PROF Katrina Skewes McFerran

PROF Katrina Skewes McFerran


  • Community Building (in Schools using Music)
  • Equity (making appropriate music opportunities available to all young people)
  • Music Therapy (Young People)
  • Music and Health (Healthy and Unhealthy Uses of Music)



  • Professor Katrina Skewes McFerran is an international expert on the topic of music, music therapy and adolescents.  She has undertaken a range of studies investigating healthy and unhealthy uses of music with and by young people, preferring participatory approaches with an emphasis on reflexive, qualitative investigations.  She has also contributed to the development of an assessment tool for increasing young people's conscious and intentional uses of music.  Her music therapy research spans school, community and hospital based practices with young people incorporating a range of music strategies such as song writing, improvisation, performances and music sharing. She is committed to building healthy music cultures in schools that promote wellbeing and connectedness, as well as providing direct therapy services for young people who wish to work towards personal and interpersonal change and growth.

    Professor McFerran has published her research in international and interdisciplinary refereed journals and has contributed numerous case studies and practice reflections to edited books, as well as sole authoring her first text on ‘Adolescents, Music and Music Therapy' in 2010 (Jessica Kingsley Publishers) and her second on 'Building Music Cultures in Schools' in 2014 (Barcelona Publications).  She is also an Editor of VOICES: A world forum for music therapy and sits on Editorial Boards of the Australian and Nordic Journals of Music Therapy, as well as Music Therapy Today, and Social Work with Groups.

    Professor McFerran is Head of the Masters in Music Therapy by Coursework program and Director of the National Music Therapy Research Unit where she supervises a range of projects exploring music and youth.  She is currently Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of the VCA&MCM, and Associate Director (Research) at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. Katrina is a member of the Research Higher Degr   


Member of

  • Australian Music Therapy Association. Registered Music Therapist 1994 -


Selected publications


Investigator on


Education and training

  • PhD, University of Melbourne 2001
  • BMus (hons), University of Melbourne 1993

Awards and honors

  • Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, 2012
  • G.E.M. Scott Teaching Award, 2010
  • University of Melbourne, 1998



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • Katrina has supervised a range of research projects investigating the ways that young people use music in schools, hospitals and therapy.  She is a committed qualitative researcher with expertise in action research, grounded theory and phenomenology.  Previous supervision of graduate researchers includes:

    Lucy O’Grady, Jan 2004 - July 2005. Masters Research.
    An examination of the relationship between music therapy and community music. Grounded Theory Study

    Meagan Hunt, Feb 2004 – Nov 2006. Masters Research.
    Music Therapy and Action Research: Empowering young refugees to foster feelings of belonging in the school community. Action Research Study

    Kathryn Lindenfelser, Jul 2005 – Dec 2006. Masters Research.
    The experience of music therapy for bereaved parents. Phenomenological Study.

    Melina Roberts, Feb 2006 - Nov 2008. Masters Research.
    Paediatric palliative care and music therapy. Lyric Analysis investigation

    Lucy O’Grady, Feb 2007 - May 2010. PhD.
    A feminist analysis of the elements of voice work that foster growth in women in the prison system. Action Research Study.

    Ju Young Lee, Jun 2007 - Nov 2008. Masters Research.
    The effect of song choice on communication levels of adults with multiple disabilities. ABAB Case Design.

    Grace Thompson, Feb 2009 – Aug 2012. PhD.
    Making a connection: randomised controlled trial of family centred music therapy for young children with autism spectrum disorder. RCT.

    Carmen Cheong-Clinch, Aug 2009– Feb 2013. PhD.
    An investigation of the music uses of young people with a mental illness. Grounded Theory study.

    Lucy Bolger, Feb 2010 – Feb 2013, PhD.
    Examining and comparing the process of collaboration in a participatory music project with three communities supporting marginalised young