This spring a new major was introduced to the music department. Only a handful of students have declared this, music therapy, as their major but for many, the declaration was switch from their original major.

This was the case for Emi Rumrill. Although Rumrill is a senior, she did not experience the usual stress of switching majors. This was partly because Rumrill had already previously declared a major in music.

“It’s very easy to switch to this major from other music majors because the core classes of the music majors are all the same,” explained Rumrill.

Those pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music are required to a five year course of study. Throughout this time, students will develop music proficiency in voice, piano, guitar and percussion. Furthermore, the new music therapy major gives students entry-level competency in psychology, neuroscience, natomy, healthcare ethics and philosophy. Within a six-month placement with a board certified licensed music therapist, 1,200 hours of clinical work will be completed by music therapy majors as well. Like other music majors, the new program also requires that students participate in a Pacific University ensemble such as chamber singers, concert choir, symphonic band, Pacific Philharmonic, jazz choir, jazz band and pep band.

“The music therapy major will be used to prepare students to become board certified music therapists,” said Rumrill. “The practical application of this major is to become board certified by the American Music Therapy Association and to find a job working in a hospital, school or private practice.”

Before music therapy became a major at Pacific, enough interest had to be drummed up amongst students like Rumrill.

“I heard about this major when I was a freshman and I expressed to the music faculty that I was interested in music therapy,” she recalled. “They told me that they were working on getting the program for music therapy at Pacific. I’d like to think that my drive to start this program sooner rather than later had an influence on the major coming to Pacific, but from everything I’ve heard it sounds like this program was in the works even before I came to Pacific. And, here we are, three years later, and it’s finally happening.”

Faculty in the music department hope that with the incoming freshmen class, there will be many students interested in pursuing a degree in music therapy. But for those who are unsure as to what program of study is right for them, regardless of their academic year, Rumrill gave advice.

“If you feel passionately about music and improving the quality of life of others, then this is the major for you.”

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