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Top Music Therapy Trends of 2012: A Wishlist

by Kimberly on January 11, 2012 · 8 comments

The new year brings it’s share of articles and posts that start with phrases like “the best of…”, “top ____ stories of…”, and “top _____ trends to watch for…”

This year, I’ve decided to create my own list: top music therapy trends of 2012. This list is mostly a “wishlist” of what I would like to see as top trends. And it fits in nicely with our social media advocacy month, don’t you think? I mean, isn’t that part of what advocacy’s all about? As I see it, one of the goals of advocacy is to develop public awareness and recognition of our field. So much so that, perhaps, that it warrants our very own “top trends” list one day. Wouldn’t that be nice?

With that in mind, here is my “loosely-based-in-fact-but-mostly-a-wishlist” list of top music therapy trends to watch for in 2012:

More referrals from doctors

We will see a significant increase in the number of doctors who are referring their patients for music therapy assessments as they become more aware of music therapy and the science supporting why it works. Whether to help reduce stress for cardiac patients, provide mental health support for psychiatric patients, enhance exercise protocols for rehab patients, or provide emotional support and reduce pain in hospitalized patients, people are more aware of the benefits music therapy can offer and are asking for music therapy treatment.

School districts have easy access to music therapy

Gone are the days when parents had to fight to get music therapy added to their child’s IEP. Music therapy referrals and assessments are now common occurrences for children enrolled in special education programs. Parents, teachers, and aides are aware of the common signs and behaviors to look for that indicate a child might benefit from music therapy. Additionally, school districts across the country have easy access to a board-certified music therapist, whether contracted or employed.

Music therapists as characters in movies, TV shows, and novels

It all started rather recently with characters in novels by Jodi Picoult and Allison Pearson and in movies like The Music Never Stopped. Characters who work as  music therapists are showing up more frequently in storylines that involve music, mental health and psychology, or the medical sciences. These movies, TV shows, and novels are helping to bring the music therapy profession into the public consciousness.

Customized music for workout programs

Exercise and workout programs are becoming more important and more popular for the baby boomer generation. Realizing the tremendous impact rhythm can have on our motor movements, music therapists are customizing music for workout programs. People who use these workout programs report that the music helps them workout more efficiently and for longer periods of time.

Arts and music education in all the schools

Realizing the tremendous benefit of an arts-based education on child development, schools are allocating more resources and support towards their art, music, dance, and theater departments. Gone are the days when schools automatically cut these programs. Instead, they are working to support and nurture their arts and music education programs.

People are seeking music therapy consultations

Music therapy–and any kind of therapy, for that matter–can be very expensive. As such, more and more music therapists are beginning to offer consultation services. Instead of working with a client individually every week, these music therapists are developing customized home-based programs that they track and tweak as needed.

The emergence of e-music therapy

Although the benefit and value of “doing therapy” through a video conferencing service like Skype is still being debated, music therapists are beginning to give it a test run. In particular, look for video conference to be used more often in conjunction with consultation services and as a way to access clients in remote areas (e.g. for disaster relief).

All 50 states formally recognize music therapy

For the very first time–and as a result of the collaboration between the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT), and music therapists across the country–all 50 states formally recognize the music therapy profession. Some states have created a music therapy license and other states have created music therapy registries. Regardless, because of these efforts, we should start seeing it become easier for every US citizen to access music therapy services should they want to.

So, if you were to add anything to this “top trends” wishlist, what would it be?

P.S. Don’t forget! As part of social media advocacy month, take this fun little quiz to see what your advocacy personality is. Let us know in the comments section what type of advocate you are!


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Kellee Coviak January 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Yes, yes, YES! If I were to add to this list, I would include: when I say I’m a music therapist, people understand what that entails, understand that it requires specialized training and certification, and understand that, yes, I do get paid for the services I provide, just like other treatment specialists.

Evelyn Lee January 12, 2012 at 1:44 pm

I wish for more collaboration with music performers/educators to develop programs that includes a therapeutic/wellness element!

Kimberly January 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Great ideas, Evelyn and Kellee! Thank you for sharing! ~Kimberly

Lacy February 9, 2012 at 10:30 am

That’s a great thought. I would like to tell you thanks for telling us your thoughts. We will for sure share your site. It’s hard to find quality comments.We just purchased a book on the exact subject and was pretty informative, but you explained a a view that the book failed to do.
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Morgan March 19, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Hello! I simply wish to give a huge thumbs up for the great information you may have here on this post. I shall be coming again to your blog for more soon. I are always seeking for fun activities to do. Great stuff, just nice! I’ve bookmarked you to check out new stuff you blog post. Thanks again for your support on the issue! It is for sure appreciated more than you know. I can’t consider you are not more because you definitely have the gift of writing!
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Kimberly March 22, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Thank you! I appreciate your kind words and hope to “talk” with you here again 🙂 ~Kimberly

Chee May 22, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Hello, I’m doing a research on Music therapist and I was wondering if there were any ” top people” in this field?

Kimberly June 1, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Interesting question! I think the answer will depend on who you ask. I certainly have some professionals who I consider “top people” but my list is probably different than other people’s list 🙂 ~Kimberly

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