Preamble to AMTA Professional Competencies
The American Music Therapy Association has established competency-based standards for ensuring the quality of education and clinical training in the field of music therapy. As the clinical and research activities of music therapy provide new information, the competency requirements need to be reevaluated regularly to ensure consistency with current trends and needs of the profession and to reflect the growth of the knowledge base of the profession. The Association updates these competencies based on what knowledge, skills, and abilities are needed to perform the various levels and types of responsibilities to practice at a professional level.
In November 2005 the AMTA Assembly of Delegates adopted the Advisory on Levels of Practice in Music Therapy. This Advisory, which was developed by the Education and Training Advisory Board, distinguishes two Levels of Practice within the music therapy profession: Professional Level of Practice and Advanced Level of Practice. This Advisory describes the Professional Level of Practice as follows:
A music therapist at the Professional Level of Practice has a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in music therapy and a current professional designation or credential in music therapy (i.e., ACMT, CMT, MT-BC, or RMT). At this level, the therapist has the ability to assume a supportive role in treating clients, collaborating within an interdisciplinary team to contribute to the client’s overall treatment plan.
The AMTA Professional Competencies are based on music therapy competencies authored for the former American Association for Music Therapy (AAMT) by Bruscia, Hesser, and Boxhill (1981). The former National Association for Music Therapy (NAMT) in turn adapted these competencies as the NAMT Professional Competencies revised in 1996. In its final report the Commission on Education and Clinical Training recommended the use of these competencies, and this recommendation was approved by the AMTA Assembly of Delegates in November 1999. The AMTA Professional Competencies has had several minor revisions since its adoption in 1999.
A. MUSIC FOUNDATIONS
1. Music Theory and History
1.1 Recognize standard works in the literature.
1.2 Identify the elemental, structural, and stylistic characteristics of music from various periods and cultures.
1.3 Sight-sing melodies of both diatonic and chromatic makeup.
1.4 Take aural dictation of melodies, rhythms, and chord progressions.
1.5 Transpose simple compositions.
2. Composition and Arranging Skills
2.1 Compose songs with simple accompaniment.
2.2 Adapt, arrange, transpose, and simplify music compositions for small vocal and nonsymphonic instrumental ensembles.
3. Major Performance Medium Skills
3.1 Perform appropriate undergraduate repertoire; demonstrate musicianship, technical proficiency, and interpretive understanding on a principal instrument/voice.
3.2 Perform in small and large ensembles.
4. Keyboard Skills
4.1 Accompany self and ensembles proficiently.
4.2 Play basic chord progressions (I-IV-V-I) in several keys.
4.3 Sight-read simple compositions and song accompaniments.
4.4 Play a basic repertoire of traditional, folk, and popular songs with or without printed music.
4.5 Harmonize and transpose simple compositions.
5. Guitar Skills
5.1 Accompany self and ensembles proficiently.
5.2 Employ simple strumming and finger picking techniques.
5.3 Tune guitar using standard and other tunings.
5.4 Perform a basic repertoire of traditional, folk, and popular songs with or without printed music.
5.5 Harmonize and transpose simple compositions in several keys.
6. Voice Skills
6.1 Lead group singing by voice.
6.2 Communicate vocally with adequate volume (loudness).
6.3 Sing a basic repertoire of traditional, folk, and popular songs in tune with a pleasing quality.
7. Percussion Skills
7.1 Accompany self and ensembles proficiently.
7.2 Utilize basic techniques on several standard and ethnic instruments.
7.3 Lead rhythm-based ensembles proficiently.
8. Nonsymphonic Instrumental Skills
8.1 Care for and maintain non-symphonic and ethnic instruments.
8.2 Play autoharp or equivalent with same competence specified for guitar.
8.3 Utilize electronic musical instruments.
9. Improvisation Skills
9.1 Improvise on percussion instruments.
9.2 Develop original melodies, simple accompaniments, and short pieces extemporaneously in a variety of moods and styles, vocally and instrumentally.
9.3 Improvise in small ensembles.
10. Conducting Skills
10.1 Conduct basic patterns with technical accuracy.
10.2 Conduct small and large vocal and instrumental ensembles.
11. Movement Skills
11.1 Direct structured and improvisatory movement experiences.
11.2 Move in structural rhythmic and improvisatory manners for expressive purposes.
11.3 Move expressively and with interpretation to music within rhythmic structure.
B. CLINICAL FOUNDATIONS
12.1 Demonstrate basic knowledge of the potentials, limitations, and problems of exceptional individuals.
12.2 Demonstrate basic knowledge of the causes and symptoms of major exceptionalities, and basic terminology used in diagnosis and classification.
12.3 Demonstrate basic knowledge of typical and atypical human systems and development (e.g., anatomical, physiological, psychological, social.)
13. Principles of Therapy
13.1 Demonstrate basic knowledge of the dynamics and processes of a therapist-client relationship.
13.2 Demonstrate basic knowledge of the dynamics and processes of therapy groups.
13.3 Demonstrate basic knowledge of accepted methods of major therapeutic approaches.
14. The Therapeutic Relationship
14.1 Recognize the impact of one's own feelings, attitudes, and actions on the client and the therapy process.
14.2 Establish and maintain interpersonal relationships with clients that are conducive to therapy.
14.3 Use oneself effectively in the therapist role in both individual and group therapy, e.g., appropriate self-disclosure, authenticity, empathy, etc. toward affecting desired behavioral outcomes.
14.4 Utilize the dynamics and processes of groups to achieve therapeutic goals
14.5 Demonstrate awareness of one’s cultural heritage and socio-economic background and how these influence the perception of the therapeutic process.
C. MUSIC THERAPY
15. Foundations and Principles
15.1 Demonstrate basic knowledge of existing music therapy methods, techniques, materials, and equipment with their appropriate applications.
15.2 Demonstrate basic knowledge of principles, and methods of music therapy assessment and their appropriate application.
15.3 Demonstrate basic knowledge of the principles and methods for evaluating the effects of music therapy.
15.4 Demonstrate basic knowledge of the purpose, intent, and function of music therapy for various client populations.
15.5 Demonstrate basic knowledge of the psychological and physiological aspects of musical behavior and experience (i.e., music and affect; influence of music on behavior; physiological responses to music; perception and cognition of music; psychomotor components of music behavior; music learning and development; preference; creativity).
15.6 Demonstrate basic knowledge of philosophical, psychological, physiological, and sociological bases for the use of music as therapy.
15.7 Demonstrate basic knowledge of the use of current technologies in music therapy assessment, treatment, and evaluation.
16. Client Assessment
16.1 Communicate assessment findings and recommendations in written and verbal forms.
16.2 Observe and record accurately the client's responses to assessment.
16.3 Identify the client's appropriate and inappropriate behaviors.
16.4 Select and implement effective culturally based methods for assessing the client's assets, and problems through music.
16.5 Select and implement effective culturally based methods for assessing the client's musical preferences and level of musical functioning or development.
16.6 Identify the client's therapeutic needs through an analysis and interpretation of music therapy and related assessment data.
16.7 Demonstrate knowledge of professional Standards of Clinical Practice regarding assessment.
17. Treatment Planning
17.1 Select or create music therapy experiences that meet the client's objectives.
17.2 Formulate goals and objectives for individuals and group therapy based upon assessment findings.
17.3 Identify the client's primary treatment needs in music therapy.
17.4 Provide preliminary estimates of frequency and duration of treatment.
17.5 Select and adapt music consistent with strengths and needs of the client.
17.6 Formulate music therapy strategies for individuals and groups based upon the goals and objectives adopted.
17.7 Select and adapt musical instruments and equipment consistent with strengths and needs of the client.
17.8 Organize and arrange the music therapy setting to facilitate the client's therapeutic involvement.
17.9 Plan and sequence music therapy sessions.
17.10 Determine the client's appropriate music therapy group and/or individual placement.
17.11 Coordinate treatment plan with other professionals.
17.12 Demonstrate knowledge of professional Standards of Clinical Practice regarding planning.
18. Therapy Implementation
18.1 Recognize, interpret, and respond appropriately to significant events in music therapy sessions as they occur.
18.2 Provide music therapy experiences to
18.2.1 Change nonmusical behavior;
18.2.2 Assist the client’s development of social skills;
18.2.3 Improve the client’s sense of self and self with others;
18.2.4 Elicit social interactions from the client;
18.2.5 Promote client decision making;
18.2.6 Assist the client in increasing on task behavior;
18.2.7 Elicit affective responses from the client;
18.2.8 Encourage creative responses from the client;
18.2.9 Improve the client’s orientation to person, place, and time;
18.2.10 Enhance client’s cognitive/intellectual development;
18.2.11 Develop or rehabilitate the client’s motor skills;
18.2.12 Offer sensory stimulation that allows the client to use visual, auditory, or tactile cues;
18.2.13 Promote relaxation and/or stress reduction in the client.
18.3 Provide verbal and nonverbal directions and cues necessary for successful client participation.
18.4 Provide models for appropriate social behavior in group music therapy.
18.5 Utilize therapeutic verbal skills in music therapy sessions.
18.6 Communicate to the client's expectations of behavior.
18.7 Provide feedback on, reflect, rephrase, and translate the client's communications.
18.8 Assist the client to communicate more effectively.
18.9 Sequence and pace music experiences within a session according to the client's needs and situational factors.
18.10 Conduct or facilitate group and individual music therapy.
18.11 Implement music therapy program according to treatment plan.
18.12 Promote a sense of group cohesiveness and/or a feeling of group membership.
18.13 Create a physical environment (e.g., arrangement of space, furniture, equipment, and instruments) that is conducive to effective therapy.
18.14 Develop and maintain a repertoire of music for age, culture, and stylistic differences.
18.15 Recognize and respond appropriately to effects of the client's medications.
18.16 Establish closure of music therapy sessions.
18.17 Establish closure of treatment issues.
18.18 Demonstrate knowledge of professional Standards of Clinical Practice regarding implementation.
19. Therapy Evaluation
19.1 Recognize and respond appropriately to situations in which there are clear and present dangers to the client and/or others.
19.2 Modify treatment approaches based on the client's response to therapy.
19.3 Recognize significant changes and patterns in the client's response to therapy.
19.4 Revise treatment plan as needed.
19.5 Establish and work within realistic time frames for evaluating the effects of therapy.
19.6 Review treatment plan periodically within guidelines set by agency.
19.7 Design and implement methods for evaluating and measuring client progress and the effectiveness of therapeutic strategies.
19.8 Demonstrate knowledge of professional Standards of Clinical Practice regarding evaluation.
20.1 Produce documentation that accurately reflects client outcomes and meet the requirements of internal and external legal, regulatory, and reimbursement bodies.
20.2 Document clinical data.
20.3 Write professional reports describing the client throughout all phases of the music therapy process in an accurate, concise, and objective manner.
20.4 Communicate orally with the client, parents, significant others, and team members regarding the client's progress and various aspects of the client's music therapy program.
20.5 Document and revise the treatment plan and document changes to the treatment plan.
20.6 Develop and use data-gathering techniques during all phases of the clinical process including assessment, treatment, and evaluation.
20.7 Demonstrate knowledge of professional Standards of Clinical Practice regarding documentation.
21. Termination/Discharge Planning
21.1 Inform and prepare the client for approaching termination from music therapy.
21.2 Establish closure of music therapy services by time of termination/discharge.
21.3 Determine termination of the client from music therapy.
21.4 Integrate music therapy termination plan with plans for the client's discharge from the facility.
21.5 Assess potential benefits/detriments of termination of music therapy.
21.6 Develop music therapy termination plan.
21.7 Demonstrate knowledge of professional Standards of Clinical Practice regarding termination.
22. Professional Role/Ethics
22.1 Interpret and adhere to the AMTA Code of Ethics.
22.2 Adhere to professional Standards of Clinical Practice.
22.3 Demonstrate dependability: follow through with all tasks regarding education and professional training.
22.4 Accept criticism/feedback with willingness and follow through in a productive manner.
22.5 Resolve conflicts in a positive and constructive manner.
22.6 Meet deadlines without prompting.
22.7 Express thoughts and personal feelings in a consistently constructive manner.
22.8 Demonstrate critical self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses.
22.9 Demonstrate knowledge of and respect for diverse cultural backgrounds.
22.10 Treat all persons with dignity and respect, regardless of differences in race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender.
22.11 Demonstrate skill in working with culturally diverse populations.
22.12 Apply laws and regulations regarding the human rights of the clients.
22.13 Respond to legislative issues affecting music therapy.
22.14 Demonstrate basic knowledge of professional music therapy organizations and how these organizations influence clinical practice.
22.15 Demonstrate basic knowledge of music therapy service reimbursement and financing sources (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, Private Health Insurance, State and Local Health and/or Education Agencies, Grants).
23. Interdisciplinary Collaboration
23.1 Demonstrate a basic understanding of the roles and develop working relationships with other disciplines in the client's treatment program.
23.2 Communicate to other departments and staff the rationale for music therapy services and the role of the music therapist.
23.3 Define the role of music therapy in the client's total treatment program.
23.4 Collaborate with team members in designing and implementing interdisciplinary treatment programs.
24. Supervision and Administration
24.1 Participate in and benefit from supervision.
24.2 Manage and maintain music therapy equipment and supplies.
24.3 Perform administrative duties usually required of clinicians (e.g., scheduling therapy, programmatic budgeting, maintaining record files).
24.4 Write proposals to create and/or establish new music therapy programs.
25. Research Methods
25.1 Interpret information in the professional research literature.
25.2 Demonstrate basic knowledge of the purpose and methodology of historical, quantitative, and qualitative research.
25.3 Perform a data-based literature search.
25.4 Apply selected research findings to clinical practice.
Alley, J.M. (1978). Competency based evaluation of a music therapy curriculum. Journal of Music Therapy, .11, 9-14.
Braswell, C. Maranto, C.D., Decuir, A. (1979a). A survey of clinical practice in music therapy, Part I: The institutions in which music therapist's work and personal data. Journal of Music Therapy, 16, 2-16.
Braswell, C. Maranto, C.D., Decuir, A. (1979b). A survey of clinical practice in music therapy, Part II: Clinical Practice, education, and clinical training. Journal of Music Therapy, 16, 50-69.
Braswell, C. Maranto, C.D., Decuir, A. (1980). Ratings of entry skills by music therapy clinicians, educators, and interns. Journal of Music Therapy, 17, 133-147.
Bruscia, K., Hesser B., and Boxill, E. (1981). Essential competencies for the practice of music therapy. Music Therapy, 1, 43-49.
Certification Board for Music Therapists. (1988). Job re-analysis survey of music therapy knowledge and skills.
Jensen, K.L., and McKinney, C.H. (1990). Undergraduate music therapy education and training: Current status and proposals for the future. Journal of Music Therapy, 18, 158-178.
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McGuire, M.G. (1994). A survey of all National Association for Music Therapy clinical training directors. Unpublished manuscript. Author.
McGuire, M.G. (1995). A survey of all recently registered music therapists. Unpublished manuscript. Author.
McGuire, M.G. (1996a). Determining the professional competencies for the National Association for Music Therapy: Six surveys of professional music therapists in the United States, 1990-1996. Paper presented at the Eighth World Congress of Music Therapy and the Second International Congress of the World Federation of Music Therapy, Hamburg, Germany.
McGuire, M.G. (1996b). A survey of all American Association for Music Therapy and National Association for Music Therapy educators. Unpublished manuscript. Author.
McGuire, M.G., Brady, D., Cohen, N., Hoskins, C., Kay, L. (1996). A document in process: Music Therapy Professional Competencies. A presentation at the Joint Conference of the American Association for Music Therapy and the National Association for Music Therapy, Nashville, TN.
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Maranto, C.D., and Bruscia, K.E. (Eds.) (1988). Perspectives on music therapy education and training. Philadelphia: Temple University.
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Current as of 7/13