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ECArTE Full Member


Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä


Title of course: Music Psychology Training – Master’s Degree Programme in Music Therapy (a sister programme to Music, Mind and Technology)


Duration: Two years full-time (120 ECTS)

Entry Requirements:

The programme is open to applicants from all over the world with a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, preferably majoring in one of the following fields: musicology, music education, music therapy, music technology, acoustics, ethnomusicology, the arts, cultural studies, media studies, multimedia, psychology, medical studies, nursing science, cognitive science, philosophy, mathematics, physics, computer science, information science, or another relevant discipline.

Since the field is interdisciplinary, applicants with a background or interests in two or more of these areas are given preference. The applicants are expected to possess a basic knowledge of music theory, acoustics and research methods. In the Music Therapy programme also practical music skills are beneficial.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English (TOEFL, Test of English as a Foreign Language or IELTS, International English Language Testing System).


Course Philosophy and Main Theoretical Approaches:

The programme aims to acquaint you as a student with the main areas of contemporary music therapy and music psychotherapy research, theory and clinical practice – in particular in psychiatric and neurological perspectives. The aim is to familiarise you with strategies, methods and equipments used in different clinical research designs; to provide you with skills needed for designing, executing and reporting investigations; and to supply you with the knowledge and skills needed for PhD studies.

Our basic approach is psychodynamic music psychotherapy. However, students may also have other kinds of orientation, meaning that in practice, our focus can be said to be eclectic. In clinical training, both the approach used and the theoretical viewpoint chosen are dependent on the individual needs of a client. Special experiential learning methods are used, and we utilize real-time observation technique, and collaborative learning in reflective group supervision.

Course Content:

Our curriculum consists of theory and research subjects, personal development and clinical training.

After completing the programme the student will be:

• able to understand the essence of music therapy and music psychotherapy from both theoretical and clinical points of views

• familiar with the key topics of contemporary research on music therapy and music psychology

• able to communicate and work in collaboration with interdisciplinary teams

• capable of designing, conducting, and reporting research relevant to the area of music therapy

• able to apply research findings in further development of music therapy as a profession and in interdisciplinary context

• acquainted with knowledge and skills needed for PhD studies.

Compulsory courses in the programme: Music Psychotherapy I, Music Psychotherapy II, Music Therapy in Medicine and as Rehabilitation, Perspectives on Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Music Psychology I, Sound Processing I, Clinical Training I & II, Research Methods, Seminar and Thesis.

Recommended optional studies (Specialization Topics): Music Culture and Cognition, Music Perception I, Sound Processing II, Music Psychology II, Developmental Psychology of Music.


Qualification Awarded: MA in Music Therapy

Language: All modules are taught in English

Student Exchange Opportunities:

University of Jyväskylä is able to offer student exchange opportunities with ECArTE member universities. Some exchange students may have the opportunity to do some practical work, however there is no formal clinical placement programme for them.


Current Research:

Key publications:

Erkkilä, J., Gold, C., Fachner, J., Ala-Ruona, E., Punkanen, M. & Vanhala, M. (2008). The effect of improvisational music therapy on the treatment of depression: protocol for a randomised controlled trial. BMC Psychiatry, 8 (50).

Punkanen, M. & Ala-Ruona, E. (2011, in press). Making my body a safe place to stay – Psychotherapeutically oriented approach to vibroacoustic therapy in drug rehabilitation. In T. Meadows (Ed.), Developments in Music Therapy Practice: Case Study Perspectives. USA: Barcelona Publishers.

Erkkilä, J., Ala-Ruona, E., Punkanen, M. & Fachner, J. (2011, in revision) Perspectives on creativity in improvisational, psychodynamic music therapy. In: Hargreaves D, Miell D, MacDonald R, eds. Musical Creativity: Multidisciplinary Perspectives: Oxford University Press.

Ongoing research projects in arts therapies:

Ala-Ruona, E., Bamberg, H., Suhonen, J., Fachner, J., Erkkilä, J., Parantainen, H., Hänninen, R., Ahonen, T., Auvinen, S., Hälinen, M. & Gold, C. Examining the effects of active music therapy on post-stroke recovery. Please see:


Research Collaboration:

We are interested in research collaboration with ECArTE Members in these areas:

•             clinical processes

•             clinical improvisation in music therapy

•             effectiveness of music therapy interventions

•             clinical assessment and evaluation


Professional Association:

Finnish Society for Music Therapy

Email address(es) of association(s): (chair) (executive director)


Professional Body or Ministry:

Students are not obliged to register with a professional association in order to practise as an arts therapist, however, it is warmly recommended.

The course is approved by:

Ministry of Education and Culture

Commission of Music Therapy Training Programmes in Finland (SUMUKE)


Code of Ethics:

Finnish Society for Music Therapy


Contact details:

Contact person: Dr. Esa Ala-Ruona

Associate professor

Postal address: Department of Music, Seminaarinkatu 35 (M), FI 40014 University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Telephone number: +358 14 2601342

University website:

Email address: