Proposed college music therapy courses

Posted: September 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

My suggestion of a business class in the last post was kind of an afterthought.  But it got me thinking…if I was creating the curriculum for a music therapy program, what would I include?  Here are some ideas (I’m leaving off the business class since I talked about it already).

  1. Advanced circle making.  There is an art to making a circle.  You have to know how many people are expected.  You have to space them evenly.  Everyone has to be seated so they can see everyone else in the circle.  And what kind of chairs do you use?  Comfortable chairs that might induce sleepiness?  Straight-backed wooden chairs that wobble every time you shift your weight?  There are a lot of considerations, and this course will address them all.
  2. Miscellaneous methods class.  You already get training in the guitar, piano, voice, and percussion.  But what about those other instruments you may encounter in music therapy practice?  Instruments such as the accordion, harmonica, ukulele, slide whistle, and didgeridoo may seem like novelties, but can be great therapeutic tools.  This course will aim to give you proficiency, or at least just some experience,  in many different instruments.
  3. Boardmaker 101 – This course is designed to teach the basics of Boardmaker, the supremely helpful software that can allow you to make signs, schedules, charts, visual aids, and many other things.  Individual projects include making a daily schedule, creating a step-by-step guide for playing an instrument, and creating lyric sheets with pictures.
  4. Community music therapy.  This experiential class is not taught in a classroom.  Instead, the location will be in a different location around campus every day.  Class participants will get the opportunity to participate in a drum circle on the quad, in the cafeteria, outside the chancellor’s office, in the middle of the football field, and other locations.  Instruments will be provided, but feel free to bring your own.  All are welcome to participate, even if not enrolled in the class.
  5. Music therapy evangelism – The purpose of this course is to develop a working definition of music therapy that will prepare you to speak intelligently about the practice with people who may not know.  The major student project will be to prepare a Power Point presentation to explain music therapy to a class of non-majors taking a General Music course.

OK.  OK.  Maybe this isn’t necessarily a practical list.  I would imagine that these would be difficult to push through.  And maybe I’m being a little tongue-in-cheek with one or two of them.  But I’ve found that some of my most important lessons in music therapy came after I left school.  Learning the theory and reasoning is important, but once you get out there, there’s a ton of stuff you’ll pick up just by doing it.

Thanks for reading!

-Jesse

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