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Qualify to work as a music therapist in the UK and overseas on this Health and Care Professions Council-accredited course, and become eligible for registration with the HCPC in the UK.
- Qualify to register with the Health and Care Professions Council – a legal requirement for practising music therapists in the UK
- Study on the longest established MA Music Therapy course in the UK
- Join a course that scored 95% for overall satisfaction in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2019
- Get first-hand experience of music therapy practice on supervised clinical placements
- Work in our purpose-built therapy centre, used for all our professional therapy consultations
- Get support from our team of internationally-renowned music therapists
Our MA Music Therapy degree will show you how you can use your music to support the health and well-being of patients and clients. You will discover the principles of music therapy in the UK and internationally, and through lectures, practical workshops, case discussions and theoretical studies, we’ll introduce you to the most recent, effective music therapy approaches.
You will then try out these approaches in your own clinical practice on at least two clinical placements. These placements will take place in locations such as schools, hospitals, hospices and other community settings, under the supervision of qualified music therapists. This will give you invaluable experience of working in a multidisciplinary team, as well as providing important preparation for your future career.
In the UK there are two central elements of music therapy: the use of improvised and pre-composed music; and the significance given to the relationship between client and therapist. These principles will underpin your training. Our experiential teaching includes: development of your improvisation skills; focused work on your first instrument; keyboard, single line instrument and voice; music therapy theory and links to practice.
Throughout the course, you will reflect on and develop your clinical practice through group discussions, tutorials and supervisions. You will also work alongside students from our MA Dramatherapy course on more generic subjects, such as psychiatry and psychology.
Your studies will be supported by our team of qualified music therapists, who have a strong reputation for world-leading research (Research Excellence Framework 2014). These include Jörg Fachner, (Professor of Music, Mind and the Brain), Professor Amelia Oldfield, (awarded the first ever Clinical Impact Award by the World Federation of Music Therapists, and co-author, Collaborations Within and Between Dramatherapy and Music Therapy), Claire Molyneux (author, Tales from the Music Therapy Room and Professor Helen Odell-Miller, who co-founded the course, founded music therapy in the adult NHS mental health service in Cambridge and was awarded an OBE for her services to music therapy in the January 2015 honours list.
Our links with other health professions and practitioners, including the British Association for Music Therapy, will help you make important contacts in the profession. When you graduate, you will be eligible to register with the Health and Care Professions Council in the UK, and ready to work as a professional music therapist.
Qualifying as a music therapist will allow you to work in many different areas, including the NHS, hospices, social services, education and the voluntary sector. The NHS Agenda for Change has led to improved career paths for music therapists at levels similar to, or higher than, those of other allied health professions.
You can choose to work privately or on a freelance basis, with a client base including adults and children with learning difficulties and other special needs.
Successfully completing this course will allow you to register with the Health and Care Professions Council – a legal requirement for practising music therapists in the UK.
MODULES & ASSESSMENT
Clinical Placements and Experiential Development 1This module, together with part 2, will give you ongoing clinical experience and experiential development in the work place, where you will learn about how to practise as a music therapist/dramatherapist without discrimination. This module will assist your development using critical reflection, experiential techniques and reflective analytic writing about your own process and case work. You will undertake two block placements and visits. Your introductory placement and the first 5-month placement will take place in one clinical area. You will co-ordinate these in conjunction with the clinical placement co-ordinator and your tutor. Your casework will be supported by a campus-based supervision group, in which you will present, reflect upon and critically analyse a case over a period of 5 months. You will demonstrate evaluative clinical knowledge and skills, and an ability to be critically aware of your own process. You will also demonstrate a reflective critical awareness of the therapeutic alliance, and of how music therapy/dramatherapy has benefited the people you have worked with. You will do this through an essay and an introductory placement report, which will be assessed together in the first semester, and also through your halfway assessment, which entails an oral examination in two parts, as well as a case study and case report.
Music Therapy Practical and Clinical SkillsClinical improvisation skills are taught in small groups, focusing first on your main instrument, followed by other areas. All students are taught improvisation skills on keyboard, a single line instrument, voice and guitar.There are also workshops on group techniques.
Music Therapy and Dramatherapy Multidisciplinary Theoretical StudiesOn this module, you will discover the theoretical framework for the clinical knowledge and understanding of music therapy/dramatherapy, together with your role in securing, maintaining and improving health and well-being for patients/clients. By the end of the module, you will have a better understanding of the nature and dynamics of arts therapies, including knowledge of a variety of approaches and the client groups relevant for these. You will examine mind-body models of human functioning, such as attachment theory, child development, the recovery model, and many others. Through lectures and seminars, you will develop an informed understanding of core processes in therapeutic practice (e.g. the therapeutic frame, the centrality of the therapeutic relationship, transference, and counter-transference). You will also attend seminars in which independent participation, innovative thinking and critical analysis will be the norm. You will learn about different methods of assessment, treatment and evaluation in music therapy/dramatherapy and related disciplines. You will be assessed through a patchwork text relating to music therapy/dramatherapy and child development, plus a 3,000-word essay relating to music therapy/dramatherapy and psychoanalysis. The patchwork text consists of four elements: annotated infant observation notes, a seminar presentation, a written summary of an approach to child development and its relevance to music therapy/dramatherapy and a reflection on the assessment. These will be submitted for formative feedback before being collated as a final submission.
Year two, core modules
Clinical Placements and Experiential Development 2On this module, you will engage in more advanced clinical work, learning how to practise as a music therapist or dramatherapist without discrimination. You will gain the skills to practise as a fully-registered music therapist or dramatherapists, and be eligible for registration with the HCPC. You will work independently, with supervision from tutors and placement supervisors, showing an advanced level in your understanding of casework, and demonstrating an advanced level of evaluative clinical knowledge and skills, as well as being critically aware of your own process. This will include a full understanding of the assessment and referral processes relating to casework, and the ability to work in a multi-disciplinary team in community-based and other settings without discrimination with an awareness of health and social needs. You will undertake either an intensive treatment in two different clinical areas (3 months each), or 6 months in the same setting, co-ordinated in conjunction with your tutor. You will work independently and be supervised individually, reflecting on the choices you make and your interpretation of patient-led needs, and how you are meeting them effectively in the casework. You will be expected to follow through the Care Programme approach, with appropriate awareness and critical understanding of user-involvement and its impact upon the casework. You will also explore ethical considerations and issues of cultural diversity and practice, using evaluation methods as preparation for undertaking your own research. Your assessment will be a collaborative creative/performance project and final oral assessment, in which you will give a case presentation and discuss with the assessors. On the basis of these, together with material from your clinical placement reports, your readiness to practise will be assessed.
MA Therapies Major ProjectThis module will support you in the preparation and submission of a MA Therapies Major Project. You will receive a basic introduction to research methodology, in order to carry out a project which will involve some clinical or theoretical evaluation/research. You can either choose a project that is more research or more clinically focussed, reflecting the NHS Agenda for Change Career structure, which recognises the music therapist or dramatherapist as a specialist clinician and researcher or manager. You will have access to Faculty Research Methodology days (two annually) and some specialist taught research methods lectures by Doctoral and Postdoctoral Therapists. You will also have access to a wide variety of research resources both nationally and internationally and will benefit from close links with the International PhD programme at Aalborg University Denmark / Ecarte links in Europe, The Cambridge Body Psychotherapy Centre and The London Centre for Psychodrama, as well as from departmental staff who are specialists in clinical and theoretical aspects of psychological therapies. You will be encouraged to use databases and a variety of conference video/web links. You will be assessed through a 15,000-word written dissertation. Your project will be a clinically focussed evaluation with primary questions and subquestions and will include a well-developed theoretical context, relevant analysis and reflective conclusions.
You will show your progress on the course through various methods, including essays, live presentations and practical tasks such as clinical improvisation and composition. You will also undertake self-analysis and reflection in discussion with your personal tutor. Halfway through the course, your progress towards becoming a music therapist will be assessed by an examiner.
Your final piece of written work will be a Major Project involving clinical evaluation, while in the final oral assessment you’ll present a piece of clinical work to two examiners, who will assess your overall clinical skills and readiness to practice.
One of our modules involves dramatherapy, and covers content from our MA Dramatherapy course as well as the MA Music Therapy. On more generic subjects, such as psychiatry, psychoanalytic studies and psychology, you will work with our dramatherapy students, but where techniques and approaches are specific to each profession you will be taught separately.