As of January 1, 2016, music therapy is a licensed profession in Oregon. The bill reads, “A person may not practice music therapy, assume or use any title, words or abbreviations, including the title or designation ‘music therapist,’ that indicate the person is authorized to practice music therapy unless the person is licensed. Only those agencies with qualified personnel may claim to offer music therapy services.” In November, 2016, four members of the Oregon State Government Relations Task Force – Jodi Winnwalker, Lillieth Grand, Angie Kopshy, and Chris Korb – gathered around the AMTA-Pro microphone to talk about the steps taken to achieve this ambitious goal. Beginning in 2007 with AMTA’s Judy Simpson’s issue of a Call to Action, the efforts of dozens of music therapists in Oregon, working with the guidance of government relations experts from AMTA and CBMT, resulted in Oregon licensure in 2016. The podcast speakers talk about that process, and they overview the necessary follow-up of the licensing legislation while encouraging music therapists in other states to step up to the plate and work diligently toward licensure.


Music Therapy Licensure in Oregon

AMTA-Pro Podcast + January, 2017

with Jodi Winnwalker, Lillieth Grand, Angie Kopshy, & Chris Korb

— + —

The journey to state licensure of music therapists in Oregon started in 2007 when AMTA’s issued a Call to Action to states. Judy wrote, You may be sitting at home or at work, looking at the computer screen right now and wondering,“Why in the world does the ‘AMTA/CBMT State Recognition Operational Plan’ matter to me or need my input? And even if I could help, I already have too much to do!” Simple. This plan helps us ensure that consumers have access to music therapy services by personnel who are trained, equipped, held to high standards of ethics and professional practice, and demonstrate competency through board certification and continuing education activity. As it relates directly to you – this plan helps to insure you have a job that is truly client centered and focused on ACCESS to SERVICES.

In response to that call to action, Oregon created a Music Therapy Government Relation Task Force team in 2007, then embarked on a long-term licensure project.  In general terms the steps in that project included:
1. Following on-going guidance of a team of experts from AMTA and CBMT nicknamed “Judenberlia”  – Judy Simpson, Dena Register, Kimberly Sena Moore, and Maria Fay – through regular conference calls, formal agendas, and weekly action items.
2. Educating ourselves about the mission and process of licensure.
3. Educating our entire Oregon music therapy community, including MT professionals, students, and interns, about the mission and process of licensure.
4. Educating the greater community, including clients, caregivers, administrators, related professionals, and other parties about the benefits of licensure.
5. Researching those who might be opposed to MT licensure.
6. Connecting with state legislators through Hill Days, emails, phone calls, and visits to the capitol.

During our 2013 Hill Day, several legislators asked us to research the feasibility of licensure through what is now called the Health Licensing Office (HLO). Soon after that Hill Day, we had a conference call with HLO representatives, the national AMTA-CBMT team, and two local task force members. HLO was very willing to work with us in structuring a license that would meet our needs and cost parameters. They suggested, at that time, we model our legislation after two other licensed professions.

We continued to keep HLO updated as our legislation was drafted and they were supportive every step of the way. We kept the communication going and clarified our position on a variety of edits to the bill. As a state agency, HLO officially took a “neutral” position on our bill, but they were exceptionally confident our bill would pass. They were so confident, in fact, a significant portion of the licensing rules were drafted even before our bill passed both chambers.

After our bill was signed, we continued our relationship with HLO during the drafting of the rules. Our relationship with HLO will continue to be important as we communicate with our state’s MT-BCs to make certain everyone is licensed, to make details clear to all involved, and to make certain we are aware of any necessary updates.


HB 2796

Music therapists are licensed by the Health Licensing Office. You can apply online and check the status of a music therapist in Oregon through HLO’s website.

Oregon Music Therapy Association

About the AMTA-Pro podcast speakers

Jodi Winnwalker, LCSW, MT-BC, is founder and CEO of Earthtones Music Therapy Services, LLC and has over 30 years of experience developing music therapy programs for children, adults and seniors in Oregon and Southern Washington.  Jodi served as a full time faculty member at Marylhurst University (2001-2004) and her company, Earthtones, serves as a university-affiliated internship site for graduating music therapy students from Marylhurst University, Utah State University, Seattle Pacific University, and Berklee College of Music. Jodi presents at local, regional and national conferences and is the recipient of the 2007 Betty Isern Howery Award for professional excellence.  She served as president of the Oregon Association for Music Therapy, is current executive director of Weaver’s Tale Retreats, Inc. and is serves on the Oregon Government Task Force Committee. Jodi believes strongly in community service collaboration, the power of the creative arts.

Lillieth Grand, MS, MT-BC, Executive Director of Milestone Music Therapy, has been a music therapist since 1993 specializing in working with children who have neurological impairment, traumatic brain injury, autism, developmental disabilities, and chronic health conditions. She is passionate about the field and holds several regional and national positions with AMTA and WRAMTA. She also trains music therapists to do Music Therapy Assisted Childbirth and is adjunct faculty at Marylhurst University. As well-known speaker on music therapy, she has been keynote speaker at the Utah Brain Injury Association and presents at nearly every music therapy conference. Lillieth has been trained in neurologic music therapy, NICU music therapy, Sprouting Melodies, Music Together, level 1 of the Bonny Method of Music and Imagery and more. Her master’s degree is in special education. She has a vision of seeing that all persons in Oregon who could benefit from music therapy have access to and use of a music therapist. Lillieth is the single mother of three boys, ages 15, 13, and 4. Her middle child being severely neurologically impaired makes her appreciate them all the more. Her major instrument is voice.

Angie Kopshy, MM, MT-BC, is a board-certified music therapist, director of Music Therapy Services of Portland and a clinical supervisor of music therapy students at Pacific University. Upon completion of her Master’s in Music from Boise State University, Angie returned to Portland to study music therapy. Music Therapy Services of Portland specializes in work with children on the autism spectrum. Angie is also a singer/songwriter with the band, Stoneface Honey. Angie is co-chair of the Government Relations Task Force in Oregon, Reimbursement Representative for the Western Region Chapter of the American Music Therapy Association and an executive board member of the Oregon Association for Music Therapy. Angie is constantly striving to educate both the local and international community about the impact of music upon the brain and the strength of music therapy through The Cross-Cultural Music Therapy Project. Her outreach projects have touched the lives of children in Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Uganda.

Christine Korb, MM, MT-BC is director of music therapy at Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon. In addition to many years of clinical experience, Chris is composer, author, researcher, author, and presenter. She has presented at various American Music Therapy Association Conferences and also the 2002 World Federation of Music Therapy Conference in Oxford and the 2008 WFMT in Buenos Aires. She has recently authored, The Music Therapy Profession. Her current research, The Soul Song Project, addresses the physiological and emotional effects of singing in choirs. She has composed many children’s and folk songs, and her choral pieces, “Namaste” and “Merry Christmas Day,” are currently playing on the internet’s Radio Airplay together with the jazz piece, “Let’s Do It.”