Music Therapy: Medium For Character Formation and Medical Intervention.

Kezia Karnila Putri, S.Sn., MMT, MTA, MT-BC, is a Music Therapy lecturer at Universitas Pelita Harapan Conservatory of Music (UPH CoM). Music Therapy is one of seven concentrations offered at UPH CoM. For Kezia, being a Music Therapy lecturer is not just a profession but also allow her to be an advocate for music therapy and the character formation of students. 

In 2020, Kezia decided to become a lecturer at UPH CoM because it is the only university that offers Music Therapy as a concentration in Indonesia. Currently, Kezia teaches several courses, including Fundamentals of Music Therapy, Music Therapy Techniques, Case Studies in Music Therapy, Music Therapy Assessment, Counselling Psychology, Music Therapy Practicum, and others. Her areas of interest include Clinical Improvisation, Receptive Methods in Music Therapy, Music Therapy, Mental Health Issues, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Geriatric Issues, the use of traditional Indonesian musical resources in clinical work, music therapy advocacy, and global networking. 

Kezia is an alumnus of the UPH 2012 batch and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music with a concentration in Music Therapy from UPH. She continued her studies in Canada and obtained a Master of Music Therapy degree in Music Psychotherapy from Wilfrid Laurier University. She is also a Music Therapists Accredited (MTA) by the Canadian Association of Music Therapists, a member of the Research and Ethics Committee 2020-2023 of the World Federation of Music Therapy, and also holds the credential of Music Therapists Board Certified (MTBC) by the Certification Board for Music Therapists in the United States. 

“At first, I had no idea what music therapy was, but studying at UPH provided me with unforgettable experiences in the field. Some of them included sessions in a mental hospital, nursing homes, and special needs schools. Those experiences made me more interested in the field of music therapy,” Kezia shared. 

Moreover, during her studies in Canada, she also worked as a full-time music therapist at Trinity Longterm Care Facility in Kitchener and Homewood Health Centre in Guelph, both located in Ontario. During her tenure, she worked with patients with various problems, such as PTSD, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and mental health issues, as well as senior citizens with cognitive problems such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. All these experiences solidified her determination to become a lecturer and contribute to the development of music therapy. 

According to Kezia, being a lecturer is her way to contribute to the development of the field of music therapy. As a lecturer, she can introduce students to the concept of music therapy and engage in research initiatives to further its development. She believes that research is greatly needed within the music therapy community in Indonesia. 

As an educator, Kezia believes that music therapy offers various benefits. For students studying music therapy, it helps to shape their character, work ethics, and discipline, as well as fostering self-care and empathy. In the medical field, music therapy can serve as a valuable non-pharmacological intervention. 

“Music therapy is a non-pharmacological medical intervention, which means it provides treatment without the use of medications. Its presence can reduce costs and provide more sustainable healthcare services,” explains Kezia. 

So, what does it take to study music therapy? Kezia explains that in music therapy, students learn both music theory and clinical knowledge. However, above all, good interpersonal skills are crucial. 

In her efforts to promote music therapy, Kezia regularly organizes the Music Therapy Week event, held every second week of April. The event features local and international speakers who share their knowledge about music therapy. Through this event, she hopes to increase public awareness and understanding of music therapy and its benefits. 

In addition to teaching music therapy, Kezia is actively involved in research and book writing. Currently, she is researching the use of traditional Indonesian musical instruments, specifically Balinese gamelan, to improve cognitive performance in the elderly. Outside of teaching, Kezia also provides therapy for clients. However, it is limited to research purposes and to further enhance her skills. 

Speaking about the challenges of music therapy in Indonesia, Kezia believes that the biggest challenge lies in advocating for its recognition. She notes that there is still a limited understanding of music therapy, and many people hold misconceptions about it. 

Furthermore, there is currently no standardized competency framework, code of ethics, or certification for music therapy in Indonesia. This situation is often exploited by irresponsible individuals, offering improper music therapy education and charging high fees for therapy services. 

Despite the challenges, Kezia sees a promising career outlook in music therapy. This is because music therapy combines musical and clinical professions that can be applied in various settings such as regular schools, special needs schools, clinics, private practices, child development clinics, general hospitals, and mental hospitals. Music therapists are already employed in prisons abroad. 

In the future, Kezia is determined to continue developing music therapy in Indonesia. She emphasizes that music therapy is not only an asset to the music industry but also to the healthcare industry in Indonesia. She hopes that music education in the country will start recognizing the importance of interdisciplinary concepts and collaboration, which she believes are crucial in addressing the challenges of the times and staying competitive globally. 

“I have a vision to develop music therapy in Indonesia. One of the things I’m working on is building a music therapy association in Indonesia to eventually be recognized by the Ministry of Law and Human Rights,” Kezia explains. 


UPH Conservatory of Music  

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