Petra Kern

Petra Kern, Ph.D., MT-BC, MTA, DMtG

School of Music

Adjunct Associate Professor

Email Petra Kern

 CERTIFICATION & TEACHING. Petra Kern, Ph.D., MT-BC, MTA, DMtG is a board certified music therapist in the USA, 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, and Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Louisville–recognized as 2015-2016 Faculty Favorite. Previously she taught at Augsburg College, Marylhurst University, the State University of New York at New Paltz, the University of Windsor in Canada, and continues to guest lecture at universities worldwide.

PRACTICE & RESEACH. Dr. Kern has worked in several clinical settings, serving the youngest to the oldest with various disabilities and health issues since 1994. Her clinical and research focus is on young children with autism spectrum disorder, inclusion, and coaching caregivers. In 2008, she received the research/publications award of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) for her studies conducted at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work has been published in Young Exceptional ChildrenYoung ChildrenChildren & Families, the Journal of Autism and Developmental DisordersWorld Scientific, the Journal of Music TherapyMusic Therapy Perspectives, Music Therapy Today, and imagine. Dr. Petra Kern is the co-editor of the highly acclaimed book Early Childhood and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Developing Potential in Young Children and Their Families.

SERVICE & LEADERSHIP. Dr. Kern served on numerous national and international music therapy committees (e.g., Steering Committee Member of AMTA's Strategic Priority on Music Therapy and ASD; Chair of the AMTA Student Affairs Advisory Board). She is a former President of the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT) and recipient of the first international Service Award of WFMT. Dr. Kern currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Certification Board of Music Therapy (CBMT). She is the editor-in-chief of imagine, and received the 2017 WRAMTA Publications Award for the early childhood music therapy online magazine. Dr. Kern continues her commitment to the editorial boards of Music Therapy Perspectives and the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy and the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Dr. Kern is also a frequent international speaker and shared her expertise with colleagues and clients in North America, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Arabia, and Europe.

For more details, please visit her website at


2017 Publication Award, Western Chapter of the American Music Therapy Association

2014 First international Service Award, World Federation of Music Therapy

2013 Faculty Innovation and Excellence Grant, Marylhurst University

2012 Service Award, American Music Therapy Association

2008 Research/Publications Award, American Music Therapy Association