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Meet Tessa Ferry, Future Music Therapist

| Brianna Evans

Tessa Ferry has spent much of her time at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire researching topics surrounding music therapy. As a music and psychology double major, she has worked on 6 different research projects throughout her undergraduate studies.

Ferry, who was a Blugold Fellow, completed her research with Professor Lee Anna Rasar, and she credits her research projects to be one of her biggest accomplishments.

Ferry said her favorite project took place throughout her sophomore year at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. She explained how Covid prevented people from seeing a music therapist, encouraging people to use take home music therapy instead.

“I was developing a set of playlists to take the listener from a negative emotion to a positive emotion,” Ferry said. She explained the “negative starting emotions were associated with what students would experience during the pandemic.”

Nearly half of the research projects Ferry’s done were about the autism spectrum disorder. Ferry explained in her research she was “creating adaptations for students with autism spectrum disorder to participate in music classrooms.”

More recently, Ferry explained, “we did a set of percussion adaptations over the summer.” She also notes in her latest research, “I go to the juvenile detention center downtown and I do music therapy there.”

Ferry has been just as busy playing music as she has been researching it. She’s been a member of the Blugold Marching Band, university band, symphony band, wind symphony, symphony orchestra, and has also been in several chamber groups playing the French horn.

Outside of the music department, Ferry has been dedicated to helping new students find their home on campus, through her work as an Orientation Assistant and an Honors 100 Mentor.

She explained one of her favorite memories in honors was being an Honors Mentor. She was happy to be able to mentor the Blugold Fellows section, the same section she took her freshman year. She explained it “was really fun getting to work with those students,” who, like Ferry, were tasked with getting involved in a faculty-student collaborative research project their first semester on campus.

The Honors Program has been an important part of her educational experience, Ferry said. “I think Honors has just given me a lot of experience integrating my interests into my courses,” she explained.

When describing how Honors fit into her two areas of study, Ferry emphasized the interdisciplinary aspects of the program. She explained this aspect of Honors “has been the most important because I want to be a music therapist which is really a combination of arts and sciences.”

Ferry really enjoyed the community of Honors, especially highlighting how “you get to interact with so many different people from so many different disciplines.” She explained the Honors Program has taught her how to interact with a wide variety of people from different disciplines, a skill she will take with her beyond UWEC.

After graduation, Ferry plans to keep playing music as she begins looking at graduate schools for music therapy.