What are UK-based Musicians' Perceptions of the Training Route to the Music Therapy Profession in the UK?

Beth Pickard, Elizabeth Coombes, Joe Hickles, Joy Dando, Jay Ryan, Ruth Jones, Mae Bradbury, Lisa Jones, Holly Robinson, Cherith Johnston

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


This poster presentation reports on a collaborative research project conducted by music therapy students and staff at the University of South Wales. The study was undertaken as part of a learning and teaching exercise in designing research projects by taking the active role of collaborative researchers (Healey, 2005). In response to the contemporary focus on diversity and accessibility in the music therapy profession (BAMT, 2021), we were eager to understand musicians’ perceptions of the route to training as a music therapist. A small-scale online survey was devised and distributed through social media channels to collect data on this topic over a one-week period. A sample of 69 musicians was obtained, most of whom were within the researchers’ networks. Thematic analysis of the data showed that respondents had a relatively accurate understanding of music therapy training; they understood it involved professional dimensions relating to both music and therapy and affective dimensions, relating to personal and interpersonal development. Perceived barriers to studying, for those who were interested in so doing, included age, disability, time, cost, qualifications and geographical access to courses. It would be valuable to diversify the sample in a future study to secure more representative and less biased views that could inform recruitment to the profession. What is clear, however, is that the findings demonstrate some misinterpretation of entry criteria to courses and misinformation about music therapy (Gooding and Springer, 2020) as well as accurately identified ableist practices that could be challenged to disrupt the current discourse in the profession.

British Association of Music Therapists (BAMT) (2021), BAMT Diversity Report (Online), Available at https://www.bamt.org/resources/diversity-report (Accessed 28th April 2021).
Gooding, L. F. and Springer, D. G. (2020), ‘Music Therapy Knowledge and Interest: A Survey of Music Education Majors’, Journal of Music Therapy, 57(4), p. 455-474.
Healey, M. (2005), Linking research and teaching exploring disciplinary spaces and the role of inquiry-based learning. In Barnett, R. (Ed), Reshaping the university: new relationships between research, scholarship and teaching, Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press, pp.30–42.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2022


  • music therapy
  • training
  • employability
  • education
  • higher education
  • perceptions
  • musicians


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