This course explores neuropsychology and neuroscience as it relates to the clinical practice of music therapy. Students learn about the ways human function (e.g. language, memory, movement) is affected by pathologies (e.g. aphasia, dementia, apraxia), as they come to understand how irregularities inform us about regular brain function. Students explore the way functions of the brain engage in various musical elements (rhythm, melody, preferred music). Students also review published case studies as they evaluate both the historical and modern research findings in neuroscience and music. In addition, students distinguish the brains of musicians from non-musicians, analyze how the arts impact neural development, and explore how music perception and production research can be applied to clinical practice.
Clinical music improvisation is an indispensable, powerful, and effective tool for music therapists. It supports therapists in assessing and evaluating clients’ progress, building clinical relationships, and creating shared music experiences with their clients. This course is designed to help students grow not only as music therapists, but also as musicians and individuals, by expanding their clinical skills, building upon their music abilities, and deepening their understanding of musicianship. Students learn how to assess, observe, and evaluate clients' responses to music through improvisation and develop their clinical music improvisation techniques by learning various music idioms, modes, formats, instrumentation, rhythms, and styles.
This is the first course in the music therapy research specialization. The course informs students about many of the ways that they can test their beliefs and hypotheses. In MTH-510, students learned that there are quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods that can frame inquiries. In this course, students read about various specific types of research designs that have been used by fellow music therapists to advance the profession. These include principles and approaches in qualitative health research, including responsibilities, ethics, and values; interviews; phenomenological research approaches; observational methods/documentary sources; reflexive methods such as participant observer, case studies, single subject studies, and small-n research; applied behavior analysis; survey research and correlation regression; experimental design and pre-experimental design (as well as feasibility/pilot studies and concepts in health research). In this course, students sample various behavioral and empirical research genres in order to address key research questions about music therapy.
This course builds on the research methodology foundation introduced in MTH-510 and MTH-550 with an emphasis on quantitative data analysis, statistical testing, and interpreting research results. Students learn procedures for categorizing, organizing, coding, and cleaning data. Additionally, they learn how to best present their data through visual displays such as tables and graphs. They also learn how to compute, interpret and present both descriptive statistics about their sample and inferential statistics to generalize to the population of interest. These statistics are explained both computationally as well as theoretically. Students learn basic probability theory and its connection to hypothesis testing. The course also examines how to evaluate research critically for potential artifacts and the process of meta analysis for quantitatively synthesizing other research studies. Students have hands-on practical experience using SPSS student software to analyze real data throughout the course.
This course enhances a student’s ability to practice music therapy in conventional medical settings. Students build upon studies in neuroscience and apply neurological music therapy protocols in clinical practice. They connect neuroscience with the elements of music that have the power to commit change that is measurable, meaningful, and relevant to the patient’s treatment plan and overall well-being. Students also explore key needs of various medical populations and select appropriate clinical interventions. As students analyze music therapy in medical literature, they cultivate an ability to communicate about the music therapy profession with medical colleagues. Students also synthesize knowledge of medical terminology and constructs as they analyze situations and apply ethical choices in clinical practice.
This course prepares students for specialized music therapy practice within integrative medical centers. Students take a personal journey along a path of illness to optimal health in order to understand the needs of individuals as they encounter five stages: first signs of imbalance or discomfort; diagnosis; treatment; recovery; and optimal health and prevention. Throughout the course, students learn music and music therapy techniques for building a healthy mind, body, and spirit. They learn how music therapy interfaces with yogic teachings, breath work, chant, meditation, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. This course explores integrative medical paths like traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda and investigates how music can accompany individuals on their healing journeys. Students also learn about the theories underlying the psychoneuroimmunology of health and review the current medical literature to identify how music therapy addresses the needs of people as they take a healing journey.
This course explores the world of digital and communications technology—such as mobile apps, social media, recording technology, and digital imaging—and shows how these resources can be of value to a music therapist. Students assemble a collection of skills—a toolbox—that can be used in their practice or research in music therapy. It is understood that students are likely to vary greatly in their knowledge of and skills with these technologies, both as part of their practice of music therapy and in their lives in general. The course design offers flexibility so that all students, regardless of technical proficiency, will find this educational journey interesting and of value to their studies.
This course supports an understanding of international trends in music therapy research, theory, and practice. Students explore contextual understandings of health and illness and focus on the notion of the social self and social health. Within this framework, students explore world issues that impact health and illness globally and examine the role of music as a medical and social contribution in other cultures. Students build skills to apply music therapy practice and treatment for the purpose of addressing major problems that impact the planet and learn what it means to provide culturally appropriate care, which includes an understanding of culturally influenced health behaviors. Students also explore how music is utilized in various cultures. The skills emphasized in the course are transferable and provide a paradigm for building music therapy programs all over the world.
This course supports and guides students through the process of developing their culminating experience proposal. This includes proposing a topic that is important to the student personally and that ultimately contributes to the body of knowledge in the field of music therapy. The culminating experience/thesis proposal serves as a blueprint for the student's research or clinical project.
In this course, students learn skills needed to administer, lead, and develop music therapy programs effectively. They explore the following topics, among others: ethics, administration, communication, entrepreneurship, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), human subjects training, and self-care. They also explore what it means to be a leader in a workplace and in a more general sense. Additionally, they explore methods to advocate for music therapy practice. They also learn teamwork, workplace management, and other important practical employment skills. Through this course, students also complete an advanced clinical practicum.
This course supports students' completion of the culminating experience/thesis, which is a practicum or research project enabling the student to make a contribution to the field of music therapy. The student works in consultation with his/her faculty advisor to develop his/her unique project. The goal is to complete original work at a professional level. A faculty committee composed of the advisor and one to two other faculty members will evaluate the final project that results from the culminating experience. This team will serve as the examining committee. The process of writing this culminating experience/thesis calls upon individual experience, intelligence, creativity, and synthesis of acquired knowledge. The process also requires independence, organization, and determination. The result demonstrates a student's capabilities to have an impact on the body of knowledge in the field of music therapy, which will be further developed in MTH-690, and completed in MTH-695. Those opting for the research track will continue their research through MTH-550 and MTH-551.
This project-based course is broken into two weekly sessions, the first focused on production and engineering concepts and the second focused on mixing skills. Throughout the semester, students complete two production projects: a step-by-step, singer-songwriter multitrack recording, and an exact sound-alike of an existing pivotal or hit record. Students experience the complete production process from preproduction though delivery, acquiring technical skills including multitrack recording techniques, microphone technique for vocals, guitars, drum-set and other instruments, and an understanding of signal flow, editing, mixing and delivery in the modern DAW environment. Students also gain experience with effective techniques of music production, including identifying goals, serving the emotional content of the song, effective arranging for records, and interpersonal issues surrounding the recording process.