Date of Award


Document Type


Copyright Status, No Creative Commons License

All Rights Reserved

Degree Name

Master of Science in Music Therapy


Music Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. Heather Wagner


The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of having a background in music education on music therapy professional practice. I conducted semi-structured interviews with three practicing music therapists who earned degrees in music education prior to becoming board-certified music therapists. Each participant practiced music therapy for at least one year prior to the interview. I transcribed and analyzed the interviews for themes, using an interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) approach to evaluate the data. Themes emerged and were organized by concept: Training to become a music educator, retraining to become a music therapist, and professional practice as a music therapist. The participants shared a lack of knowledge about music therapy when applying to undergraduate schools as well as instant attraction to music therapy upon discovery. Participants found their prior degree in music education to be primarily advantageous. Participants expressed minimal drawbacks, such as difficulty adjusting to new goals and ways of assessing growth. This study examines implications for music education and music therapy students and professionals, as well as suggestions for future research.

Related Pillar(s)


Included in

Music Therapy Commons