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cognitive neuroscience or psychology masters? music background


giuliana

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I got my undergratuate in music with an honors thesis I wrote on the effects listening to music has on chlid development: their ability to learn, their speed of learning, the effects on their personalities and how it can make students more accepting of foreign concepts and people.

 

I have been a music teacher since i graduated in 2010. I have been able to create a music program centered around cultural exploration and basic music theory as a precurser to what I belive a music program should be in order for students to have a well-rounded understanding of it's capabilities..

 

I am looking for a masters program that can lead to a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience, and eventually a career studying and researching the effects of listening to and leaning to play music. I have been doing a lot of reading on the subject and have discovered that I need to understand psychology, cognition and neuroscience to be able to get to the degree I want.

 

The problem is, without a science background, what do I get my masters in? To make matters worse, I'm in Sacramento and am looking for an online masters degree so I can continue to work.

 

Does anyone have any advice on online schools or what subject I should persue. I know I may need to take basic classes just to apply to a masters program. But I need to figure out what program first.

 

Thank you! I am itching to go back to school!

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I have interests in music cognition as well. I would advise taking a few basic psychology classes if you haven't already. Particularly a research methods class if you're able to, because it will give you a taste of how psychological research works. A lot of the music cognition work is happening in the cognitive area of psychology and some neuroscience angles as well. I don't know that I'd recommend a masters degree online because you want to use that time to network and do research in labs, to build up your experience. I would get a masters in general experimental psychology or if there are any cognitive focused experimental programs. You could also look into volunteering at labs as well, there are quite a few music cognitive based labs in California. It's a little difficult to fish out but I believe there are some professors that do research in this area that advise for masters students. But that's assuming you're willing to travel. Also, have you thought about educational psychology or a phd in music education? If you're more interested in music perception in general, then maybe that's not a good idea. However, if you're interested in methods and cognition of music learning, then music education may be a good route. You are able to do research and publish papers in that field as well.

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Thank you so much for your response. I have considered the educational field, but I want to be more on the research end of it. I have been going back and forth from this program though

 

http://musiceducation.bu.edu/master-of-music-degree/curriculum

 

It gives me th classes I was going to take on psychology, and it's entirely from the perspective of music. I feel like the classes could segway easily to a neuroscience Ph.D program if I volunteer in a lab, there's one at UCD I could try. What do you think?

 

The only reason I would chose this program, especially considering it's online, is because I feel like Boston U. is a great, well-renound school and I could continue to work.

 

Thank you!

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I think this would depend on what you're more interested in researching. Education, musical characteristics/theory or cognition/perception. You can eventually interlude these in your research but you'll need to decide what discipline you're most truly interested in.

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Just chiming in because I'm in the cognitive/behavioral neuroscience area myself.

My sense of things is that you should really consider the financial aspect of any masters program.

While in certain areas of psychology, like clinical I believe, it's more or less normal to obtain a masters and then transition to a PhD program. In the neuroscience area, this is way less common. Few programs offer terminal masters in this area and I think part of the reason is because neuroscience PhD programs don't really accept the work you did for your masters, and it more or less becomes a waste of money.

It sounds like you feel you need a stronger background in psychology to move onto a PhD program, which is totally reasonable, but there may be a more cost-effective method to do so. If you can obtain the necessary psych background, I don't think it matters much whether you did so in a degree program or not.

So explore your options!

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