It is January, and with the dawning of a new year comes the annual Music Therapy Advocacy Month sponsored by the American Music Therapy Association www.musictherapy.org and the Certification Board for Music Therapists www.cbmt.org. This is a time for us to advocate for our profession as a collective group.
As I read through posts from my colleagues, I wonder what I can say that will make a difference, if not an impact. Music is a powerful tool and, when administered by a trained professional, can have enormous impact on those people that are participating in the act of creating it. This is true whether the person receiving music therapy has Alzheimer’s, Traumatic Brain Injury, Parkinson’s, Down’s syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism Spectrum disorder and basically anyone and everyone else.
I have been trying to put my thoughts into words and to relate them to Dina Register’s post about being a connector, reflector or director, which area is my strength and how I advocate for music therapy. After much reflection, I realized that in order to be a successful music therapy business owner, I have to have all of these attributes and constantly advocate for music therapy.
By feeling connected to a greater purpose of providing positive life changes for the people I serve, I become a reflector of that purpose. It is hard to remain anonymous and invisible when I walk into a facility with a guitar on my back and bags of other various instruments. When the music begins, of course, the sounds I create with my clients attract even more attention. I am reflecting my joy and purpose to my clients and they in turn reflect it back, which facilitates positive change. This is what I want other people to see when they observe and experience music therapy.
I must also be a director. In my sessions I am structuring and directing the musical experiences so that I can help my clients to achieve positive outcomes. This means choosing songs and interventions that are fun and presenting them in a way that motivates my clients to participate so that they can achieve their goals. As a business owner, I must be aware of all the multiple aspects of business ownership, I must set goals and push the business in the direction that I want it to go.
I would to thank Dina Register and the CBMT executive board, Judy Simpson and the AMTA executive board, and all of the state advocacy teams for your hard work in advocating for our profession. My advocacy has been on a grass roots basis as I build my private practice and I truly appreciate those of you who have taken the time to serve on your local, state, regional and national committees to advocate for all of us.