Major in Music Therapy
Elizabethtown College Music Therapy faculty, supervisors, and students have a passion for using music in therapy! The music therapy major resides within the Department of Music, School of Arts and Humanities and involves courses that help prepare students to work with a variety of clients in a range of health care settings. Besides essential music therapy classes, students also take courses in the areas of music, psychology, and neuroscience. Etown’s program prepares students for an ever-changing health care field.
A career in music therapy allows individuals to combine their love of music with a sincere interest in working with people. Credentialed music therapists use music as their medium to provide motivating music experiences within a variety of therapeutic settings—medical, extended care, rehabilitative, schools, mental health—just to name a few; and for a variety of clients from mothers giving birth to children with developmental needs, veterans diagnosed with PTSD, or patients who are actively dying.
Whereas music educators focus more on developing music skills and appreciation, music therapists use interactive music making or listening within the clinical relationship to impact the individuals’ music responses to create therapeutic change. With the increase of brain scan research, not only is the health care field learning how various diagnoses impact the brain, but music therapists are learning how music facilitates positive functional connections in the body and brain. Etown students learn about the aesthetic phenomena and scientific application of making music.
The music therapy program at Etown provides a comprehensive, personalized education that is rooted in neuroscience and research. The integrated coursework develops students' musicianship skills, clinical skills, and knowledge from a needs-based approach. More specifically, the music coursework involves training in theory, history, therapy methods, and technology, as well as instruction on keyboard, voice, hand drumming, and guitar. Coursework is thoroughly integrated with each students’ clinical experiences. View the full course requirements for the Music Therapy degree program.
The extensive clinical opportunities at Etown provide a wide range of hands-on experiences that help students develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in their internships and as professional music therapists. Students attending Etown’s program benefit from an on-campus music therapy clinic and a variety of off-campus placements where they learn to use music to interact with clients. Each practicum is supervised by an adjunct faculty with an average of 20 years of music therapy experience.
From Music Therapy
Gene Ann Behrens, professor of music and director of music therapy
informing trauma therapists about neurobiology of trauma and music-brain research.
In summer 2017, Gene Ann Behrens travelled to conferences around the globe to share information on how music therapists can use the latest research on the neurobiology of trauma and music and the brain to inform their work with clients dealing with unresolved trauma. The research supports using a specific treatment sequence and music to develop new coping skills; these skills help clients manage neuro responses while working to resolve and integrate traumatic experiences. Behrens’ teaches her music therapy students the trauma framework which also can be applied across many other disciplines. “It’s a passion of mine to share information with other people ... to be able to share this with other music therapists who are also interested in trauma work.”
Our students are sought after because of their exceptional music and clinical skill preparation and success in their internships.
Etown music therapy students have some of the consistently highest pass rates on the Certification Board Music Therapy exam (CBMT) and are employed in jobs across the USA within 3 - 6 months of graduation.
Etown graduates score 7-11 percentage points above the national mean across the four exam domains.