Hometown: Melbourne, Australia

 

About You

 

  • Tell us a little about yourself such as your first degree and any other qualifications, plus if applicable, the most previous job you have held or what you were doing prior to the course.
  • How did you come to choose this course and why QMU?
  • Why did you choose to study in Edinburgh/Scotland?

My first degree was a Bachelor of Nursing, and I worked mainly in the paediatric sector, both at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne and later at The Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick. My main area of interest has always been in Adolescent health, and I recently worked on the newly opened Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit at Sydney Children’s Hospital. Music Therapy has always made a considerable contribution to both these hospitals.

For me, Music has always been a large part in my life, and during my time as a Nurse, I continued to study, perform and teach the violin throughout my 20s. At age 27, I decided to return to University, graduating with a Diploma in Performance from The Sydney Conservatorium of Music. However, I have found that some of my most fulfilling musical experiences have been from working with the young people at the hospital. Talking about, listening and playing music can be a transformative experience for Adolescents who may be struggling with many different pressures from difficult circumstances.

"I decided to apply for QMU, as not only did I favour the experience of studying in Edinburgh, but I also found my initial contact and continuing communication with the University staff, particularly Dr Philippa Derrington (Programme leader of the Msc in Music Therapy), was positive and encouraging."
Susannah Clark

The Course

  • What did you hope the course would give you? Career change/progression? Continuing personal development?
  • How did you find the work load? Could you comment on the support available to you?
  • Are you working during the course?
  • If applicable, if you have a scholarship or bursary how is it helping you with your studies?
  • How do you think your QMU degree has equipped you with the skills/knowledge to development your career?
  • What top tips would you give prospective PG students based on your own personal experience?

Drawing on the medical and musical aspects of my working life, deciding to study Music Therapy felt like a natural progression for me. I decided to apply for QMU, as not only did I favour the experience of studying in Edinburgh, but I also found my initial contact and continuing communication with the University staff, particularly Dr Philippa Derrington (Programme leader of the Msc in Music Therapy), was positive and encouraging. The first semester has been both interesting and challenging, and the support and availability of our lecturers has been very helpful. You certainly don’t feel like a ‘number’ here, as you might otherwise feel in larger post-graduate courses. I am looking forward to continuing to learn from the experienced Music and Art Therapy lecturers at QMU.

To support my study and living, I work four days a week at a mainstream School in a general assistant teacher role, with the other three days devoted to University and Placement. I am most thankful to Santander Bank for a 1st year Scholarship, as this has greatly helped me in terms of the International financial costs of the course. 

My advice for prospective students would be to gain as much experience of the potential clientele you might be working with. A few students in our course have had experience working within the care sector and with all different age groups. Talk to an experienced music therapist, and read as much of the relevant literature as you can, keeping up to date with evolving research. And of course, dedicating some time to improvising and being creative on your own instrument will lead to many new musical possibilities.

Life after graduation

What are your future plans in terms of career/ charity work/ further study do you have once you have completed the course?

My ideas of what I would like to do after the course are continually developing! At this stage, I would like to work within the hospital sector and with children and adolescents. I am also interested in outreach musical projects for people living in remote areas of Australia.

 

Story published 2016 - 2017

Music Therapy

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Course Information