Westfield State University is first public university in Massachusetts to offer Bachelor of Music in music therapy

Oct 1, 2021
University seal on the main gate to campus

WESTFIELD, Mass.Westfield State University is the first public university in Massachusetts, and only the fifth university in New England, to offer a degree-granting program in music therapy.

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education approved the University’s new Bachelor of Music degree in music therapy in August; the program launched this semester.

“Westfield State continually assesses its course offerings to adjust to the changing needs of the higher education marketplace,” said Juline Mills, Ph.D., the University’s interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We are proud to supplement Westfield State’s considerable offerings in the fields of both music and therapy to provide an accessible, affordable, and high-quality option to answer the growing demand for music therapy practitioners.”

According to the American Music Therapy Association “… clinical music therapy is the only professional, research-based discipline that actively applies supportive science to the creative, emotional, and energizing experiences of music more health treatment and educational goals.” The AMTA states, “Evidence-based music therapy integrates the best available research, the music therapist’s expertise; and the needs, values, and preferences of the individual(s) served.”

“As the need for holistic health care in our community is extensive, we are pleased to provide the resources and education that will support our region in this growing field,” said Andrew Bonacci, D.M.A., professor and chair of Westfield State’s Department of Music. “Music Therapy represents an exciting addition to our already comprehensive offerings in music.”

The addition to Westfield State’s academic offerings marks its first Bachelor of Music degree and adds to its Bachelor of Arts in music, with concentrations in composition, jazz studies, music education, music history, as well as instrumental or vocal performance. This fall, Westfield State also added a music management concentration, as well as an art therapy concentration to a Bachelor of Arts in either art or psychology.

Students pursuing a major in the arts at Westfield State have access to a unique facility, according to Bonacci.

“The Catherine Dower Center for the Performing and Fine Arts is home to the Departments of Art, Music, and Theatre Arts, and as Westfield State University is the only All-Steinway-designated public institution in New England, the Center boasts an impressive fleet of Steinway grand pianos,” he said.

The Bachelor of Music program supplements opportunities in the many service-related fields of study, including criminal justice, education, health sciences, movement science, psychology, social work, nursing, and physician assistant studies.