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Music therapy student Charlene Delaney is playing the guitar and singing with a patient in a hospital bed.

Combining a life-long love of music with service to those in need

Purdue Fort Wayne works hard to strike the right chord in providing its students with the educational experiences they want while helping deliver to the region the highly skilled workforce it needs. 

This positive balance resonates in the recently introduced Master of Music Therapy degree program in the School of Music that will welcome its first students during the fall 2022 semester.

The much-anticipated graduate program is structured in a way that will allow students to take up to 100 percent of their coursework exclusively in music therapy. Featuring a hybrid learning format, the program will help the university become one of the few Master of Music Therapy options in northern Indiana and the tri-state region. A primary objective for program leaders is to help participants receive the benefit of graduate study without feeling the need to put their lives on hold. 

Prospective students, including current undergraduates at PFW, are already showing interest in being part of the first wave of students taking advantage of this new degree program. 

Charlene Delany is in her final semester of undergraduate music therapy studies at PFW and looks forward to having the opportunity to begin the Master of Music Therapy program in the fall.

Is Purdue Fort Wayne where you started out after high school?

My educational journey started at Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio, where I studied vocal performance. When I realized that performance was not fulfilling for me as a career, I pursued human services taking classes at Ivy Tech and then PFW. 

For the last 15 years, I have worked in social services as a program coordinator and director for community-based residential services for individuals with developmental disabilities, and currently as the disability support specialist at Ivy Tech. 

Studying music therapy has afforded me the opportunity to combine my life-long love of music with being in service to individuals in need.

What does having an opportunity to earn a Master of Music Therapy degree from Purdue Fort Wayne mean for your overall student experience?

Since entering the undergraduate music therapy program at PFW, my world has been opened wide to the endless possibilities of relating to individuals through the power of music. I am consistently humbled by the impact of music therapy, and I’m inspired by the experience and expertise the music therapy faculty and School of Music faculty so graciously share with their students.  

In the graduate program, I am looking forward to gaining an even deeper understanding of music therapy and its potential benefits for individuals and our community. I could not ask for greater mentors and teachers than Dr. Nancy Jackson and Dr. Eileen Garwood. I am so excited to learn from educators within their incredible network of music therapy practitioners, researchers, and educators.

How satisfying is it for you to be able to help fill this big need throughout the region with training offered at the university where you are already enrolled?

As an undergraduate student, it is very apparent to me how hard Dr. Garwood and Dr. Jackson have worked to build community partners and foster relationships across the area. Music therapy is necessary and should be accessible and available throughout our community. My personal goal in the Master of Music Therapy program will be to gain the expertise, knowledge and credentials to bring this form of care to populations that have been very underserved.