Sunday, January 13, 2013

What I Have Done With Music Therapy

This January is the third annual music therapy Social Media Advocacy Month. Part of this month-long process involves collecting stories of lives that have been impacted through music therapy.

Because of confidentiality, my family and friends can't just drop in during the day to see what I am doing as part of my music therapy practicum hours.

To join in with this month of advocacy, and to give the people in my life a window into what I do with clients, I am sharing some of the amazing things I have gotten to be a part of as a music therapy student.

I have:

Helped a man with a visual impairment and autism use his voice more appropriately (normal speaking range instead of Mickey-Mouse high).
Helped the same client learn to reach out, feel and identify objects and materials in his environment. 

Helped a woman on hospice care strengthen her larynx (voice-box) so she could continue to enjoy solid food with her husband for as long as possible. 
Helped the same woman recall and validate memories of her life using her favorite familiar music.
Helped calm her anxiety and lower her respiration rate using music.

Helped a group of teenagers with autism learn some new songs using a rock band setup, and in the process they worked on social skills, direction-following, and appropriate emotional expression.

Helped a group of residents in an assisted-living facility maintain their motor and cognitive skills, and improve their quality of life and self-esteem through the rehearsals and performances of a tone chime choir. 

Helped a child with a developmental disability access more motor skills and speech.

This is just a sampling of the ways I have been able to participate in music therapy as a student in the course of two semesters of practicum. I am truly and deeply humbled by the power of music therapy, and blessed by the privilege of working with these clients.

I cannot express my excitement to become a board-certified music therapist (MT-BC) and to get to experience music therapy moments all day, every day.

Introduction: Advocacy --> Recognition --> Access

Since 2005, the American Music Therapy Association and the Certification Board for Music Therapists have collaborated on a State Recognition Operational Plan. The primary purpose of this plan is to get music therapy and our MT-BC credential recognized by individual states so that citizens can more easily access our services. The AMTA Government Relations staff and CBMT Regulatory Affairs staff provide guidance and technical support to state task forces throughout the country as they work towards state recognition. To date, their work has resulted in over 35 active state task forces, 2 licensure bills passed in 2011, 1 licensure bill passed in 2012, and an estimated 7 bills being filed in 2013 that seek to create either title protection or a licensure for music therapy. This month, our focus is on YOU and on getting you excited about advocacy.

What music therapy stories do you have to share?