PASSION – For the Music Therapy Profession – Part 3 of 5

In my last two blog posts, I talked about the importance of passion as a musician and as a music therapist. (Read those posts here). There is a little bit of difference being a professional music therapist and having passion for the profession of music therapy. As a working MT-BC you can choose to focus on your relationship with your clients, your musicianship and your job, but as I have learned over the years, one of the few constants in life is change. So maybe you are tired of working for someone else and you decide to start your own private practice as a music therapist.

Networking with other professionals

Networking with other professionals

Add all of the skills listed in the last two posts and then, add in all of the responsibilities and skills needed to run a business. You will need to learn how to write a business plan, how to market your business so that you can get work and you will need to account for all of the earnings that come in. You may need to develop policies and procedures to have employees or sub-contractors.

In this day and age it is difficult to have a business if you aren’t online. At the least you need to be able to send and receive emails. It also makes sense to have a website, which, if you don’t have the investment to hire a website designer or marketing experts, you will need to learn to do this yourself. And if you don’t want your website to be static, then you will need to be finding content and updating your site regularly. You can do this through blogging and/or posting pictures, videos and news stories about music therapy. This is time consuming but at least there is a lot of material to choose from on the internet.

If you are the only music therapist in your area, then you will need to be networking and educating other professionals in related disciplines so that they can refer clients to you. If you are one of many music therapists in your area, people in other professions may already know what music therapy is and the outcomes, so then the task becomes setting your practice apart from the others, and at the same time, adhering to the CBMT code of ethics so that you are not taking business away from the other MT’s in your area.

The main thing about being a music therapy business owner is to keep on going and not give up. Many business advisors say that it takes at least two years of hard work before you start seeing the results and your business starts to thrive. This is why passion for the profession is so important to be a successful music therapy business owner.

Visit the blog next week and read about my music therapy journey.

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How do you put a value on something?


Car manufacturers look at the cost of parts, manufacturing, distribution, commissions for sellers, cost of running a dealership and probably thirty other factors all to determine the price of their car. Car brands add value as well as reputation and history. A Mercedes Benz is much more expensive than a Ford, and the buyer can chose to pay for the vehicle he wants.
But what if the item in question is different? What if it isn’t a tangible object? What if it is a service? Okay, so the yard guy comes and mows and trims for an hour each month, I can see the results of the work he has done so that must be a tangible service. How about a service that can impact the quality of an individual’s life for years to come? Well, that seems to me like an important and necessary service and I would expect to pay more for that then I pay for landscaping.
The news is out, people! MUSIC THERAPY WORKS! Each day there are more news stories about music therapy in NICU (neonatal intensive care units), hospitals, schools, long-term care facilities, mental health, and hospice. I have had the blessing of facilitating music therapy sessions where the client met important and life-changing goals and I have devoted my life to providing this important service. And yet when it comes to negotiating contracts, I tend to negotiate in the wrong direction despite my knowledge of the benefits of music therapy.
Over the last few weeks, I have been discussing wages and prices with my colleagues. Why am I so willing to lower my rates? The primary reason is that I love music therapy. Anything else is work so I want to do more music therapy. And when I see the impact on the individuals I serve, I truly feel as if I have received a bonus. However, you can’t pay the mortgage with the hugs you receive. Instead, we worked backwards. What is a monthly budget that would be comfortable and include things like health insurance and retirement? Take that, divided by a reasonable amount of contact hours and our prices are determined. So now, as much as I would like to see everyone receiving music therapy, I won’t undersell just to make the group happen.
How do you determine the value of the services you provide? Or how do you value the services you procure?

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Thump, Thud, Crash – Register Now!

Register today at the Community Education Parent Portal:

Download a PDF version of the Thump, Thud, Crash flyer here.

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Sing, Dance & Play – Register Now!

Register today at the Community Education Parent Portal:

Download a PDF version of the Sing, Dance, & Play flyer here.

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