Music Therapy Advocacy: Share Your Story!

This month, I am joining a group of music therapy bloggers and podcasters in the effort to encourage music therapy advocacy and to bring awareness to the State Recognition Operational Plan being implemented by AMTA and CBMT. Staff from AMTA and CMBT are supporting the music therapists who make up the state task forces across the country that are working to obtain recognition of music therapy and the MT-BC credential. Ultimately, the goal is to have the MT-BC as the minimum requirement for providing music therapy services in all of our work settings.

Advocacy might seem like something that is big and scary, best taken care of by the the paid staff at AMTA and CBMT, but in reality, it takes the efforts of everyone who cares about music therapy – clients, caregivers, and music therapists alike. The good thing is that advocacy can happen at any level, whether by talking about music therapy with the next-door neighbor, or by providing testimony to a legislative body.

For clients, caregivers, and music lovers:

If you are reading this, you probably understand on a personal level that music makes a difference in people’s lives. You may have experienced the power of music therapy in your own life, and even if you haven’t, you probably also can imagine how music could be used therapeutically for people with various needs and abilities. What I am asking of you is that you share your story. To the level that you are comfortable sharing, here are some things you could do:

  • Tell your friends and neighbors how music worked for you or your loved one.
  • Tell the administrators at the agency providing music therapy about how it worked for you.
  • Write down your story for a guest blog post. (Contact me to have it included here!)
  • Send a letter to the editor of your newspaper.
  • Write a letter to your legislator about your experience of music therapy.

If you aren’t comfortable doing these things but still want your story to be shared, please ask your music therapist to share your story for you. Chances are the music therapist will cherish your feedback, and the more stories the music therapist has to share in his or her own advocacy efforts, the better!

For music therapists:

We are all used to hearing the question – what is music therapy, anyway? My advice? Be ready to answer that question! Let your enthusiasm and your passion for our profession shine through your interactions with those around you. I am not an outgoing person by any means and I’m not one to start conversations with people I don’t know well (I leave that to my husband!), but I do love, love, love talking about music therapy and the amazing things I get to see and do everyday. Put your best foot forward in your day-to-day work and be ready to talk about how great your job is! This day-to-day advocacy is powerful – the more people who have a positive experience with a music therapist (you!) the more potential advocates we have, and the wider reach music therapists will have to reach the people who need our services.

I also think music therapists should take every opportunity to give presentations about our profession. In my next post, I will give my suggestions for giving a great introductory music therapy presentation.

What is your story? How has music or music therapy impacted your life? When was the last time you took the opportunity to share your story? I’d love to hear about your advocacy efforts in the comments below!

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