Music 314

MUSC 314: Functional Skill for Music Therapy

Prerequisites: MUSC 102, MUSC 111, MUSC 114, MUSC 161, MUSC 162, MUSC 267, and MUSC 268.

Credit Hours: (3)

Three hours lecture-lab: This course will meet three hours per week with a blend of music therapy theory and practical development and application of functional music skills. Specific attention is given to piano, guitar, voice, and percussion technique as they apply to clinical populations.


Detailed Description of Course

Topics for this course to include the following:


1. Functional use of the voice for singing including: posture, breath control and support, projection, vocal mechanics to avoid injury to voice.  Clinical applications of voice to include: use of voice with a variety of clinical populations, volume, style, appropriate repertoire, key, vocal range of participants.

2. Functional use of the piano including: a variety of musical idioms from jazz, rock, country, folk, multicultural traditions, a variety of stylistic periods of music spanning the age-range of typical client populations from birth-hospice care, and for use in the accompaniment of clients. 

3. Functional use of the guitar including: strumming patterns, using a pick and finger picking, position of the instrument, volume, applications of guitar for a variety of client populations in a variety of musical styles appropriate to a clinical setting, and for use in the accompaniment of clients. 

4. Functional use of percussion instruments including: frame drums, hand drums, hand held non-pitch percussion, drum set, and multicultural percussion instruments to support a variety of client populations in a music therapy setting.

5. Functional use of music technology including: garage band, midi, sound equipment such as amplifiers, microphones, p.a. systems, ipad applications, and assistive technology for clients such as activation switches and buttons. 


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course will be a combination of lecture and laboratory experiences.  The laboratory experiences will offer students opportunities to engage with their peers in musical experiences that support the development of a variety of essential music therapy skills as they relate to playing the above-mentioned instruments.  Students will be responsible for reading current music therapy research articles and designing and presenting music experiences that are appropriate to those populations using piano, voice, guitar, and music technology as appropriate.  These experiences will be connected to music therapy best practices and will engage students in learning new repertoire, composing music, and arranging music for the clinic.   Students will present research findings and music each week in class and will collaborate with their professor and peers in evaluating the presentations for clinical efficacy. 


Student Goals and Objectives of the Course


• Develop proper vocal, piano, guitar, and percussion techniques for use in a clinical setting

• Develop the ability to use voice, piano, guitar, percussion, and music technology in leading a music therapy experience

• Develop the ability to assess the aesthetic demands of a piece of music and perform it accordingly

• Develop the ability to sing and play songs from a variety of genera, including traditional, folk, popular, and songs from a variety of cultures.

• Develop the ability to adapt songs for clinical use, through demonstration of basic knowledge of the potentials, limitations, and problems of exceptional individuals

• Develop the ability to engage clients in musical activities using live music and music technology

• Develop skills related to improvisation with piano, guitar, voice, and percussion

These course objectives are tied to the competencies as set forth by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and in accordance with the National Association for Schools of Music (NASM).


Assessment Measures

(See Appendix A for grading rubric)


Each student will be responsible for performing one song using their voice and piano or guitar accompaniment by memory for the mid-term exam and two songs, one on piano and one on guitar, by memory for the final exam. For the final exam all students must also facilitate the group in a small percussion ensemble or rock band using the percussion instruments that were covered during the semester.   All song presentations will be graded using the rubric in Appendix A.  The rubric was designed to focus on the salient aspects of a providing music in a clinical setting, as well as providing students with a readily accessible way to understand strengths and areas of need so that they can confidently work to strengthen skills from mid-term to final. 


The classroom participation grade is based on attendance, preparedness for the classroom performances, and critical problem solving based on readings, class discussion, clinical experiences, evaluation of performance standards for self and peers including: pitch accuracy, tempo, dynamics, phrasing, suitability of key for singer and potential client population, breath control, posture, eye contact and facial expression, and proper use of instrument.   


All students will be responsible for submitting a final recorded project, of their choice, using appropriate recording software and midi equipment.   This project will focus on a population of interest to the student and should target a specific clinical need as determined by the student in consultation with the professor.  Students will be graded on music skills and abilities, functional use of the equipment to create the final project, and rationale for the project as it relates to the client population. 

Other Course Information

*Baily, B.A & Davidson, J.W. (2003).  Amateur group singing as a therapeutic instrument.  Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 12, 18-33.


*Bultman, M., Cliff, J., Geiger, L., Landers, G., & Mardak, K. (2012).  The ultimate fake book (4th ed.).  Milwaukee, WI:  Hal Leonard Corporation. 


* Dayme, M. & Vaughn, C. (2008).  The Singing Book (2nd ed.).  New York, New York:  W.W. Norton & Company.


*Keith, D.R. & Russell, K. (2009).  The effects of music listening on inconsolable crying in premature infants.  Journal of Music Therapy, 46, 191-203. 


*Kern, P., Wakeford, L., & Aldridge, D. (2007).  Improving the performance of a young   child with autism during self-care tasks using embedded song interventions:  A case study.  Music Therapy Perspectives, 25(1), 43-51. 


*Martin, J.A. (1991).  Music therapy at the end of a life.  In K.E. Bruscia  (Ed.),  Case Studies in Music Therapy  (617-632).  Gilsum, NH: Barcelona Publishers. 


*Matney, B. (2007).  Tataku: The use of percussion in music therapy.  Addison, TX: Sarsen Publishing. 


*Meyer, P., De Viller, J., & Ebnet, E. (2010).  Guitar skills for music therapists and music    educators.  Gilsum, NH: Barcelona Publishers.


*Rickson, D.J. & Watkins, W.G. (2003).  Music therapy to promote prosocial behaviors in aggressive adolescent boys- A pilot study.  Journal of Music Therapy, 40, 283-301. 


*Stanton, R. (2000).  Steps to Singing for Voice Classes (3rd ed.).  Long Grove, Illinois:     Waveland Press. 


*Van Weelden, K. & Cevasco, A.M. (2009).  Geriatric Clients’ Preferences for specific popular songs to use during singing activities.  Journal of Music Therapy, 46, 147-159. 


Review and Approval

June 4, 2012