Volume 9 (1) 2017 – Interview (first published on 13 July 2015)
Glimpses into the challenges and opportunities of a new training programme: The MA Music Therapy programme at the University of South Wales
Elizabeth Coombes interviewed by Ioanna Etmektsoglou
It may be said that music therapy training in the UK has come to maturity since most of the current Master’s programmes now have a history of more than a decade. The recently founded music therapy training programme in South Wales seems to have benefited from the existing experience of earlier courses in the UK but has had to take into consideration the unique features of the area in which it serves. In this interview Elizabeth Coombes, the Course Leader of the MA Music Therapy at the University of South Wales, shares with the readership of Approaches facts, ideas and ethical considerations regarding the planning and implementation of this new programme. The discussion between Elizabeth Coombes and the interviewer Ioanna Etmektsoglou touches on themes such as the adaptation to the unique local features of the area, the applicants’ necessary skills and the interview approach, the development of musical skills during the course, the nature and length of the music experiential group and personal psychotherapy as well as the counselling services provided by the university. Clinical placements and work possibilities for UK and international graduates are also discussed. The interviewer concludes with some thoughts regarding the relevance of the interview to music therapists in Greece.
Keywords: music therapy training; interview process; part-time training; applicants’ skills; personal psychotherapy; clinical placements; local unique features
Elizabeth Coombes, BMus, MA, is a Registered Music Therapist (HCPC), university lecturer and musician. She is also the Course Leader of the MA Music Therapy at the University of South Wales, Newport. Since qualifying in 2000, Elizabeth has specialised in working with children and young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties. She uses psychodynamic thinking to underpin her work, and also utilises her considerable experience in community music-making. She has worked on interactive therapeutic music projects in the West Bank since 2009, having an interest in how sharing these skills with non-musicians such as teachers and social workers can enrich their professional practice.
Ioanna Etmektsoglou studied Music Education at the University of Illinois (Urbana, USA), from where she received a PhD in (1992). In 2000, she trained as a music therapist at Anglia Ruskin University (UK). Since 1995 she has been teaching courses in music psychology, music education as well as introductory courses in music therapy at the Department of Music of the Ionian University in Greece. She is especially interested in pre-training music therapy education, community music and the development of culture and nature-centred music teaching approaches, which emphasise personal development and the understanding and acceptance of differences.