"Music in and as therapy – artistic participation as a health-promoting measure’"
Music has been important for human beings at all times. Music speaks to our feelings, creates bonds between people and, in certain situations, can make us healthier. Music therapy focuses on the impact of music on our health and is a young and rapidly growing discipline. Established in 2006 as a subject area at the University of Bergen, our music therapy programme builds on a Norwegian tradition with particular focus on social and resource-oriented values, and contributes to both national and international development in the field. In autumn 2010, a five-year integrated master’s programme in music therapy was established. Admissions are held once a year.
Music is increasingly used in health care and for vulnerable groups in society. National guidelines for the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of psychotic patients strongly endorse music therapy. Music therapy is recommended by several other national guidelines in connection with drug treatment, detoxification, dementia care and palliative care for children and adolescents, among other things. Research shows that music therapy can achieve excellent results in mental health care, drug treatment, correctional care, rehabilitation following neurological damage, geriatric care and to alleviate symptoms. Music therapy is applied in both clinical and everyday situations. In music therapy, the user often participates in creating music together with the music therapist.
As a music therapist, one comes into close contact with human beings at all stages of the life cycle. For example, music therapy is used in connection with prematurely born infants at hospital maternity units. Together with the mother and father, the therapist sings lullabies adapted to the individual child and advises the parents on how music can be used. The goal is to reduce tensions and to establish contact between parent and child. If this is successful and both parents and child relax, it can in turn lead to an increase in the infant’s appetite and thus lead to improved resilience. Something similar applies to persons who are terminally ill. Music can help the dying person calm down and give rise to a musical meeting between therapist, family and patient. Here, the therapist’s most important task is to be present as a human being.
Music therapy has social relevance and helps people create communities. The band ‘Gatens Evangelium’ was founded by Lars Tuastad, associate professor at the Grieg Academy, and a group of former prison inmates. Participating in the band has been an important part of the band members’ rehabilitation and has given them a musical and personal identity.
Our MA programme includes musical subjects, psychology, humanities, social sciences, and music therapy theory and methodology. In the course of their studies, candidates will undergo a number of practical training periods in different fields of work. The study programme concludes with a master’s thesis (30 credits) on a topic chosen by the candidate.
In the course of the Five-year Integrated Master’s Programme in Music Therapy, students learn to reflect critically based on the discipline’s core values and theories. Students also learn to substantiate, develop and communicate their own work and to avail themselves of relevant research methods to advance new knowledge. Students develop a deeper understanding of their subject area and a broad insight into the field of music and health, enabling candidates to collaborate with other professionals, users and next of kin. A music therapist must have good communication skills, interpersonal sensitivity and be able to meet other human beings with respect and understanding.
The programme has an international profile and a teaching staff with expertise in various areas of music therapy. Coupled with a broad range of research skills, our faculty members’ extensive practical experience provides students with a stimulating and relevant learning environment. The Grieg Academy conducts comprehensive research in music therapy in a research environment that facilitates critical and theoretical research, qualitative research and mixed methods, as well as art-based research.
The Grieg Academy Music Therapy Research Centre (GAMUT) is a twin research centre established through a collaboration between UiB and Uni Research. GAMUT conducts research on the relationship between music and health. We cooperate closely with municipalities and health services via the POLYFON knowledge cluster for music therapy.
GAMUT administers a world-wide network and publishes two international journals, Nordic Journal of Music Therapy and Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy.
Our PhD programme in music therapy was developed in collaboration with the Grieg Research School in Interdisciplinary Music Studies.