This thesis investigates the intersections between theology, music therapy, and psychotherapy when creating a music composition that honors a hospice patient’s walk of faith. A pioneer organization inspiring this thesis is Swan Songs in Austin, Texas, where musical moments are created for the patient and family. However, its model is primarily based on collating previously composed pieces for recitals without a personalized honoring of the patient’s witness of faith. Noted with Honor is an emerging non-profit organization that creates an original work that reflects upon the testimony of the patient and forms a new narrative towards the end of one’s life, bringing peace and dignity to this final rite of passage. The author employs an interdisciplinary methodological approach. Besides theology and four types of therapy, some precompositional strategies are also examined: generating musical cryptograms of the patient’s and family members’ names via the French method of solmization, setting the style of the piece within the patient’s preferred sound aesthetic, and mathematically structuring the piece according to the patient’s duration of life and milestones.

Degree Date

Fall 2022

Document Type


Degree Name



Pastoral Music


C. Michael Hawn

Second Advisor

Marcell Steuernagel

Third Advisor

Joel Watson

Subject Area

Music, Religion


Keywords: hospice care, palliative care, music composition, theology, music therapy, psychotherapy, dignity therapy, narrative therapy, storytelling therapy, precomposition

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License