On the behalf of AMTA, Executive Director Andi Farbman welcomes AMTA members to the Special Edition of AMTA.Pro Symposium series. The purpose of the Job Solutions symposium and other AMTA resources is to provide members with cutting-edge, timely advice and assistance during challenging times. Andi describes a wealth of resources in this audio discussion.

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AMTA at Your Service

Dr. Andi Farbman, AMTA Executive Director
March, 2009

A warm welcome to AMTA.Pro, which is a new member benefit designed specially to serve our members. AMTA.Pro is an on-line audio and text symposium by music therapists, for music therapists. This special edition symposium, Job Solutions, is in response to today’s economic climate and the impact of the economy on the delivery of music therapy services.

I’m Andi Farbman, the Executive Director of the American Music Therapy Association. On behalf of President Barbara Wheeler and the AMTA Board of Directors, I am thrilled to show you just how much AMTA cares about you and the clients you serve. One way to demonstrate our caring and concern is by providing cutting-edge, timely advice and assistance during challenging times.

AMTA has a multi-pronged approach to providing timely and helpful information for you about the impact of the economy. We are doing five different things to respond to the needs of members with the goal of having our members be more nimble and adaptable during these times.

First, you will receive special editions of our AMTA online newsletter, ENews. As you probably are aware, ENews is available free of charge on a subscription basis to members and the general public. To date we’ve had two special issues of ENews that relate to the economy. We plan to have other issues as topics arise. In addition, we will have related articles in our AMTA newsletter, Music Therapy Matters.

Secondly, AMTA is creating a vehicle for you to provide us with feedback on how you are doing and what you need. We’ve set up an email address for you to express your concerns and ideas. Just email us at economy@musictherapy.org. Tell us your concerns and challenges as well as ideas and strategies you are implementing. Some of your thoughts will be included in our Job Solutions symposium. We are also using the data we gather from your responses to analyze what is really happening at the grass roots level. This will help us separate the facts from urban legends!

The third prong in AMTA’s response to current economic issues is this special edition of AMTA.Pro, an on-line symposium with audio discussions and supporting text from your professional colleagues. You can listen to the audio discussions on-line or download to your iPod.

The fourth thing we are doing for AMTA members is developing a resource guide chocked full of ideas on how to cope with economic challenges whether you are employed by an agency or self-employed. This guide will be available as a pdf on the Members Only section of our AMTA website in April.

AMTA’s fifth economic response strategy is developing sessions at the annual conference that address concerns you raise between now and November when we meet in San Diego, California. Remember to send us your input – economy@musictherapy.org.

So, getting back to this special edition of AMTA.Pro. The purpose of the Job Solutions symposium is to respond to the needs of our members during these uncertain economic times.

This special edition of AMTA.Pro consists of a panel of music therapists and other experts who will provide first-hand advice and recommendations on a variety of relevant topics. A special thanks to the generosity of our volunteer speakers. We have enlisted the assistance of music therapists Amber Weldon-Stephens from Georgia; Cathy Knoll from Texas; Barbara Else from Arizona; Kathleen Coleman from Texas; Barbara Reuer from California; numerous AMTA members who responded to our solicitation requesting real-life situations and an outside expert and friend of music therapy, Tom Dolan.

Please feel free to comment on any aspect of this symposium. Type your thoughts in the comments box at the bottom of each segment of symposium text, or send a message to economy@musictherapy.org . Whether you are a music therapy student, new professional or near retirement, we want to hear from you.

I can honestly tell you that each and every person on the AMTA national office staff, our consultants, and the AMTA.Pro team has contributed ideas to help our members cope. We are committed to making the road a little easier for music therapists so that you can continue to deliver music therapy services to those in need. After all, AMTA’s mission is to insure that quality music therapy services are readily available to those who can benefit from them. That is a big job given the current economic circumstances, but we are committed to the mission and look forward to improved conditions and a growth of music therapy services over time.

Though many people are focusing on the losses that we will face, let’s not forget about the positives that are possible. For example, it is possible during these stressful times that, in some sectors, there will be an increase rather than a decrease in demand for music therapy services. If some public funding for programs is cut, private pay may increase as families and agencies realize they don’t want to lose this valuable service. As our individual and collective advocacy efforts intensify, music therapy might be expanded rather than reduced.

The truth is that no one knows for sure how long this economic situation will last and how extensive it will be. But what we do know is that the demand for music therapy today continues to grow. And we do know that, no matter which measures we use, fewer than 10% of the people who could benefit from music therapy treatment are actually receiving treatment. So, there is a lot of room for growth. If one door closes another one will open. You need to know that AMTA is dedicated to helping you open more doors so you can continue using music therapy interventions to help people reduce stress, lessen pain, learn things easier, and live better lives.

To quote from the father of positive thinking, Norman Vincent Peale,

“Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.”

Thank you for the privilege of serving you and keep up the good work. I know you will enjoy the following segments of this special edition of AMTA.Pro. We look forward to hearing from you about the many actions you take to help fulfill AMTA’s mission of advancing public awareness of the benefits of music therapy and increasing access to quality music therapy services in a rapidly changing world.

© Copyright 2009 by the American Music Therapy Association, Inc.. All Rights Reserved. Content herein is for personal use only. No part may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording by any information storage or retrieval system, without express written permission from the American Music Therapy Association.Neither the American Music Therapy Association nor its Board of Directors is responsible for the conclusions reached or the opinions expressed in any of the AMTA.Pro symposiums.