A blog for all things music therapy.
My Professor Was Wrong About Music Therapy
I just finished taking the GRE and it is looking hopeful that I won’t have to sit for it again. With any luck, this time next year I’ll be starting a graduate program in music therapy. With hopes of the future close to my mind, some memories of undergrad are also rising to the surface. All music therapy majors are accustomed to explaining and advocating for their major, but my senior year of college faced me with an advocacy opportunity that I left unfulfilled. Sharing it here, I hope to encourage others who find themselves in a situation in which a person of authority is incredulous toward what you have to say.
It was my research methods class, taught by a tenured psychology professor whose research focused on rehabilitation settings with people who suffered acquired brain trauma. She was describing how her research was impacting the re-acquisition of language. Knowing about Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT) and the neurological benefits of music, I raised my hand and asked if she knew about the research being done with music, language and the brain. After hearing out my little “elevator speech” about NMT, she looked at me with a little smile and replied, "If you worked with these patients, you would know the last thing they’re doing is singing.”
Years later, I can’t remember my response. I knew she was wrong, both about music therapy and in the tone of her response. I remember feeling torn over whether to push the issue or let it lie because she was a figure of authority. Ultimately, I wasn’t prepared for the possibility that she would completely blow me off. It seemed she didn’t accept music as a legitimate clinical tool and only considered music a recreational activity.
What bothered me most, however, was that she hadn’t demonstrated a level of open-mindedness I expected of scientists. The scientific method doesn’t preclude any phenomenon of credibility, as long as empirical evidence exists. Scientific theories are capable of being revised as long as observable, reliable, and valid evidence is found. My professor was wrong about music therapy because she didn’t take a moment to consider that music therapy was on the cutting edge of her field, even though she probably hadn’t heard of it before.
As I move toward my academic aspirations, I will always remember this moment. If I am lucky enough to become a professor, I hope to never let my own biases (while not completely avoidable) close my eyes to possibilities beyond my expertise. For those who have or will face similar situations, I hope that you will have the courage I didn’t and not let the moment pass you by.
Music Therapy Student Needs Help Graduating!!
I am a 5th year student at Temple who has been denied state grants. I need your help to graduate!!
My friend is in his 5th year at Temple University getting his degree in music therapy. He needs some serious financial help to graduate and his future profession is so underrated that I hope everyone will donate and/or signal boost this. Every bit helps.
Moore, K.S. (2013) A systematic review on the neural effects of music on emotion regulation: Implications for music therapy practice. Journal of Music Therapy, 50(3). 198-242.
When Meds Fail: A Case for Music Therapy
Tim Ringgold, MT-BC, at TedxYouth
Talking about music therapy with advocacy in mind.
3 Points To Consider FIRST
1. Can they relate to my description on a personal level?
2. Am I using language they understand?
3. When I describe music therapy, are they able to picture the face of someone to whom they could refer for my music therapy services?
Music Therapy and the Film, "Alive Inside" American Music Therapy Association
Important clarification from the American Music Therapy Association regarding the documentary “Alive Inside”. Highlights below, bold type emphasis added by me.
- American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) officials met with the film’s director and outlined problem areas a year ago. AMTA edited the script to correct misleading comments, recommending re-filming certain segments as well. Our attempts to correct misleading and inaccurate information went unheeded, which is why AMTA and AMTA’s Executive Director, Dr. Andrea Farbman did not agree to be partners nor be listed as such.
- The use of personalized music programs delivered by iPods with headphones facilitated by nursing home personnel is not clinical music therapy.
- The public should be aware that in some cases the iPod can cause more stress and harm to elderly persons, especially those in late stage dementia. No negative memories of clients, which might have resulted from the music listening, were portrayed in the film.
- The fact of the matter is that almost anything a board certified music therapist would do using clinical music therapy techniques would potentially have an even more profound effect than passively listening to music. Techniques used by a board certified music therapist, following an assessment process, such as singing with a client, playing a musical instrument with a client, involving the family in the process, can all have profound and important effects.
- Furthermore, some news outlets mistakenly label the “Music and Memory” program as music therapy or they interchangeably talk about the program and use clinical music therapy research, which further confuses and misleads the public.
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Music Therapy Tools of the Trade / DIY Instruments!
Hey, everyone! In this post, I will be throwing it back to April 2014, when I attended the Mid-Atlantic Regional Annual Music Therapy Conference of the American Music Therapy Association in Buffalo, NY, in which my college music therapy professors were the conference co-hosts! In this post, I will…