Pacific University Music Department Continues to Flourish as One of the Region's Best

music therapyA surge in students pursuing music degrees at Pacific University over the past decade is expected to continue this fall with the addition of 21 transfer students from Marylhurst University, which previously announced it will close at the end of the year.

Those students will continue work toward a bachelor in music therapy degree at Pacific, now the only university in Oregon and one of just four on the West Coast to the offer the accredited degree program.

The arrival of Marylhurst transfers is expected to bump Pacific's student enrollment of music majors and minors past 100 for the first time, up from approximately 30 just a decade ago.

Music therapy is the clinical, evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. Pacific launched its undergraduate degree in music therapy in 2014 in response to growing demand. Music therapy interventions promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, express feelings, enhance memory, improve communication and promote physical rehabilitation.

Accredited by the American Music Therapy Association, Pacific's intense five-year program includes coursework in music, as well as psychology, neuroscience, anatomy and healthcare ethics and philosophy. The final year of the program is spent completing the required clinical hours under the supervision of a board-certified music therapist.

To accommodate the steady enrollment growth, the Music Department's main facility, the Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center, is undergoing a substantial renovation to add classrooms and individual practice rooms. The university is also leasing space off campus for practice facilities.

For nearly seven decades, the Pacific University Music Department has educated students of all academic disciplines in the diverse areas of music through a combination of academic and performance experiences. Students learn the theoretical, historical and cultural background behind the creation of music, the teaching of music, and the application of music in relation to a variety of contexts.

In addition to music therapy, Pacific's Music Department offers undergraduate degrees in music education and music performance and is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

The Music Department's impact on the Pacific University student experience extends far beyond its degree program curricula. More than 150 non-music students at Pacific also participate in the university's choral and instrumental performance ensembles, including the University Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Orchestra, Jazz Band, Symphonic Band and two a cappella groups, which perform throughout the year both on and off campus.

Pacific's increase in music majors and minors is just the latest of a string of milestones the Music Department has experienced within the past six months. Earlier this year, its Strings Project educational initiative for K-12 students was honored as the nation's best. In May, the department held its 70th annual Music in May Festival, one the longest running high school music festivals in the country. And just last month, Director of Choral Activities (and professor) Scott Tuomi conducted Pacific students and others during a performance at the famed Carnegie Hall in New York.

Jul. 20, 2018