Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Olivia Yinger


The understanding of why students decide to become music therapists is valuable information for music therapy educators and policy makers and published information is lacking. The use of expectancy-value theory provides a framework to understand student choices. Researchers can better understand why students purse a career in music therapy by examining students’ abilities, beliefs, expectancies, and values related to the choice. The purpose of this study was to examine why current undergraduate and equivalency students want to be music therapists. Music therapy students (N = 129) throughout the United States provided insight into their decision to become music therapists by completing a survey with questions about their expectancies and values. Results indicated that both undergraduate and equivalency students tended to choose to be music therapists because they expected music therapy to be a career that requires hard work and expert knowledge while maintaining their interest and morale. Results of a correlational analysis suggest there are several choice-making variables that may influence each other, indicating that the decision to become a music therapist is a complex process for students. Finally, the results of a Mann-Whitney U test suggested that there was no significant difference between the expectancies and values that influenced undergraduate and equivalency students’ choices to become music therapists. Music therapists in many capacities may use this information to improve recruitment and engagement of music therapy students.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Included in

Music Therapy Commons