Volume 17 Number 17 May 16, 2016

Pre-Professional Arts Based Service-Learning in Music Education and Art Therapy

Holly Feen-Calligan
Wayne State University, USA

Wendy K. Matthews
Wayne State University, USA

Citation: Feen-Calligan, H. & Matthews, W. K. (2016). Pre-professional arts based service-learning in music education and art therapy. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 17(17). Retrieved from http://www.ijea.org/v17n17/.


This article describes a study of art therapy and music education students at a Midwestern university in the United States, who participated in single-semester service-learning assignments prior to their clinical internship or student teaching experience. Undergraduate music teacher-candidates taught music to homeschool students; art therapy graduate students worked at community centers or other agencies. This paper describes research methods, depicts major findings, and features case examples. Analysis of embedded assignments, which included written reflections, visual artwork, case studies of homeschool students, and surveys suggests that service-learning facilitated growth in personal attitudes and professional skills considered important to student preparation for their culminating clinical experiences. A discussion of the benefits of service-learning as a pre-professional pedagogy and recommendations for teaching and further research are offered. Additional findings related to arts based service-learning may help inform the development, implementation, and outcomes of arts based service-learning pedagogy.

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