As the director of music therapy at Queens University of Charlotte, associate professor Rebecca Engen teaches students how to use music as a medium for healing. Engen is also involved in the campus music therapy clinic, where students are supervised in their work with patients.
The objective: Music therapists use different instruments and vocal techniques to help clients in a variety of ways. Engen said music therapy is the “mixed use of the relationship between the clients, the music and the trained professional to work toward nonmusical goals.” These goals may be physically, emotionally, cognitively, socially or spiritually based.
Training: Engen explains “each student in the program plays a primary instrument and has been doing so for years.” By the time they finish the program they will have gained a considerable level of proficiency in piano, voice and guitar. All music therapy students minor in psychology, complete an internship and are then eligible to take the board certification exam.
Best part of the job: Engen knows how rewarding it is to combine the love of music with the desire to assist others. She enjoys sharing the process with her students. “I get to see students developing their love of music and figuring out how they can fulfill their dream of helping people,” she said.