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January is Music Therapy Advocacy Month! Music therapists are always passionately explaining what music therapy actually is, and how it’s different from nursing, physical therapy, music education, music performance, etc. We compare the rigorous education and training we must complete before testing for national board certification. We’re always educating families and healthcare organizations about the research-based techniques which allow our innovative modality to effectively accomplish non-musical outcomes for our honored veterans of war, individuals with disabilities, and persons in correctional facilities. We provide evidence for the cost-effectiveness of our services in hospices, community centers, and healthcare organizations. We are eager to demonstrate how an hour of Music Therapy can benefit long after the session’s over for children in schools, older adults with dementia, and many others. We are telling stories to elucidate tears, and warm the heart.
Music Therapy bloggers publish some great material rockin’ around the clock, every month of the year, but January is especially exciting because we work together around a common cause. This year, we are guided by the “contentiousness that seems to surround legislative and policy issues.” Advocates are encouraged to bring “a spirit of mindfulness to advocacy efforts. Mindfulness is defined as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. This requires an awareness of our attitudes, feelings, thoughts, and actions; an understanding of how they impact our experiences and behaviors; and a willingness to take responsibility for our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being.” For more information, musictherapystaterecognition.blogspot.com.
Tonight I am going to see Ben Folds perform! Beyond his great music, many music therapists love his understanding of and advocacy for music therapy. Back in January of 2013, Ben said, “I’m not a Music Therapist but I believe in it strongly enough to bring attention to it… It’s safe, cost-effective, and in some cases even insured. It incorporates some heavy science and research, and, most importantly, it gets results.” You can click here to read the rest of his 653-word Facebook post. Later that month, Ben chose Music Therapy as the community service he wanted to represent when performing in Washington, D.C. for the National Day of Service; the American Music Therapy Association recognized this contribution with a write-up. He has advocated for our profession, visited a Music Therapy Conference, and recently, he has even collaborated with prominent neuroscientist Dr. Daniel Levitin to write an open letter to the President of the University of North Dakota. UND currently intends to close their music therapy program, but Ben has joined the national response protesting to keep the program open; If UND saves the program, he will self-fund a “benefit performance/lecture with the intent of helping raise money to support its budget.” Final note for all music therapist Sinfonians – Ben’s an honorary!
THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the 2016 Social Media Advocacy Project! Through conversations, presentations, e-mails, social media, videos, and podcasts, all music therapists and students will make an important contribution to our profession, no matter how small or large. Educating family, colleagues, and clients is a year-long effort to improve the public understanding of what MT is and what it is not. Contact your state task force to learn more.
The following list of participating MT blogs and podcasts was compiled by Kimberly Sena Moore and quoted from the MT state recognition page.
The George Center, Inc. credits, “Definition of music therapy and state recognition rationale courtesy of the Certification Board for Music Therapists and the American Music Therapy Association. Special thanks to Ross van Zyl and Jordan van Zyl (recording and mix), and Tasia Carter (editing),” and ensures, “All images and video were used with permission.”
CNN published a fine article about Music Therapy titled, “When patients have ‘music emergencies’,” by Elizabeth Landau. The article features Brian Jantz, MT-BC, NMT from the Boston Children’s Hospital, clinical vignettes, bits of history, Barbara Else, MPA, LCAT, MT-BC (AMTA’s senior adviser for policy and research), research by Daniel Levitin, introduction to some therapeutic music techniques, and Eric Miller, Ph.D. MT-BC.
Thank you #FLMusicTherapy task force for this great #mtadvocacy video! Quoted from the YouTube posting: “Board Certified Music Therapists (MT-BC) along with clients, supervisors, facility partners, families, and other community members are advocating for state recognition of the MT-BC credential through the form of a music therapy registry. Currently under review by the Florida House of Representatives (House Bill 571) and Senate (Senate Bill 204), music therapy registry would protect clients from harm that can occur, intentionally or not, when untrained professionals use music interventions with a variety of populations. This also has the potential to increase client access to services through grants and other funding through the state and local government. Finally, the registry will ensure that all board-certified music therapists (MT-BC) will have to be listed on the Florida registry before providing music therapy services across the state.
What is Music Therapy, and what is #FLMusicTherapy week? Why is Florida filing for a Music Therapy Registry? What will the new Registry look like?
Music Therapy (MT) is an allied healthcare profession serving the unique needs of individuals with a wide range of skills and abilities, needs and limitations. Music therapists use music and a therapeutic relationship as tools to accomplish non-musical, clinical objectives for the young, adult, and elderly across social, emotional, cognitive, and physical domains of wellbeing. We are highly trained therapists working in special education, neuromuscular rehab, general medical, skilled nursing, end-of-life care, and much, much more.
What does NOT distinguish our field are the diverse clients we work with or the individualized objectives we help them to accomplish. Indeed, we collaborate with (and work towards similar goals as) speech therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, school teachers, medical doctors, and other professionals as part of an interdisciplinary treatment team. What DOES distinguish MT is the research-based application of music through a therapeutic relationship with a board-certified professional. Although you may be a brilliant musician with good intentions, you can not provide music therapy, just like an expert runner can not practice physical therapy.
This presentation was delivered by Erin Seibert, an MT-BC working in St. Petersburg, FL. She wrote about this TEDx talk on her blog, Music Therapy Time. As she concludes, “January is Music Therapy Advocacy month on social media. Please feel free to share this talk with other music therapy professionals, clinicians, administrators, family members, friends, anyone! Let’s spread the word on what music therapy is, how we can better include it in our healthcare world, and encourage its inclusion as a household name.”
January is Music Therapy Advocacy Month, and the final week of January has been designated #FLMusicTherapy Week. These graphics are designed to be distributed across social media, so please post, tweet, share, educate, advocate, and get active! Advocacy is a team effort to make a meaningful difference.