Naomi Davis

Naomi Davis, MA student, music therapy

Empowers students through music

“Naomi works to develop relationships with the people around her and is an effective and collaborative team member. She is high-achieving and hard-working, but also kind, funny, empathetic, intelligent, thoughtful, and professional.” -Abbey Dvorak, associate professor

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Faculty mentor/advisor:
Abbey Dvorak, PhD, MT-BC, associate professor, music therapy, School of Music, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

What is your degree program and anticipated graduation date?
MA in Music Therapy, May 2024

Please describe your research:
My research provides arts-based mental health and wellness services for high school students of color in the Iowa City area through a 10-week Community Music Therapy group. Community Music Therapy is a collaborative and participatory framework of music therapy that intentionally restructures the power dynamics between therapists and therapy participants to provide increased opportunities for autonomy and empowerment. This program presents an opportunity for students to explore creativity, emotional well-being, and community connection through music. The goal of this research is to explore how collaborative music programming can impact students’ overall experience receiving mental health services when involved in a therapeutic relationship in which they have increased autonomy.

In simple terms, why does this research matter?
This research can provide increased insight for music therapists in the US into a framework of therapy that isn’t common in the US. It will also provide greater insight into the purpose and use of the therapeutic relationship within music therapy. This can provide access to a way of being in music therapy that is empowering for therapy participants and provides a framework for them to access and employ their internal resources more readily.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research?
I began participating in research at the University of Iowa from my very first week on campus.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa?
The process of being involved in research while at the University of Iowa has helped provide more meaning and context to the work that I am doing in the classroom. I have had the opportunity to tailor a lot of my education to my specific research and clinical interests which has broadened the depth and wealth of my experience.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation?
Following my graduation in May, I will be continuing at the University of Iowa to complete my PhD in music education with an emphasis in music therapy. My eventual career goal is to continue to conduct research full time while teaching and mentoring music therapy students as a full-time faculty member in music therapy. I would love to be a part of starting a music therapy program in one of the public universities in Maryland as there are currently limited opportunities to study music therapy in the state.

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