Jim Pierce Named Assistant Professor of Music Therapy

Jim Pearce

The University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music is excited to welcome Jim Pierce as our new assistant professor of music therapy. The School of Music is preparing to launch a bachelor’s degree in music therapy, one of the fastest-growing programs of music study in the country, that connects the School to the Memphis medical community and contributes to the university’s ongoing research efforts.

“It is my privilege to welcome Jim Pierce to the School of Music faculty as an assistant professor of music therapy. Professor Pierce brings over a decade of clinical and academic experience to his new role and has an impressive track record of research and student success. We look forward to the impact he will have on our students and the new music therapy program,” said Dr. Kevin Sanders, Director of the School of Music.

Jim Pierce was born in Morgantown, WV where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from West Virginia University. His passion for music and psychology led him to Florida State University where he earned a Master of Music in Music Therapy. Since 2012 he has served as associate professor and coordinator of the music therapy program at William Carey University located in Hattiesburg, MS. He is a member of Phi Kappa Lambda, American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), Psi Chi and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). He is currently near completion of a Ph.D. in Music Education, with a minor in Psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity, the University of Memphis has a progressive, cutting-edge School of Music and adding a music therapy undergraduate degree will be a perfect addition that will immediately benefit the university and the city!”

Pierce has an extensive seventeen-year clinical career as a board-certified music therapist with a history of providing meaningful, goal-directed services to individuals/groups in the following settings: nursing homes, assisted living facilities, acute/ long-term adult mental health facilities, facilities for individuals diagnosed with developmental disabilities, acute/long-term forensic mental health facilities and substance abuse facilities. He is an active musician performing and recording with many state and national groups. He has been an active member of the Certification Board for Music Therapist Mississippi Task Force serving as state chair and advocating at the state and national level for music therapy services.

A prolific grant writer and community organizer, Pearce has been awarded many state and local grants. Of his more than $130,000 awarded grant funds, each successful grant endeavor promotes music therapy services and has a positive cascading impact for his university students and community. While every grant has a target goal all share the following commonalities: help people diagnosed with various health concerns meet individualized behavior-oriented goals through the application of music, create employment opportunities for his students, and provide public awareness of people diagnosed with physical/psychological or other impairment as contributing members of society.

Students who are interested in the upcoming bachelor’s degree in music therapy are encouraged to contact the School of Music advising team to discuss their future goals and how they may align with this degree program.

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