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!