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Official News From the Office of Communications

Belmont Adds New Majors in Music Therapy, Publishing for Fall 2014

With priority registration starting next week, returning students may see some unexpected courses cropping up on the Fall 2014 Classfinder schedule. Next semester Belmont expands its program options with the addition of two new majors that are a perfect fit for future career opportunities in Middle Tennessee: music therapy and publishing.

Current School of Music students provided relief from classroom stress during a fall concert outdoors.

Current School of Music students provided relief from classroom stress during a fall concert outdoors.

“A major in music therapy has been a dream for our School of Music faculty for a decade, particularly with our focus on education and nurturing through the arts,” said Associate Dean for Academic Studies Dr. Madeline Bridges. “Add in the healthcare opportunities present in Nashville and the region, and this new program is a perfect fit for Belmont and the broader community.”

The only one of its kind in the state, Belmont’s music therapy program will be rigorous. Students will need a total of 136 hours including the required 41 BELL Core general education hours, 79 music hours, 20 hours of music therapy courses and an additional 13 clinical foundations courses. In addition, the program will require a six-month internship, often outside of Nashville. Once complete, the degree will qualify graduates to sit for the board certification exam.

Practitioners use music for a variety of therapeutic purposes including in pain management, pediatrics, geriatrics, psychiatric practice, special education, hospice care and more. Given that, it will be imperative for students to have comprehensive preparation. School of Music Professor and Director of Graduate Studies Kris Elsberry noted, “Belmont music therapy students will be uniquely prepared to meet the needs of any client thanks to courses that cover a wide range of styles and genres. In addition to commercial and classical music, students will also study Evolution of the Popular Song, World Percussion Methods and other classes that will give them a broad repertoire to pull from in their practice.”

Jenny Plume, a music therapist at Vanderbilt, participating on the search team for the new Belmont program’s coordinator. She said, “Belmont’s reputation for excellence in music as well as healthcare education makes it a wonderful environment for music therapy students. It’s mission of service falls beautifully into the mission of music therapy. The high level of musicianship coupled with the relationship the university already has with a variety of healthcare facilities in Nashville is a wonderful breeding ground for accomplished and strong music therapists.”

The other new undergraduate major launching this fall is the only one of its kind in the country: publishing. “It seems like a natural fit given our current programs and strengths. It just makes sense,” said College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean for Academics Dr. Ken Spring. “I consulted multiple publishing industry executives to create a detailed and specific program that gives our students an advantage upon graduation.”

ashley cleveland-8In addition to core courses in publishing, literary editing, communication, copyright law and social media, students will choose between an editing or marketing and publicity track and will be required to obtain year-long internships specific to the track they choose. As a 30-hour major, publishing is flexible enough to allow students to double major or seek a minor to expand their studies.

The publishing field provides potential career opportunities in magazine or book editing, publishing, copy or technical editing, as a literary agent or scout, or in digital communications, among others. With Nashville holding the spot as the second largest publishing market in the country, students should find no shortage of internships and networking. In addition, through Belmont East, students will have access to the top publishing market in New York City and over 95 percent of the industry.

As a new member of the Department of Media Studies, the program will be permanently housed in the new Academic and Dining Services complex when it is completed in 2015.