Degree programme music therapy - A woman plays harp

Music Therapy bachelor degree programme

Improve people’s health using targeted musical interventions. The Music Therapy bachelor programme at IMC Krems will equip you with the fundamental expertise you require.

You will learn about the targeted implementation of key evidence-based music therapy techniques and methods used to treat clients within a therapeutic relationship. After completing the three-year programme, you will be qualified to assume joint responsibility for the treatment of your clients.

The degree programme: Bachelor of Science in Health Studies (BSc)

IMC Krems’ Music Therapy bachelor programme stands out for its strong practical focus. You will receive comprehensive professional training which enables you to practise as an employed music therapist at a range of healthcare institutions.

Programme overview:

  • Theoretical content encompassing medicine and psychology, music therapy models and methods, ethics and law
  • Fundamentals of academic research methods
  • Development of musical performance skills, such as for the harp, percussion instruments and use of the voice
  • Self-experience
  • Practical activities to develop skills in areas such as music therapy improvisation and music therapy techniques
  • Clinical practice in fields such as neurology, psychosomatics and paediatric psychiatry

In the first year of the programme, the majority of the courses are music- and theory-based.You will have the opportunity to practise the basic skills you acquire in role plays, and develop them further under supervision on the practice placements which begin in semester 3. The specific issues and questions that present themselves during your clinical practice will serve as the basis for your bachelor paper – the results of the action research you conduct in semesters 5 and 6.

When you graduate, you can become a registered music therapist. As a registered therapist, you will be able to assume joint responsibility for the treatment of your clients.

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The music therapy profession

Music therapy is a distinctive type of therapy which combines scientific, artistic and creative elements, and has been a legally regulated health profession in Austria since 2008.

It delivers targeted, systematic treatment for people suffering from behavioural disorders and conditions resulting from emotional, somatic, intellectual or social factors.

Music therapy interventions within a therapeutic relationship help to:

  • prevent, relieve or reverse symptoms
  • alter problematic behaviours or attitudes
  • support, maintain or restore the client’s development, growth and health

The major goals of the music therapy profession are:

  • prevention, including health promotion
  • treatment of acute and chronic diseases
  • rehabilitation
Overview of therapy options

There are basically two types of music therapy – active and receptive – which require different methodological approaches.

In receptive music therapy, therapists make music for the patient, while in an active setting the therapists and clients create music together, mainly using easy-to-play instruments such as drums and xylophones. Active music therapy seeks to create a shared experience. After therapy sessions, clients who are able to communicate verbally are usually invited to reflect on the pictures, thoughts and feelings that the musical intervention has evoked.

The power of music therapy lies in the diverse possibilities for communication that it opens up. As well as verbal reflection, many other non-verbal techniques are used to tailor the therapy to the client’s specific needs. This feature of music therapy has led to its application in fields such as intensive care, neurorehabilitation, neonatology and geriatrics to treat patients who can often only communicate non-verbally.

 

Degree programme music therapy - Woman is playing on a guitar
Degree programme music therapy - Woman drums
Degree programme music therapy -  Man and woman play on a harp
Music therapy at Krems clearly stands out from other programmes in Europe for its focus on regulation and its anthropological approach – in other words, examining music therapy in relation to various cultural spheres – as well as the way we have embraced the concept of action research.
Programme director Patrick Simon

A formula for success: theoretical knowledge + practical experience

The programme is built on three pillars.

1

Teaching

Semesters 1-6

Fundamental theories and concepts of music therapy are taught throughout the programme. You will also acquire basic medical and psychological knowledge.

You will have the opportunity to improve your performance skills on several instruments, as well as other musical skills which are important in music therapy. Self-experience and practical exercises will help to enhance your understanding of the mechanisms by which music therapy works. Courses addressing music-theory, legal and ethical questions and topics round out the comprehensive curriculum.

2

Research

Semesters 1–6

Building on the critical discussion of insights from the academic theory courses at the beginning of the programme, you will be introduced to the fundamentals of academic research methods, as well as the various academic traditions in the field of action research.

There is a special focus on French action research, which adopts a very practical approach, and is concerned with solving problems in the field – rather than testing out hypotheses – and linking research with practice.

The objective is to enable you to critically reflect on and develop your music therapy practice in the course of writing a bachelor paper. Students’ “reflective autobiographies” also play an important role here, and are expressly incorporated into the research and discovery process. In a reflective autobiography, you critically examine your own practice based on a range of empirical data, which you systematically evaluate using established qualitative methods.

3

Practice

Semesters 3–6

The programme’s compulsory clinical practice placements, which start in semester 3, give you experience of working in a range of fields such as neurology, neonatology and palliative care.

Initially acting in an observational capacity, you will progress to the role of co-therapist and work alongside the other healthcare professionals who are involved in the care of your clients. Eventually, you will be in a position to treat your own clients under the supervision of a fully-qualified music therapist. In this way, you are gradually introduced to clinical work and learn to adopt a person-centred approach as part of an interdisciplinary team.

Our team

Get to know the core team of our bachelor degree programme Music Therapy.

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