Understanding the benefits of an Asian music therapy student peer group

Understanding the benefits of an Asian music therapy student peer group

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to understand the benefits of a self-regulated Asian music therapy student peer group on improving its members’ learning experiences in academic, clinical, and personal domains. This group was formed spontaneously in September, 2011 by a group of music therapy students of Asian cultural orientation, all of whom studied at Montclair State University in the United States. A total of eleven students participated in this group, through August, 2013. Three group members, including myself, were selected as participants in the present qualitative research study. Narrative inquiry was used as the primary data collection and analysis method to allow the participants to express personal experiences as a coherent, contextualised whole. Themes identified around participants’ challenges of studying music therapy in the United States included language barriers, feeling out of control, culturally-based needs for additional preparation time, discrepancies in mainstream social norm and one’s original culture, and insufficient social support. Themes identified around how the group was helpful included providing additional opportunities for practicing music therapy techniques, gathering various information, using secondary language to share thoughts and feelings in a relaxing and secure environment, and increased connection with in-depth cultural understanding that greatly improved social bonding among members, and created a sense of belongingness which in turn helped strengthened the social support system in the group.

 

Keywords: Asian international student, peer group, multicultural music therapy


Citation

Lin, Y-Y. (2014). Understanding the benefits of an Asian music therapy student peer group   Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 25, 28-44.


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Date published: July 2014