PODCAST: Inside Berklee—Joy Allen

Kimberly Ashton
September 27, 2016
Joy Allen

As an organized discipline, music therapy has only been around since the 1950s, but the use of music to heal, soothe, and stimulate people is one of the oldest therapeutic practices in the world. In one of its earliest professional applications in the U.S., nurses who lacked pain medication would sing to wounded soldiers to try to lessen their suffering until they could get further treatment.

Today the field is burgeoning, and often there are more jobs than music therapists to fill them, says Joy Allen, the new chair of Berklee's Music Therapy Department. Allen arrived at Berklee this August from Loyola University in New Orleans, where she was an associate professor and the coordinator of the music therapy program. She comes at a time in which Berklee's music therapy department, like the field itself, is also expanding. This year the department plans to graduate its first master's degree students, who Allen says will become the leaders who shape the course of the discipline. Meanwhile, the undergraduate program continues to innovate as well, preparing students for the array of jobs available to a music therapist today.

In this edition of Inside Berklee, Allen talks about the principles behind music therapy and how it can be used to help people, as well as how Berklee prepares students to be effective therapists. 

Producer: Kimberly Ashton
Engineer: Andres González Cardona
Recorded at the BIRN Studios