Mount St. Joseph University

Mount Prepares Psychology and Music Major for Career in Music Therapy

Humanities, Music, Psychology, Current Students

By: Amanda Gratsch

File Under: current student, music, psychology

Double the Major, Double the Passion.

Double majoring in both psychology and music with a minor in educational studies, current student Maria Bruce has her heart set on a career in helping others.

Having always learned better in smaller class sizes, Bruce knew she wanted to go to a smaller college. When she first started at the Mount, she knew she wanted to work with special needs kids, thus beginning as a special needs major.

But after working in a school setting, Bruce realized she wanted to take a different career path, though she still wanted to help people, a passion she carried early on in her college career. So Bruce decided that double-majoring in both psychology and music would enhance her credentials for her future career.

“My two biggest passions have always been singing (music) and helping others,” says Bruce. I decided to double major in both psychology and music, and knew I wanted to get my master’s in music therapy.”

Academic and Community Involvement

Since the beginning of her Mount career, Bruce has remained involved. With her love for singing, Bruce has been in Choir at the Mount since freshman year and when she was a special education major, she was president of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), the honors club for education. In addition, she is currently a member of Psi Chi, the honors club for psychology, and during her junior year, she completed a practicum at the Psychology department at Children’s Hospital for one year, where she assisted with neuropsychological assessment, treatment, and research on developmental disabilities.

Her senior year, Bruce put her skills into action as she organized a Carpenters Anniversary tribute concert to honor the American vocal duo, the Carpenters for their 50th anniversary after Karen Carpenter’s passing 35 years ago from a lengthy struggle with an eating disorder.

Bruce was inspired to honor the Carpenters on their anniversary while also helping those struggling with eating disorders by raising awareness through a tribute concert and donating the proceeds.

“I created, planned, and organized this concert outside of school with no credits for school,” says Bruce. “I wanted to help people with eating disorders, since it’s the least funded mental illness, and I wanted to plan an amazing tribute concert to the Carpenters since this year marks 35 years since Karen died and 50 years since the Carpenters started.”

Through Bruce’s dedicated hard work, the concert raised nearly $11,000 in proceeds for the Eating Recovering Center, a facility specializing in treatments for adults and adolescents suffering from eating disorders.

Bruce successfully utilized knowledge from both of her majors to carefully organize a beautiful tribute show.

A Career Path of Giving Back

After graduation, Bruce plans to get her master’s degree online in music therapy while working full-time. She is interested in helping patients with PTSD, including war veterans and possibly those diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

“The Mount was very instrumental in preparing me for my career path,” says Bruce. “Music therapy is both a mixture of psychology (helping others) and music. The Mount has prepared me in the sense that I have a background in both passions of mine, which will help me with grad school.”

Her senior year, Bruce was awarded the Departmental Award for music, the Mission Mug Award, as well as winning the Women’s Advocacy and Leadership Award for her community efforts to support those with mental illnesses.

“I love the Mount,” she says. “I have become close to so many people, including professors that have shaped me into the person I am today.”

For those interested in the Mount's music program, click here, and for those interested in the psychology program, click here to learn more.