ResearchWorks: Musicianship in Auditions for Music Therapy Training - How is it constructed, performed and assessed?

  • 6pm
Close up of man's hands playing piano
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About this event:

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Free | Online

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Speaker: Donald Wetherick (Guildhall School of Music & Drama)

In this session Donald Wetherick will present findings from his PhD study of the audition process for the MA Music Therapy training at Guildhall School. The study focuses on how musicianship is constructed, performed and assessed throughout the selection process for music therapy training.

It is widely accepted in the UK that ‘the music therapist must first be a fully trained and experienced musician’ (Alvin, 1975). UK trainings routinely include a musical assessment as part of their admissions process. This study followed one admissions cycle for the Guildhall School MA programme from the perspective of trainers and candidates involved and draws on focused ethnography and critical discourse analysis methods to explore how musicianship is understood in the context of music therapy.

The study suggests that music therapy auditions are partly constructed by conventional forms of musicianship and training, but also construct other forms of musicianship specific to music therapy. These have their own distinct priorities, for example valuing versatility, interactive fluency and a capacity to cope with the unprepared over more conventional values of technical specialisation, individuality and preparedness. The presentation explores the idea of a ‘music therapy musicianship’ in relation to selection, music therapy training, and music education more generally.

Donald Wetherick is a music therapist, trainer and PhD candidate. He studied music at Edinburgh and Cambridge universities and music therapy at the Nordoff Robbins Centre in London. He currently works for the NHS and is Deputy Head of Music Therapy at the Guildhall School. His music therapy experience includes work with children, adults with learning disabilities and people affected by HIV/AIDS and he currently works in adult mental health. From 2012-2015 he was Chair of the British Association for Music Therapy. He is also a co-editor of the British Journal of Music Therapy.