The new year is very young and every youth has a lot of new ideas. But in the process of one year the power of change is changing and some things are going on as last year. In spring we will have our fifth entrance examination for a new music therapy class. Especially in these examinations I think very lot about the problem, which pre-conditions of musicality are necessary and can be examined, if young women and men want to study music therapy.
This time we have "classic" parts of the entrance examination, e.g. ear training, harmony, perform pieces of classical or pop repertoire, etc. Of course we also have parts of improvising with Orff-instruments, group-work, writing thoughts about the field of health and social work, and a personal interview. But the way of young people's learning music, their "classic" music biography, is that of the "classic" parts of the examination. Perform music, "correct" hearing of intervals, "correct" writing of harmonies often seem to be the parts, which are expected and overrated by the candidates in their examination preparations. But also music education (of music instruments) is very much fixed in perform music, etc. This problem we have not only in music therapy. Also in music pedagogy a lot of students are very much influenced by the biography, style and thinking of a musician, and often only very less or not by a music pedagogist or music therapist.
Concerning this I listened very carefully to the paper of Nigel Hartley in the WFMT-pre-congress on experiential training on the last World congress. He spoke about the disturbed music relationship of his candidates in London. As students in experiential training they become conscious of this "disorder" and the relationship is changing. I guess, also I was modeled on this. Piano-training some hours every day was very much influenced by being prepared for the next concert, the next "evaluation". But there were also moments, in which only the piano and I existed. These moments were very personal and music had quite another meaning than in the "musician - moments". The personal moments, also shared with friends and other people, grow up and lead to music therapy. Especially in experiential training also our students change their relationship to music and give feedbacks about new meanings of making music for them. About other changes Helen Odell-Miller reports in her paper on entrance examinations in Oxford, e.g. the student's confidence in improvising and the use of atonality. But a part of her paper were also about the level of security of technique, quality of sound produced as "classic" parts of entrance examination and the problem of very good performing by candidates but often very less abilities of them to speak about it, to give verbal feedbacks. On the one hand musicality of music therapy seems to be a very basic one, which could be reached by every human being all over the world. But on the other hand, this kind of musicality can be professionally developed in the course of a music therapy class (and later on after university).
From this point of view I'm touched by two questions. The first question is: Is it necessary to have "classic" parts in entrance examinations of evaluating the musicality-talent for music therapy? It seems to be a basic, but the way, which is gone at university, is another one. Writing this column developed the second question: Should special opportunities be developed to educate music therapy - and music pedagogy - talents before university? If they even exist, it is a lucky chance. But they don't seem to be the "classic" music biography of music therapy students this time, what is illustrated by the short above mentioned experiences from England and Germany.
Hartley, Nigel (2002): "At ease with music" - The case for mandatory individual music therapy for music therapy students. In Barbara Wheeler (Chair). Experiential Learning in Music Therapy. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the 10th World Congress of Music Therapy, Oxford, UK.
Odell-Miller, Helen (2002): The selection of music therapy students for training - music, action and thinking. Paper presented at the 10th World Congress of Music Therapy, Oxford.
Ordnung zur Durchführung
einer Eignungsprüfung für den Studiengang Musiktherapie [Entrance Examination Regulations](1999). Magdeburg: University of Applied Sciences, Magdeburg-Stendal.
Wosch, Thomas (2003). The Same Procedure As Every Year - Musicality and Music Therapy. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Retrieved June 11, 2013, from http://testvoices.uib.no/?q=fortnightly-columns/2003-same-procedure-every-year-musicality-and-music-therapy