Jim Pierce

Assistant Professor of Music Therapy

(901) 678-2541
MU 129
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  • Ph.D., Southern Mississippi University, 2023
  • M.M., Master of Music, Florida State University, 2004
  • B.A., Bachelor of Arts in Music, West Virginia University, 2002
  • B.A., Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, West Virginia University, 2002


Jim Pierce is a native of Morgantown, WV where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from West Virginia University. Due to his passion for music and psychology, he earned a Master of Music in Music Therapy from Florida State University.  He holds a Doctor in Philosophy in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. He is a member of the Tennessee Music Therapy Task Force (TNTF), American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and serves as president of the Tennessee Association for Music Therapy (TAMT).

Dr. Pierce has an extensive eighteen-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, juvenile detention centers, acute/long-term forensic mental health facilities and dual diagnosis facilities. Using music therapy interventions, he successfully gained rapport and engaged individual/group participants to achieve individualized goals on their journey to wellness. 

Dr. Pierce has worked clinically with many diverse populations but specializes in providing cognitive behavioral mental health music therapy individual/group sessions for youth and adults. His work in forensic mental health, juvenile detention centers and dementia care facilities provided a strong foundation for addressing an array health concerns. The psychoeducational music therapy sessions provided insight for an array of diagnoses such as: schizophrenia disorder, bipolar disorder, substance use disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiance disorder and Alzheimer disease diagnoses.

A prolific grant writer and community organizer, Dr. Pierce 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: assist 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.