September 16, 2016: Capilano University's Music Therapy program celebrates 40 years

      NORTH VANCOUVER B.C. – Canada’s first Music Therapy program will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a gala event, September 30, 2016.

      In the early 1970s, Nancy McMaster and Carolyn Kenny were interested in using music to benefit children. First they secured grants to run programs, and then they pursued formal training. McMaster studied in England and Kenny in the United States, because there was no Canadian training at that time.

      In April 1976, a dean at Capilano University, then Capilano College, heard about their work and contacted the pair to start a music therapy program on the North Shore. Four months later, the first Canadian Music Therapy program began.
      “Over the past 40 years, Capilano University’s Music Therapy program has earned a very positive reputation across Canada and internationally,” says Brad Martin, dean of the faculty of Education, Health and Human Development. “Graduates have served thousands of people in hospitals, schools and prisons, and they’ve provided therapy to people of all ages, from premature babies to seniors aged 105.” 

      McMaster, the program’s co-founder and a current instructor, lauds the visionary initiative taken by Capilano University. “Capilano has provided leadership for music therapy across Canada since the program’s start,” she says.

      Music therapists use the creative process inherent in musical participation to assist individuals and groups to improve their mental, physical and emotional functioning. Music therapists work with deep emotions in specialized therapy programs using music, improvisational and counselling resources to achieve therapeutic goals. Music therapy is increasingly identified by healthcare professionals as an effective catalyst for client motivation, stimulation and communication.

      The gala will focus on the evolution of the Music Therapy program. A documentary about the program made by Kevin Kirkland, a graduate of the program and now a faculty member, will screen at the event.
      McMaster continues to serve as an instructor in the Music Therapy program and is available for interviews. 
      About Music Therapy at Capilano University
      Capilano University’s Music Therapy degree program is designed so that students may enter third year from backgrounds that include music, general arts, psychology, education and nursing. All four years may be completed at Capilano University.

      About Capilano University
      Capilano University is a teaching-focused university based in North Vancouver, with programming serving the Sunshine Coast and the Sea-to-Sky corridor. The University offers more than 100 programs, including 12 bachelor’s degrees, in areas as diverse as film and animation, early childhood education and tourism management. Capilano University enrols approximately 11,600 students each year, 8,300 in for-credit programs and 3,300 in non-credit courses. Capilano University is named after Chief Joe Capilano, an important leader of the Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh) Nation of the Coast Salish people. Our campuses are located on the territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam, Lil’wat and Sechelt (shíshálh) Nations. 

      For more information, or to schedule interviews, please contact: 

      Cheryl Rossi
      Senior Communications Advisor
      Capilano University
      t: 604.983.7596
      c: 778.879.7119