AMTA.Pro - Online Symposium - For Music Therapists, By Music Therapists

Defining Therapeutic Function of Music

Music is a complex intervention strategy, thus the characteristics of the music are important to therapeutic outcomes. Greater clarity for the role of the musical elements in therapeutic outcomes is desired; yet few strategic methods support the description of the musical elements in the development of treatment interventions. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Dr. Deanna Hanson-Abromeit overviews an article published in Music Therapy Perspectives, Volume 33,  A Conceptual Methodology to Define the Therapeutic Function of Music. The article proposes an ante-hoc worksheet to articulate the Therapeutic Function of Music (TFM) Plan. This worksheet helps the music therapist organize the relationship between the treatment goal, theoretical framework and musical elements in order to define the purpose and intent of each musical element. The result is a theory-based synthesis of the music as a whole for therapeutic intervention. The TFM Plan will benefit music therapy with stronger explanations of the therapeutic effect of music, generate consistent application of music characteristics for therapeutic response, support predictable outcomes, and foster a specialized understanding of music as a therapeutic medium differentiated from other professionals using music-based interventions.


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Music Therapy @ The Bridge

Have you read the book or seen the movie, The Soloist? Did you meet Nathaniel Ayers, the subject of the movie, when he jammed with Al Bumanis at the AMTA conference several years ago? Did you know that, as a result of that connection with Nathaniel Ayers, a music therapy program has been launched at The Bridge, a homeless recovery center in downtown Dallas? Did you know that the music therapy program is an integral part of the Behavioral Health Care services at The Bridge serving many individuals who are dealing with mental illness and/or chemical dependency? This AMTA-Pro podcast features a conversation with some of the key players in the process of launching this music therapy program. Nathaniel Ayers’ sister Jennifer talks about her brother’s study at Julliard, the impact of schizophrenia on his life, their introduction to music therapy by Al Bumanis at an AMTA conference, and her interest in having music therapy services in implemented in homeless recovery services around the country. Sam Merton, CAO at The Bridge, continues the podcast conversation with a brief history and overview of the innovative homeless recovery services offered at The Bridge for thousands of individuals, many of whom are dealing with mental illness or chemical dependency. Board certified music therapist Kamica King tells AMTA-Pro listeners how the music therapy program unfolded at The Bridge and plans for expanding music therapy services. This podcast conversation is just one example of the impact of teamwork on expanding music therapy services for individuals in homeless recovery programs as well as numerous other populations and clinical settings.


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Music-centered Music Therapy

Music therapists recognize our clients often want the same thing from music therapy as all people want from music: an essentially musical experience that meets an inborn need. In music-centered thinking, musical experiences are not merely tools to nonmusical ends, but can also serve as appropriate goals of music therapy. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Dr. Ken Aigen talks about two main topics: a critique of some aspects of the conventional wisdom about the nature of music therapy (as embodied in the tenets of evidence-based practice), and a discussion of some of the attributes of an alternative vision of music therapy known as music-centered music therapy.


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From Illness to Health

Although each person’s experience with illness is different, their initial discomfort and concerns increase as the signs and symptoms of illness emerge. The path from illness to health moves past that initial onset state through the phases of diagnosis, acceptance, treatment, recovery, rehabilitation, and re-entry to the world of the healthy. AMTA-Pro podcast speakers, Dr. Suzanne Hanser and Jeniris González, overview of the role music therapy can play in each stage of the journey from the onset of illness to a new healthy identity. They also discuss some evidence-based music therapy strategies for the management of stress, pain, unpleasant symptoms, response to illness, and treatment side effects, while enhancing the quality of life.  The text section of this podcast provides resources and samples of songwriting and other interventions as well as templates for a music listening log, for songwriting, and for planning effective music interventions in each stage of the journey from illness to health.


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Understanding Military Culture

After earning the rank of Captain in the United States Navy and serving for 25 years, Becky Jo Watson retired and earned her MT-BC status. She recently sat down in front of the AMTA-Pro microphone to share her experiences and unique insights in an effort to help her music therapy colleagues understand military culture in order to better serve active duty military members and veterans. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Becky talks about the pressing need for more music therapy services, and she shares 7 C’s – basic principles for music therapists to consider when developing music therapy services and strategies for contributions to readiness, rehabilitation, recovery, and wellness among America’s military populations, both active duty service members and veterans.


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International Perspectives from MT Students

Dr. Dena Register challenged some of her music therapy students in her Current Trends in Music Therapy class at the University of Kansas to explore music therapy from the international perspective. The resulting topics for their individual projects included, among others, eating disorders from a global perspective, music therapy trends in disaster response, instruments around the world, music therapy and environmental noise in ICU, and development of MT in three Asian countries. The students shared the results of their projects at the 2014 AMTA conference in Louisville, KY. Tune into this AMTA-Pro podcast featuring Fatima Chan, Emilyjane Eichman, Cole Eisenmenger, Bing Li, Katie Martin, Alison Smiley, Rachel Zarich as they overview the conference session touching on diverse topics of interest to music therapy professionals.


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Storytelling in Music Therapy

Throughout history, people have been inherently drawn to telling and listening to stories, and music enhances the experiences. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Ron Borczon, Director of Music Therapy at California State University Northridge and of the Music Therapy Wellness Clinic, provides some compelling insights about music in storytelling, and shares some experiences in his clinical work. Ron talks about various aspects of the art of storytelling, the symbolic nature of the story, the listening environment, the role of music in the storytelling experience, and the different levels of processing stories with clients in music therapy group and individual sessions. Podcast listeners learn about using stories and myths in music therapy, and hear some thought-provoking stories accompanied by music, percussion, and an enchanting zither.


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Neuroplasticity Model of MT

Why does music therapy work? In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Dr. Elizabeth Stegemoller talks informally to her music therapy colleagues about the neuroplasticity model of music therapy. She discusses the impact of music on critical dopamine production, about the Hebbian Principle, and about the value of the clear signal of music as opposed to noise. Elizabeth discusses practical application of the principles in the neuroplasticity model as used in music therapy for individuals with Parkinson’s. She talks about music’s role in cortical remapping and building alternative pathways that reroute an individual’s control over their movement. Once the alternative pathways are in place, the music therapist fades the musical stimuli, allowing the individual with Parkinson’s to function more independently. The neuroplasticity model of music therapy needs further research, but gives us some insights into that ever-present question, “Why does music therapy work?”


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MT & Adolescents with ASD

Dr. John Carpente takes time in this AMTA-Pro podcast to share some insights gained from his work with teenagers diagnosed with autism at the Rebecca Center for Music Therapy housed at Molloy College in New York. Guided by principles of the DIR Floor Time Model in tandem with Nordoff-Robbins music therapy, John involves the youngsters in music-making experiences – joining together with the band – to foster social-emotional development. In this informal podcast, John, founder and director at the Rebecca Center, talks about the progress made by two adolescent students when actively involved in making music with the music therapist.


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MT & Infant-Directed Singing

Tune into this AMTA-Pro podcast to learn of the research of our music therapy colleague Shannon de l’Etoile related to infant-directed singing and infant self-regulation. In this conversation, recorded at the AMTA conference in November, 2013, Dr. de l’Etoile talks about the universal nature of mothers singing to their infants and the resulting benefits of maintaining attention and leading the infant to a comfortable state of arousal. She discusses her clinical work in this area and the series of studies that led her to focus on the impact of infant-directed singing when either the mother or the infant is at risk and not responding to the interaction, research that has far-reaching implications for music therapy. Shannon also takes time during this podcast to overview the outstanding music therapy program at University of Miami Frost School of Music.


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MT in Early Brain & Child Development

The American Academy of Pediatrics Initiative released in 2013 stems from continued research about the impact of early support and development on prevention of later health issues. The AAP Initiative, intended to transform pediatric practice, focuses on the first 1000 days of life as most critical in brain development. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, music therapist Dr. Becky Wellman talks about the parallels between the AAP Initiative and music therapy practice. She informally shares examples of ways in which music therapists working with children in their first three years often design music therapy interventions and sessions to encourage positive, interactive parenting and to address the five areas emphasized in the AAP Initiative, i.e., reading, rhyming, routine, reward, and relationship.


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MT with Foster Care Youth

Dr. Michael Zanders, an LPC and assistant professor of Music Therapy at Texas Woman’s University, began working with the child welfare system some years ago. Many of his recent publications and presentations focus on music therapy with foster care youth. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Dr. Zanders talks about his work with children and adolescents in the CPS foster system, and he provides an informal, brief review of his qualitative research examining the personal and musical lives of adolescents with foster care experience. This innovative research certainly has implications for music therapy research, theory, and practice for adolescents in foster care, a promising new field of practice for music therapists.


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AMTA-Pro is filled to the brim with a wealth of podcasts featuring your colleagues sharing reflections, strategies, insider tips, and details about every aspect of music therapy. Don't miss even one of several dozen AMTA-Pro podcasts on a wide variety of topics, including:
+ Music therapy programs, clinical applications, and research in a broad range of areas such as Alzheimer's disease, eating disorders, stroke rehab, inpatient mental health, early childhood behavior issues, medical settings, wellness, NICU, wound care, hospice, and more.
+ Job Solutions, reimbursement, networking, and thriving in any economy.
+ Interviews with music therapy professionals, students, and interns, as well as special guests.
+ Podcasts capturing special AMTA events, conference speakers, and memorial tributes.

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