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The University of Southampton

MUSI2116 Music Therapy 1: Fundamentals

Module Overview

This module explores how music therapy uses music very differently to the entertainment industry, introducing you to the unique use of music as a powerful clinical tool in health and education settings. Using clinical music therapy techniques, music can be used to develop an individual’s personal, emotional and social skills, emotional wellbeing and to improve quality of life. This module endeavors to explain the facts and subtleties that make this possible through music therapy and community music. Weekly lectures are designed to promote discussion and debate of key characteristics of music therapy work.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • key characteristics and formal procedures involved in traditional music therapy practice.
  • theoretical concepts from developmental psychology and psychoanalysis that have and continue to influence music therapy practice.
  • the application of music analysis in a clinical setting.
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • discuss the purpose and application of music therapy in a wide range of settings.
  • understand the methods and techniques utilised by practitioners and their theoretical origin.
  • apply observational and analytical skills to clinical and non-clinical settings, explaining how music is acting as a therapeutic agent.


A series of topics will be presented over the semester with each topic exploring a different aspect of music therapy or client group. Video and audio case studies will be used to demonstrate the application of music therapy and allow discussion. Examples of topics that may be explored include:  Who music therapy is accessible to  Why music is used in therapy; how it works  Where music therapy is used and when it might be appropriate  The different music therapy approaches used in different settings  How music therapy developed as a profession  Developmental theory that underpins music therapy techniques  Psychoanalytical theory that underpins music therapy techniques  Therapeutic characteristics of community music projects Examples of specific client groups considered and analysed include:  Adults with learning disabilities  Children with learning disabilities (including Autistic Spectrum Disorder)  Adults with dementia  Children who have experienced emotional abuse  Children with behavioural difficulties  Adults with mental health difficulties  Children in palliative care

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include:  Lectures  Workshops Learning activities include:  Individual study  Library-based research  On-line based research

Completion of assessment task50
Practical classes and workshops2
Preparation for scheduled sessions22
Wider reading or practice28
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

L Bunt & S Hoskyns (1994). Music Therapy: A Handbook. 

L Bunt (2014). An Art Beyond Words. 

D Stern (1992). Diary of a Baby. 

R Darnley-Smith & H.M Patey (2003). Music Therapy. 

J Tomlinson (2011). Music Therapy in Schools. 

D Aldridge (2000). Music Therapy in Dementia Care. 


P Nordoff & C Robbins (1971). Therapy in Music for Handicapped Children. 

K Bruscia (1991). Case Studies in Music Therapy. 

T Wigram (2004). Improvisation: Methods and Techniques for Music Therapy Clinicians, Educators and Students. 


Assessment Strategy

Include details of the proportion and weighting of coursework as well as the number, type and duration of examination(s). You must specify which element will be taken as the final assessment.


Group presentation


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment 50%
Project proposal 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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