Music therapy and Nursing Degree - page 2

by NicoleJ

12,693 Views | 15 Comments

:eek: How does becoming a rehabiliting Nurse connect with Music therapy. I have a strong desire to help people in the healthcare field, and Love to sing. I heard about the Music therapy. What a great combination, do you feel... Read More


  1. 0
    Quote from romie
    IYou need to audition on your major instrument, whether it is voice, winds, piano, strings, etc. You need to learn how to play every orchestral instrument and demonstrate proficency on them, including piano and guitar. You need to be able to sight-sing, which is a complex skill in which you sing on sight and command an unfamiliar piece of music. You need to be able to hear a piece of music and write down all of the pitches and rhythms on a score. In addition to course work in which you master all of these skills, you have a weekly clinical in which you conduct music sessions in a group setting. Each session plan takes at least 8 hours to prepare and has to be approved by your clinical supervisor. Finally, after completing your course work, you are required to complete a 6 month, full time and usually unpaid internship. The internship sites are very limited an almost always require students to relocate to the other side of the country. Finally, after the internship you sit for a national exam and earn you earn the following credential: MT-BC (music therapist, board certified). Only then can you call yourself a music therapist.
    There are so many uninformed people and organizations out there calling themselves music therapist and what they do music therapy. If you do not hold the MT-BC credential but call yourself a music therapist, you are slapping the face of every music therapist who spent years in school, thousands of dollars on tuition, instruments and spent all that unpaid time in clinicals and internships. Please do not do it. I know of plenty of organizations that falsely market themselves as providing music therapy when all they really have is an unlicensed assistive person with a boom box and elevator music. Think about how hard you worked for your nursing credentials and be sure to give the same respect to your allied healthcare professionals. This information holds true for Art Therapists, Dance Therapists and other creative arts therapists.

    I encourage every nurse to familiarize themselves with each of these wonderful treatment modalities!

    Actually, I am kind of sick of people affiliated with the AMTA and who hold the credential MT-BC having this "greater than thou" attitude. There are several non-factual statements that you are representing as fact in this post for example that:
    1. Music therapists need to be able to play every orchestral instrument, being able to sight sing and transcribe music - This is simply not true - The Berklee College of Music Music Therapy department and Lesley College in Boston both do not require learning more than voice, guitar and piano. And there are plenty of music therapist that are "MTBC" that have horrible voices and guitar/piano skills.
    2. The MT-BC is not a license like nursing, it is a certification, which isn't required by law. Just like a home health aid can be certified or not. There is no governing body, just a membership organization (AMTA) that you pay a membership fee to.
    3. There are plenty of great musicians who are just as qualified as MT-BC to do music therapy who have a degree in music who are intimidated by the AMTA. Just because the AMTA says "this is music therapy and nothing else is" means that this true. Their definition of "music therapy" isn't set it stone.
    4. I agree that there probably are some places marketing "music therapist" and then it is just a guy with a GED and a boombox however there are some professional musicians who have a bachelor/masters degree in music who dedicate their lives to music therapy who never get the respect they deserve because of the guidelines of the AMTA.
    5. It the AMTA really wanted to help people they would help music therapists who work as music therapists currently become certified by their organization through an "exception" program where their past work experience is evaluated and counted towards their intership hours, rather they intimidate these people and require that they quit their jobs (which they already hold the title music therapist) then go back to college for 2+ years and then work an unpaid internship across the country for 6 months. This isn't realistic for most people who just want to work as music therapists because they are good musicians and care about people.
    6. Just because these are the "rules" set forth by an organization who is not a governing body doesnt make them the right thing to do! You shouldn't have to pay over $100k for an education (Berklee rates, "best" music therapy prgm int he country) to state that you have compassion and musical talent.
    7. The AMTA has only been around for about 25 years, are you telling me there were no music therapists before that?

    Just my 2 cents.
  2. 0
    Quote from MeljabRN
    Actually, I am kind of sick of people affiliated with the AMTA and who hold the credential MT-BC having this "greater than thou" attitude. There are several non-factual statements that you are representing as fact in this post for example that:
    1. Music therapists need to be able to play every orchestral instrument, being able to sight sing and transcribe music - This is simply not true - The Berklee College of Music Music Therapy department and Lesley College in Boston both do not require learning more than voice, guitar and piano. And there are plenty of music therapist that are "MTBC" that have horrible voices and guitar/piano skills.
    2. The MT-BC is not a license like nursing, it is a certification, which isn't required by law. Just like a home health aid can be certified or not. There is no governing body, just a membership organization (AMTA) that you pay a membership fee to.
    3. There are plenty of great musicians who are just as qualified as MT-BC to do music therapy who have a degree in music who are intimidated by the AMTA. Just because the AMTA says "this is music therapy and nothing else is" means that this true. Their definition of "music therapy" isn't set it stone.
    4. I agree that there probably are some places marketing "music therapist" and then it is just a guy with a GED and a boombox however there are some professional musicians who have a bachelor/masters degree in music who dedicate their lives to music therapy who never get the respect they deserve because of the guidelines of the AMTA.
    5. It the AMTA really wanted to help people they would help music therapists who work as music therapists currently become certified by their organization through an "exception" program where their past work experience is evaluated and counted towards their intership hours, rather they intimidate these people and require that they quit their jobs (which they already hold the title music therapist) then go back to college for 2+ years and then work an unpaid internship across the country for 6 months. This isn't realistic for most people who just want to work as music therapists because they are good musicians and care about people.
    6. Just because these are the "rules" set forth by an organization who is not a governing body doesnt make them the right thing to do! You shouldn't have to pay over $100k for an education (Berklee rates, "best" music therapy prgm int he country) to state that you have compassion and musical talent.
    7. The AMTA has only been around for about 25 years, are you telling me there were no music therapists before that?

    Just my 2 cents.
    I respectfully disagree -- I am a long time psychiatric RN who is also a trained classical musician (my "first life," before I went to nursing school), and I've worked with a number of (real) music therapists over the years. There is a tremendous difference between what "real" music therapists can accomplish with people vs. what a well-meaning, interested musician can accomplish. I've implemented plenty of musical activities on psych units over the years with clients, but would never present myself (or imagine myself) as a music therapist.

    To me, it's like saying that because anyone can carry on a conversation and psychotherapy looks like it consists of carrying on a conversation with someone, anyone can do psychotherapy ... Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. Music therapy, IMHO, is a highly specialized academic discipline, of which facility with one or more musical instruments is just one small part.
  3. 0
    Quote from elkpark
    There is a tremendous difference between what "real" music therapists can accomplish with people vs. what a well-meaning, interested musician can accomplish. I've implemented plenty of musical activities on psych units over the years with clients, but would never present myself (or imagine myself) as a music therapist.

    To me, it's like saying that because anyone can carry on a conversation and psychotherapy looks like it consists of carrying on a conversation with someone, anyone can do psychotherapy ... Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. Music therapy, IMHO, is a highly specialized academic discipline, of which facility with one or more musical instruments is just one small part.
    I agree that the idea of regulating the music therapist field is necessary but if you knew anything about the field, in depth, you would see it is actually quite corrupt. There are a few select people that control the direction of the field as a whole. New York state is the ONLY state to have governmental licensing rules regarding creative arts therapy. In fact, all people with the MT-BC credential who dont have a master's degree are going to lose the ability to call themselves Music Therapist in NY state since this is a requirement . However, now music therapists in NY have "title protection" just like nurses do and have to adhere to the standard that NY State sets forth, however, all other states there is no standard EXCEPT the AMTA which is a for profit institution. I agree that there should be a standard but I disagree that the standard that the AMTA puts forth is not honorable. I hope all states pass a law like NY did so the AMTA can get out of the picture. Another point that is interesting to me is that the CBMT exam is a written exam with fill in the bubbles, they don't actually test your ability to sing or play an instrument at any time or do they test your ability to do case management. However, the NY state licensure exam is a "narrative" form style where you basically do the equivalent of a really long nursing care plan but use the music therapy rubric instead. This is a much better way to test the skills of a music therapist in practice rather than in theory. Just like nursing students have to prove their clinical skills and critical thinking skills by doing care plans even though they arent used in most settings in the real world, music therapists should have to prove that they can actually DO this rather than just study and answer multiple choice questions correctly.

    For your own info here is the NY site that contains what I consider honorable standards for the profession: http://www.op.nysed.gov/catlic.htm
  4. 0
    Moorning all! Well... what you say is a little bit controversial..and I will tell you why! First of all, you have right and official licence could be ok, BUT I will describe some cases, I know a musical therapist, I am pretty sure that he dosen't have any of your diploma, but belive me, people from where I come, love him badly. He play nice, because play from his heart to them hearts and people feel that! Also did you hear Dealilah shows on radio each night? No musical background for her, but she make people happy.

    My father told me... A PROFESSIONAL is a simple people who know his limits, practice well, but adapted to people and environmemnt and who dosen't have the preciosity and infatuation gave by his position or diploma. I wish you to hear our DJ, looool, people love him and wait for him, one of my oldies ask me one day, when he wasn't there,..if he is quit, looooool, and he play FREE!

    Be good guys, this life need to be lived beuatifull. Hugs Zuzi
    Last edit by zuzi on Apr 16, '08
  5. 0
    This is very informative. I work on a Rehab unit and the Nurse Manager was just discussing adding Music Therapy to our program. I also understand that there are facilities that has at least an hour for quiet time and during this hour music is played. There is so much information, I will see what type of degree our facility will be looking for.
    Last edit by Flame_07 on Jun 2, '08 : Reason: left out material
  6. 0
    I am one of those that played music professionally for years including a stint on the road with one of George Strait's songwriters but just have a Bachelor of Music degree. I sing and play guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, saxophone, and drums. I have been conducting groups on a unit at a maximum security psychiatric hospital for about 5 years now.

    We have a central rehab area in another building that has three music therapy staff that work under the direction of a board certified music therapist. We have tried our patients over there in that music therapy department but they get kicked out for destroying property or being deemed too disruptive for their activities. Because of this, they end up with me for up to three sessions per day. I have run these groups by myself but over the last several years have taught some psychiatric nursing assistants to play instruments so we have a band now and they help.

    I disagree with the posters that indicated that those that followed the Music Therapy track leading up to board certification have something so special that makes them above folks like me. I have 9 hours of graduate work in psychology and have been on a treatment team for years. I have the backing of all the clinical staff here including the psychiatrist, chief psychologist, and program director.

    I would challenge any board certified music therapist to come here and take my groups for one month. Understand that we are the only maximum security hospital in the state and our unit is where the most aggressive are housed at this hospital.


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