Photo of first Ph.D Music Therapy workshop in Tokyo

The program officially started this spring semester as a distance learning program directly connecting students in Asia with Temple University’s main campus in Philadelphia. The first ever annual intensive courses in Tokyo (April 25 to May 1) had six Ph.D. students in three courses: quantitative research in music therapy, medical music therapy, and doctoral seminar.

“It is wonderful for us to be able to offer courses here at TUJ, the first English-language music therapy Ph.D. program in Asia, exploring the possibilities of developing working professionals in response to the growing needs in Asia,” said Cheryl Dileo, professor and music therapy Ph.D. program director, who came from Temple’s main campus in Philadelphia for these sessions. In the Japanese Music Therapy Association (JMTA), there are approximately 5,500 members, and Dileo foresees more and more music therapists throughout Asia being in search of doctoral level studies and research.

One of the participating students Evelyn Lee works as a music therapist at a hospital in Singapore. Lee said, “I am so glad to attend this intensive program. It is really nice to have peers around Asia and so exciting to get together as we can share more Asia-centric approaches. During my master’s I was the only Asian in class. This program at TUJ is more culturally appropriate for me.”

Another student, Fu-Nien Hsieh, who works at a hospice in Taiwan, just found out about this program a few weeks before the courses and signed up right away. “Very convenient to be able to fly just a few hours from home. I was trained in the U.S. and have worked so many years in this profession. Really enjoyed the courses here in Tokyo, while I keep my job and stay not so far away from my family,” said Hsieh.

Yuji Igari from Japan teaches music therapy at a university in Nagoya. “We are so fortunate to have Dr. Dileo. She understands Asians as she has taught many Asian students at Boyer and frequently travels internationally. I did my master’s at a university near Philadelphia and always wanted to go to Temple University for my Ph.D. Now I am so thrilled to be part of my ‘dream school’ this close to where I work.”

About Music Therapy

Music therapy is an interpersonal process in which the therapist uses all aspects of music to help clients improve or maintain their emotional, social, physical, cognitive, and spiritual well-being. In some clinical applications, the client’s needs are addressed directly through music; in others they are addressed through the relationships that develop between the client and therapist or among clients in a group. Music therapists work in a variety of settings, including general hospitals, psychiatric facilities, schools, prisons, rehabilitation centers, geriatric facilities, hospice programs, training institutes, private practices, and universities. Courses in applied music, theory, history, psychology, music therapy and related clinical areas emphasize the importance of musicianship, self-understanding and interpersonal skills.

The degree, offered by Boyer College since 2000, is the first and only true Ph.D. in music therapy in the United States. For practitioners in Asia, the program provides valuable opportunities for further education and advanced training and research in this field while continuing their career.