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The Pacific Index

Music therapy major thrives

Michael Arakawa

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Pacific University has a new music therapy major that teaches students how to apply music in a clinical field. The music therapy major is a rigorous five-year program where students can work to become fully board-certified music therapists.

This music therapy major combines the music and therapeutic practices with community engagement.  Students will learn how to use their knowledge in music and apply it in a clinical setting to help people in their community achieve mental, physical, and emotional wellness through four semesters of practica experience.

The five years that students spend in the Music Therapy major, provides them with exposure to the different institutions and population in their community. Examples of students’ practica experience include working with groups of young children or adolescents, practicing skills with older adult populations, or serving the needs of a traumatic brain injury group. The practice of music therapy requires the therapist to have strong communication with many different people that they work with. Exposure to the community’s different populations and institutions helps students better understand the specific needs of each population.

This major also provides students with multiple opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the music therapy field. Pacific University has four university-affiliated internships where students can gain field experience. Opportunities for hands-on music therapy experience are also available throughout the country. There are around 197 places of internship in the country that students can also gain field experience from.

Board-certified music therapy students can apply their skills in a vast job market. According to Director of music therapy, Christine Korb, “There are jobs throughout the country if the music therapy students are willing to move.” The amount of job availability has may depend on the focus of the therapist.

It is fortunate that job opportunities are available here in Oregon. Oregon is one of five states where music therapists can become state-licensed therapists. Having state-licenses assures clients that their therapist have received training at the collegiate level.

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Music therapy major thrives