September 30, 2013
Springfield, Mo., September 30, 2013 — One program that makes Drury University different is its music therapy major — a program that is only offered at about 60 other schools in the United States. Drury’s program started in 2001.
According to Drury’s registrar’s office, 2003 was the first year Drury students declared music therapy as a major. There were only six majors ten years ago, now, there are 46 students involved in the program.
Students often practice in class at the Center for Music Therapy and Wellness on E. Calhoun St., which is located on Drury’s campus. The center is supervised by Julie Cassity, who also teaches classes in the curriculum. Photo credit: Kaitlyn Schwers
Dr. Natalie Wlodarczyk (Wool-dar-zick), professor and board certified music therapist, said that the field has received more national attention.
“I think music therapy has gotten a lot of publicity in the last few years nationally in a way that we haven’t before. People tend to think it’s a new field, but it’s actually been around since World War II,” Wlodarczyk explained. “Music therapy started as a way to work with returning veterans who were coming back after WWII with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and also with physical injuries as a way to help them both emotionally deal with what they had been through and then physically rehabilitate them using music.”
At Drury, music therapy majors must complete 138 credit hours and become proficient in three instruments to receive abachelor’s degree. After graduation, some students tend to work in music therapy in schools, hospitals, psychiatric facilities, and nursing homes.
Kayla Honeycutt, a junior, chose Drury to study music therapy out of two other schools located in St. Louis and Kansas City. She says she came to Drury because of its small campus size, and within one week of starting school, she found it to be the right choice for her.
“Each class has been relevant to the field of study and each seems to build on those attended in the previous semester. The professors go out of their way to be available to students and offer help when needed: days, nights, and weekends,” Honeycutt said. “I honestly do not believe I would get this kind of hands-on attention and such an individualized sense of study at any other school in the area.”
Honeycutt agrees that more people are aware of music therapy as a profession, but she also thinks more students are studying it because of Drury’s faculty.
“I would also have to say a very large portion of the success of music therapy at Drury lies in the faculty. Dr. Wlodarczyk has only been teaching at the campus for a few years and it is no secret that every year the music therapy numbers double. She does a fantastic job of advocating, teaching, and getting all of the students involved,” she said.
Sophomore Cecilia Deken, another music therapy major, suggests that more students are interested in the field because it opens up opportunities in different places.
“There are so many fields that music therapy can be applied to, and it seems like more and more people are choosing to use their talents to benefit others,” Deken said. “Music therapy is very rewarding in that sense.”
Wlodarczyk says the department hopes to streamline the curriculum in the future, lower the number of required credits needed to graduate, and continue raising awareness about Drury’s on-campus music therapy clinic, which is located on E. Calhoun St.
“I think a lot of the things we’re doing are going well—one being the music therapy clinic on campus. We’re going to make sure that that continues to flourish,” she said. “My hope is to try and get even better marketing for that clinic so that community members know that it’s there and even people on campus knowing that it’s there because it’s something that sets Drury apart.”
Story by Kaitlyn Schwers, a senior multimedia production and journalism major at Drury University