Enabling Music Therapy Students to Thrive in their Studies by Pursuing Their Passion as a Research Interest

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


This poster explores the variety of interests that may be developed as research projects for the dissertation assignment by MA Music Therapy students at the University of South Wales. It speculates on the importance of following one’s passion in this work, suggesting this is an important part of meaningful research. Both academic supervisors discuss briefly how their own passion has shaped their research interests, before considering whether and to what extent this is apparent in student research projects.

Bruscia (1995) gives the following definition of research: “a systematic, self-monitored inquiry which leads to a discovery or new insight, which, when documented and disseminated, contributes to or modifies existing knowledge or practice” (p. 21). Ansdell and Pavlicevic (2000) suggest that practitioners may do well to select an area of personal interest for their enquiry, as this may prove a motivation and inspiration to the endeavour.

Areas of research interests amongst students and professionals are often those which arouse a personal as well as professional interest. When music therapy students begin to develop their own therapeutic personas, it can be important for them to recognise and work with those areas of practice which stimulate interest for them personally (Burns and Meadows 2017).

Consideration is given to academic supervisors’ own areas of research interest and how this is articulated and shared through the teaching process, before reviewing the areas of research interest explored by students, in their own words, and their relevance to their personalities and therapeutic identities.

As academic supervisors, we have noticed that it is often pre-existing interests, passions, if you will, that evoke the most effective and considered dissertation submissions. Having considered the impact of our own research interests on our teaching and clinical practice, a selection of student projects will be presented and explored in the poster to illustrate this position.

Keywords: research, students, training, identity


Ansdell, G. and Pavlicevic, M (2000) Beginning research in the arts therapies: A practical guide. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Bruscia, K. E. (1995). 'The boundaries of music therapy research'. In B. L. Wheeler (Ed.), Music therapy research: Quantitative and qualitative perspectives. Gilsum, NH: Barcelona, pp. 17–27

Burns, D.S. and Meadows, A. (2017) 'Music therapy research” In B.L. Wheeler (Ed) Music therapy Handbook. NY: Guilford Press pp 91-101

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2018
EventUSW Learning and Teaching Conference 2018 - USW Conference Centre, Treforest, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 Jun 201829 Jun 2018


ConferenceUSW Learning and Teaching Conference 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • research
  • students
  • training
  • identity
  • music therapy


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