I have heard this many times. . . why don’t you volunteer? As a university-trained, board-certified music therapist, I get this question a lot! While music is a gift, the training needed for a music therapist to use music to help clients and patients is not! It’s expensive to get and maintain, just like any other professional certification, license or designation.

The following are excerpts from Gsus Music Therapy’s blog about this topic. It was so well-written, I thought it might be good to share here:

Well, what exactly is is music therapy? “Music therapy is the clinical-, evidence-, and goal-based alternative medical and therapy practice (a CAM titled profession) where music and musical elements are used to address the non-musical needs of an individual or group. The session interventions are customized to the individual and programmed to address identified goals using preferred music repertoire.” (Gsus Music Therapy Blog)

When you seek out, refer to, or contract music therapy services, you get:

A board certified music therapist
“A board certified music therapist is someone who has earned the credential MT-BC. This credential requires a bachelor degree + 6 month internship where the individual works as a music therapist + sitting for and passing a board certification exam. You also get someone who has years of experience working with individuals and groups across a wide range of needs, diagnoses, presenting conditions, and levels of functioning.” (Gsus Music Therapy Blog)

Continuing education, research and training
Music Therapists are required to complete at least 100 hours of continuing education credit every 5 years. UpBeat Music Therapy Services has completed over 225 continuing education credits since 2011. These hours include Hospice and Palliative Care Music Therapy, Neurological Music Therapy, local and national conference attendance and a wide variety of additional training hours (including ethics, supervising interns, ukulele, successful collaboration and so much more).

Annual association fees for maintaining the board certified credential and membership fees
UpBeat is a member of national, regional and local music therapist associations (AMTA – American Music Therapy Association, WRAMTA — Western Region of the American Music Therapy Association, OAMT – Oregon Association for Music Therapy, and MTAW — Music Therapy Association of Washington.) Through these associations, Anne has access to research and anecdotal publications and support services.

Time invested and spent on your (or your group’s) case
“Music therapy is a clinical-, evidence-, and goal-based therapy. This includes research done specifically with you (or your group) in mind to make sure the interventions being provided are consistently the best intervention techniques to address whatever need you may have, making sure that the music that is provided is preferred (because no one likes to listen to music they don’t like or can’t participate in), instruments for your ease of use (or adaptive instruments that are altered for disability or impairment), traveling to and from the session, documenting the session (even music therapists take therapist notes and chart your progress and make adjustments to your treatment based on the data collected), and cleaning equipment used in the session.” (Gsus Music Therapy Blog)

Purchasing and maintaining equipment and instruments
Instruments (drums, shakers and other small percussion, tone chimes, harps, Qchord, ukuleles), PA systems, keyboards, guitars, sensory stimulation items, lyric sheets, song books, parachute/octaband/scarves, iPads for Garage Band or other applications, website design, maintenance and hosting, and so much more!

Liability insurance
Making sure that you are protected and that we are protected, UpBeat Music Therapy and its affiliated subcontractors are required to carry liability insurance coverage for “just in case”.