Music Therapy Philosophy and Definition by Kaitlin Emmert, Music Therapy Student/Intern

KaitlinHi all,

I’m happy to share a guest post authored by Kaitlin Emmert, a music therapy student/intern from the University of Evansville studying under the guidance of Dr. Kathleen Murphy.  Based on her experiences and education, Kaitlin shares her philosophy and thoughts towards defining music therapy. Thank you Kaitlin for sharing your ideas on this very important topic!

I believe music is uniquely only adequately defined through experience of music itself.  A definition in words cannot contain it, as it is a mixture of sound, silence, expression, emotion, both the physical and the non-physical.  Because of its incredible characteristics, music is able to touch all aspects of a person:  body, heart, mind, and soul.  This is why I believe it is perfect for therapy.  Music is not simply a cause for an effect or groups of sounds and words passing through time or even simply a beautiful melody.  Music, by its very nature—a complex yet simple one—benefits people in several ways at once.  Isolating a problem may lead to a risk of being blinded to the person as a whole; this is why I believe it is important to treat the entire person—body, mind, and soul—in therapy.  Music is capable of doing just that.  Whatever the goal in therapy, the music is present and can touch, and therefore benefit, all aspects of a person, from the problem and beyond.  My belief that music can be present in all things shows through in my person-centered, humanistic approach to music therapy.  I recognize the importance of being aware of and using aspects from other approaches, including cognitive, behavioral, and psychodynamic.  However, I believe a combination of these […]

1 WEEK left for Early bird Registration for IMCAP Course, Columbia MD

IMCAP CMTE PROMO -MD-May 3_4Hi all,

1 week remaining for EARLY BIRD Registration for IMCAP-ND CMTE Course at Howard Community College (Ends on April 15th!)

Are you interested in learning more about working within a Developmental Relationship-based Music Therapy Model? Here’s an opportunity to do so while earning 35 CMTE Credits! Click HERE for more information!

You will expand your knowledge on how to:

  • Create musical experiences that target specific musical areas that deal with
    • A) Social-Emotional Skills
    • B) Cognitive and Perceptual Skills
    • C) Preferences, Efficiency, Arousal Levels
  • Observe, assess, and score target responses within the context of relational musical-play
  • Create and write individualized goals and treatment plans
  • Communicate assessment findings to caregivers and healthcare professionals
  • Gain a deeper understanding of your musical tendencies and habitual responses as a musician and music therapist

By registering for this course you will receive complimentry Developmental, Relationship-based Music Therapy course materials (as  well an opportunity for discounted supervision/coaching): 

  • Receive 50% off IMCAP-based reflective supervision for up to 5 supervision sessions
  • A 10-pack of IMCAP-ND Rating Scale Booklets
  • IMCAP-ND Work Guide that includes:
  • Musical resources for the music therapist
  • Quality of Interaction rating chart
  • Procedural work phase check list
  • Clinical sample of IMCAP-ND rating scores (Scales I, II, & III)
  • IMCAP-ND goal bank
  • Clinical techniques guidelines (procedural phases and music domain areas)

The IMCAP-ND 2-day CMTE course with post-course assignments provides an opportunity to earn 35 CMTE Credits. This course will be held at Howard Community College in Columbia, MD on May 2nd and 3rd.

Click HERE to register!

Musically,

John

Ways of Thinking Musically in Music Therapy

Hi all, this is a throw-back-Sunday blog entry! This entry, written by Dr. Brian Abrams, was originally posted on 2/2/12. Based on the dialogue the developed as a result of my previous blog entry, I feel that this entry is a perfect continuation regarding the topic of “working-in” and “using” music. 

Ways of Thinking Musically in Music Therapy

In November 2011, at the annual conference of the American Music Therapy Association in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Kenneth Bruscia, the William W. Sears Distinguished Lecture Series Speaker, delivered an outstanding lecture entitled “Ways of Thinking in Music Therapy,” in which he examined different perspectives on understanding the practices and purposes of music therapy.

Dr. Bruscia, who was the most central mentor in the development of my professional identity as a music therapist, has always inspired others to think deeply about themselves and their work. For me, his guidance always prompted the question: What makes the work of a music therapist special and unique? Or, in other words: What differentiates it from other disciplines and professional practices? … or … How can we “locate” it, conceptually, as a specific construct? This was more than a mere intellectual exercise–it held a certain sense of urgency (at least for me) in understanding and advocating for the non-replicable value of music therapy in serving clients and the public via our modality.

For me, these questions were never adequately answered by considering the procedural components of music therapy alone, as popularly described. For example, it was not merely the use of music in a health promotion process that defined the distinctive essence of music therapy […]

“Using” vs “Working-In” Music in Music Therapy? Huh? Is there a Difference?

toolHi all,

Just jotting down some quick notes/thoughts on a topic that continuously pops up for me as a clinician, supervisor, and educator: the concept of music being used versus music being worked in in therapy. One word treats music as a thing, and the other as a verb. For me, the differences are pretty significant, and are a critical factors in establishing my identify as a  music therapist. The purpose of this post is to flesh out some questions and encourage dialogue. These ideas, thoughts, and questions are by no means something new, and in fact are consistently brought up via social media.

So, as music therapists, why do we play and make music, or create music experiences with clients? Does the musical experience really matter? Is the music more about being some-thing that is sound-based and seeks nothing more but to alter a behavior (i.e. I play this and you do that. If you don’t do that, I keep playing this to make you do that because I want you to do that)? Is the music about the experience occurring between you and the client as a relationship unfolds? And if so, how can the relationship foster health?

Furthermore, is it (music therapy) about using music as a stimulus (i.e. stimulus-response based work)? Or, Is it about working in music and experiencing the things that are unique about it, i.e., aesthetic and relational elements? The “keys” here, I believe, are the words “using” and “working.” Can a music therapist do both, use and work in music at the same time? Is that really possible? Can both paradigms be blended together? Does one cancel out the other? […]

Dr. Brian Abrams Discussing Thoughts on “Ways of Thinking Musically in Music Therapy”

Hello friends! Continuing with this series of guest bloggers, I’m happy to introduce friend and colleague, Dr. Brian Abrams, who has written a terrific post entitled: “Ways of Thinking Musically in Music Therapy.” Thanks Brian for sharing your thought provoking ideas!

Ways of Thinking Musically in Music Therapy

In November 2011, at the annual conference of the American Music Therapy Association in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Kenneth Bruscia, the William W. Sears Distinguished Lecture Series Speaker, delivered an outstanding lecture entitled “Ways of Thinking in Music Therapy,” in which he examined different perspectives on understanding the practices and purposes of music therapy.

Dr. Bruscia, who was the most central mentor in the development of my professional identity as a music therapist, has always inspired others to think deeply about themselves and their work. For me, his guidance always prompted the question: What makes the work of a music therapist special and unique? Or, in other words: What differentiates it from other disciplines and professional practices? … or … How can we “locate” it, conceptually, as a specific construct? This was more than a mere intellectual exercise–it held a certain sense of urgency (at least for me) in understanding and advocating for the non-replicable value of music therapy in serving clients and the public via our modality.

For me, these questions were never adequately answered by considering the procedural components of music therapy alone, as popularly described. For example, it was not merely the use of music in a health promotion process that defined the distinctive essence of music therapy for me. Other health care professionals could certainly utilize music in their work, as part of facilitating various […]

Parents Can Sing, Too! Music Therapy Advocacy from Experiencing It…

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 35 active state task forces, 2 licensure bills passed in 2011, and an estimated 10 bills being filed in 2012 that seek to create either a music therapy registry or license for music therapy. This month, our focus is on YOU and on getting you excited about advocacy!

 Advocacy is all Part of the Gig…  

Advocacy is vital to the future of music therapy. It helps to inform communities, clinical sites, potential founding sources as well as the consumers. In addition, it helps in sustaining enrollment in music therapy degree programs. As a profession, it is our obligation to ensure that the public understands the value of music therapy. How can we ensure that the future will include the profession of music therapy? How can we ensure that the music therapy job market will exist and be able to keep up with the graduating music therapists of today and tomorrow? Can we be certain that funding sources for music therapy will be available in the future? Or that music therapy degree programs will thrive and grow in the future? To that end, we need to […]

WHAT’S ON TAP AT THE BLOGERY…

Hello all,

I hope this post finds you well.

I have a bunch of new things going that I would like to share with you all. So, if you’re interested check out what’s happening…

GUEST BLOGGERS!

Guest Bloggers Writing on “Relationship in Music Therapy”

I have a line-up of various therapists who have graciously agreed to share their knowledge and expertise on the topic of Relationship in Music Therapy. The first series of guest bloggers will feature music therapists, Suzannah Scott-Moncrieff, MA, MT-BC, LCAT and Nancy Jackson, Ph.D., MT-BC

Suzannah’s blog is entitled Building a Healthy Relationship to Music,” while Nancy’s focuses on  “The importance of Listening.” Stay tuned to read both blog posts…

 EVENTS

New York Yankees legendary Center Fielder, Bernie Williams and his band will be performing a benefit concert for the Rebecca Center for Music Therapy! We are VERY exciting about this event and we are extremely grateful to Bernie Williams and Molloy College for supporting such an event. For more info: http://madisontheatreny.org/bernie-williams.php#top

TALKS

The IMCAP-ND: Understand Relationship in Musical-Play, American Music Therapy Association’s National Conference in Atlanta Georgia on Saturday November 19th. For more info: http://www.musictherapy.org/assets/1/13/Mini_Prelimi_7-25-11.pdf

 Musically Conceptualizing Clients in Musical-Play: The Encounter, the Interaction, the Intention,Temple University in Philadelphia on February 24, 2012.  For more info: http://temple.edu/boyer/ResearchCenter/NewsEventsMain.htm

 PUBLICATION

If you’re interested in learning more about DIR/Floortime and Music Therapy check out a chapter that was recently published in: New Developments in Music Therapy Practice: Case Study Perspectives by Barcelona Publishers: Addressing Core Features of Autism: Integrating Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy within the Developmental, Individual-Difference, Relationship-Based (DIR)/FloortimeTM Model. http://www.barcelonapublishers.com/developmentsinmusictherapy/

 NEW PROJECTS/PROGRAMS

Supervision & Clinical Musicianship Tutoring for Music Therapists. This is available through video conferencing as well as in-person meetings. For more information email […]

What’s so special about music therapy anyway?

This blog entry was inspired by a chat that I recently has with a music therapy colleague, which then carried over into a discussion with and occupational speech therapist. I would be interested in knowing your thoughts….

What is indigenous (and intrinsic) to music therapy? What do we offer, as MTs, that is unique and specific to our medium and discipline? And, are we, as MTs, clinically utilizing those very things that are specific to only music and music therapy in our clinical work and writing, such as aesthetics and the relational properties that are unique to music making. Or, are we simply using the byproducts of music?- This would be the equivalent to using a book as a door stop, a sculpture as a paperweight, music as “white noise”, a painting to hide a hole in the wall, etc.

Do we use music as a motivator? Is that unique to MT?

Do we use music because it’s non-threatening (is it really always non-threatening??) way to work with clients? Is being non-threatening really unique to only music therapy?

Do we use music for non-musical goals, such as speech, physical, etc.? is that unique to MT?

Is using music unique to what music has to offer??

Thoughts??

Best,

John

Dr. John Carpente Interviewed on Autism and Music Therapy on TBN Network

Musical Goals are Clinical Goals????

  Hi all,

In jotting down some ideas based on music domain areas, I came a across a couple of questions that I would love to have some feedback on. The ideas are grounded and based on the idea that musical are clinical goals. Can they be? Let’s say it’s within the context of relationship in music therapy. Can musical goals be clinical in the context of relating and developing deep relationships (looking solely at the musical)?

The following is based on the idea that when writing a music therapy goal plan, musical domain areas are not stressed enough, yes? No?

If music therapy is our area of expertise, and, the identity that we have chosen when deciding a profession, why do we, music therapists, focus on other domains areas outside of the musical when crafting a treatment plan? I do see, however, the importance of understanding and adapting to biological (including emotional) challenges that may interfere with a client’s ability to engage and relate and music, and musical considerations would have to be implemented based on each client’s individual differences, yes, I completely understand that, and I employ that idea into my own clinical work everyday. In the end, however, when crafting the goal plan, why do we not refer to only musical domain areas? Isn’t that the area that no other profession can claim? Isn’t that what separates us and makes us valuable on a treatment team that already consists of therapies focused on motor, speech, etc.? Why is our treatment plan not based on the musical?

To that end, my next questions are:

1) Are back-and-forth affective and robust interactions necessary for social-emotional development through the […]