Kern, MT-DMtG, MT-BC, MTA, is a certified music therapist in the United States, Canada, and Germany and earned her doctoral degree from the School of Medicine at the University of Witten-Herdecke. She is the owner of the California-based company Music Therapy Consulting, adjunct professor at Marylhurst University, and adjunct associate professor at the University of Louisville. Previously she taught at the State University of New York at New Paltz and the University of Windsor in Canada, and continues to guest lecture at universities worldwide.

Dr. Kern has worked in several clinical settings, serving the youngest to the oldest with various disabilities and health issues. Her clinical and research focus is on young children with autism spectrum disorder, inclusion, and staff training. In 2008, she received the research/publications award of the American Music Therapy Association for her studies conducted at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Kern is a frequent international speaker and serves on several national and international music therapy committees and boards. She is the immediate past president of the World Federation of Music Therapy and serves on the editorial boards of Music Therapy Perspectives, the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy, and Music and Medicine. She also is the editor-in-chief of the online magazine imagine and co-co-chairs AMTA's Early Childhood Network. In 2012, she received the national Service Award of American Music Therapy Association and in 2013 the Marylhurst University's Faculty Innovation and Excellence Grant.

For more details, please visit her website at

Professional Associations
World Federation of Music Therapy
American Music Therapy Association
Western Region of the American Music Therapy Association
Canadian Association of Music Therapy
German Society of Music Therapy
International Society on Early Intervention
International Society for Autism Research


Young Exceptional Children
Young Children
Children & Families
Teaching Young Children
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Journal of Music Therapy
Music Therapy Perspectives
Music Therapy Today

Selected Presentations

Giving Practitioners a Voice: Outcomes of the National Survey Study on ASD. Paper presented with Nicole Rivera, Alie Chandler, and Marcia Humpal at the AMTA Annual Conference, Jacksonville, FL, November 2013.

Tap, Drag, and Swipe: Select the Best Music App for the Task. Paper presented at the AMTA Annual Conference, Jacksonville, FL, November 2013.

Innovative Teaching: Music Therapy Students' Engagement and Community in Online Learning. Paper presented with Maya Story at the 9th European Congress of Music Therapy, Oslo, Norway, August 2013.

Creating a Worldwide "Music Therapy with Families' Network. Roundtable presented with Daniel Thomas, Kirsi Tuomi, and Grace Thomson at the 9th European Congress of Music Therapy, Oslo, Norway, August 2013.

Early Childhood Development and Music. Seminar presented at the Universidas Pelita Harapan (UPH), Jakarta, Indonesia, February 2013.

Making Sense of Evidence-Based Practice: Recommendations for Early Childhood Music Therapy. Paper presented at the 2012 Mozart & Science conference, Krems, Austria, November 2012.

Unlimited: Apps Starter Kit for Early Childhood Music Therapists. Paper presented at the AMTA Annual Conference, St. Charles, IL, November 2012.

Research Committee Presents...Music Therapy and Autism: Combining Multiple Research Perspectives to Advance our Knowledge. Panel presented with B. LaGasse and N. Rivera at the AMTA Annual Conference, St. Charles, IL, November 2012.

Tuneful Learning Experiences: Using Music for Skill Improvement in Young Children with ASD. Special paper presented at the ECMMA International Convention, Green Lake, WI, August 2012.

Using Music for Children's Learning and Growth. Paper presented at the National Early Childhood Inclusion Institute, NC, May 2012.

Staying Informed: Online Resources for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Paper presented at the AMTA Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA, November 2011.

Gaining knowledge: Using single subjects experimental designs to evaluate music therapy practice. Presented at the pre-congress seminar From Research to Practice and Vice Versa: Evaluating Music Therapy Practice at the 13th World Congress of Music Therapy, Seoul, Korea, July 2011.

Community Involvement & Education with the Arts. Presented online with A. Tait (Australia) and E. Musco (Australia) at the Lunch Talk, Northern Territory Library, Darwin, Australia, May 2011.

Music as an Art and Science: Applying Music for Health and Well-Being. Paper presented at the Verbier Music Festival, Verbier, Switzerland, July 2010.

Evidence-Based Practice in Early Childhood Music Therapy: A Decision Making Process. Paper presented at the VIII. European Music Therapy Congress, Cádiz, Spain, May 2010.

Global Music Therapy: Facing Trends and Challenges of the 21. Century. Keynote delivered at the International Forum of Music Therapy on Crisis Intervention. Chengdu, China, October 2009.

Tuneful Transitions and Routines: Using Music in Children's Daily Life. Paper presented at the DEC's 25th Annual International Conference, Albuquerque, NM, October 2009.

Global Challenges and Trends of Clinical Practice, Research, and Education in Music Therapy. Speech delivered at the Inauguration Ceremony of the Bachelor Degree in Music Therapy at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, March 2009.

Faculty Innovation and Excellence Grant of the Marylhurst University (2013)
National Service Award, American Music Therapy Association (2012)
National Research/Publications Award, American Music Therapy Association (2008)

Related News

See All News

PCC Agreement Makes Transfers Easy

Marylhurst and Portland Community College entered into an official agreement in May 2016, aiming to remove barriers for PCC students to complete a four-year degree at Marylhurst.

Bev Petow Installs Sculpture in Abkhazi Gardens

Bev Petow, art alum, is exhibiting lifesize, ballgown-inspired metal sculptures at Abkhazi Gardens in Sooke, British Columbia, now through September 2016.


See All Events

February 22, 2016 – May 31, 2016

Nominations now being accepted for 2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards

Submit your nomination(s) for Distinguished Alumni by May 31, 2016. Categories include: Service to Society Award. Service to Marylhurst Award. N...


May 28, 2016 – May 30, 2016

Memorial Day Holiday

Saturday through Monday. University offices closed. NOTE: Shoen Library will be CLOSED. Memorial Day, once known as Decoration Day, was establis...


May 31, 2016

Nomination Deadline for 2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards

Submit your nomination(s) of an alum for the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards which will be presented at the October 2016 Reunion Luncheon. Deadlin...


© Marylhurst University