FAQ's

FAQ Categories

AMTA Website

Music Therapy

Career in Music Therapy

Questions And Answers

AMTA Website

How do I log in on the website?

The new AMTA website provides you with an online account so you can keep track of your personal information, conduct business, register for conferences and makes purchases in the online store. 
 
Member Access
Current members of AMTA also receive access to member-restricted pages and documents when they log into the website.  Once you log in with your email address and personal password in the upper right hand corner of the home page, the system checks to see if you are a current member and then allows you access to member-restriced pages you are trying to access.  Note: The former global user name and password system has now changed to an email address and personal password you create.  The access credential information that was sent to you early in 2011 (global user name and password for everyone to use) no longer works.
 
First Time Login to My Account
If you've never logged in to your online account before, but you've given AMTA your email address in the past, you can log in to find that record.  Use the email address you provided AMTA and the password Password1 (capital P, number 1, no space) the first time you log in. Then you can change your password to a unique password only you know by going to "My Account" and the "My Information" tab.
 
Forgotten Passwords
AMTA does not see or know what your personal password is, even from an administrative end.  If you have previously changed your password to one only you know, but don't remember the password, you can use the Forgot Your Password link under "Quick Links" on left side of the home page.  If you're not able to retrieve your password through the lost password feature, you may call the AMTA office during telephone hours and we can help you find or reset your account.
 
Creating a New Account
If you've never used the AMTA website before and would like to create a personal account so you can join AMTA, register for a conference, or make a purchase online, simply go to the online store and begin shopping.  You'll be prompted to login during the checkout process and you can click the "New Visitor Registration" link to create a new account.

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How do I change my listing in the Online Directory?

Current AMTA members receive a listing in the Online Directory for the purposes of finding a music therapist or a member of AMTA.  AMTA does not include non-members in the Online Directory.
 
Updating your Personal Information
If you would like to change your listing, log in with your email address and password in the top right of the home page.  After you log into the system, you’ll see "My Account" under your name.  Click that to go to a new screen, then click the "My Information" tab.  Here, you may review, edit or update your contact information.  If you'd like to change your email address or add another, you are welcome to do so.  Just remember that whatever you have selected as your primary email address becomes the one you use to log in.  You can add social media information if you wish, by clicking on "Social Media" and adding  relevant social media handles.

Please provide what information you are comfortably able.  When your address changes, make sure to come back and provide the new address so you won’t miss out on any information.  Also: if you are a practicing music therapist, be sure and update the settings, populations and age ranges you serve.  If you are taking on new clients and want to make yourself more accessible to consumers seeking a music therapist to provide services, also select "Self-Employed/Private Practice" in your settings list.
 
Note: If you are a current AMTA member, and can’t log in successfully the first time, please do not create a new account as your membership is tied to the email address we currently have on file.  Please call the national office and we’ll be happy to help you. As always, if you don’t want to use the online system, you are welcome to order by phone or fax as you have done in the past.

Choosing What to Display Online
The contact information with the checkbox "Primary" checked will be shown in the online directory where consumers can search for current members and qualified music therapists. If you don’t want your information shown online, simply check the "Do not publish online" box.  (Just remember that if you check this box, you won’t be searchable to people using the "Find a Music Therapist" feature when the new website is up and running.)  You may also keep more than one address in your account: for example, if you want to show only limited information online such as a PO box or business address but want to provide your home or billing address to AMTA.  Just remember that the information marked "Primary" is what is shown online automatically and used for your general mailing address.
 
If you wish to have address information other than your "primary" address shown in the Online Member Directory, but still want your journals mailed to your primary address, we can accommodate that request.  Simply mark the "Show in Directory" box under the relevant address and leave the "Primary" address as your mailing address.  (We need to have a mailing address from you as your primary address if you wish to receive your journal mailings.)  If you wish to provide a primary phone number or email address, but do not want it shown in the Online Directory, please contact the AMTA office to have this change made.  Only current AMTA members are eligible to be listed in the Online Directory.

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Music Therapy

What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. (American Music Therapy Association definition, 2005)

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What do music therapists do?

Music therapists assess emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills through musical responses; design music sessions for individuals and groups based on client needs using music improvisation, receptive music listening, song writing, lyric discussion, music and imagery, music performance, and learning through music; participate in interdisciplinary treatment planning, ongoing evaluation, and follow up.

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Who can benefit from music therapy?

Children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly with mental health needs, developmental and learning disabilities, Alzheimer's disease and other aging related conditions, substance abuse problems, brain injuries, physical disabilities, and acute and chronic pain, including mothers in labor.

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Where do music therapists work?

Music therapists work in psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitative facilities, medical hospitals, outpatient clinics, day care treatment centers, agencies serving persons with developmental disabilities, community mental health centers, drug and alcohol programs, senior centers, nursing homes, hospice programs, correctional facilities, halfway houses, schools, and private practice.

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What is the history of music therapy as a health care profession?

The idea of music as a healing influence which could affect health and behavior is as least as old as the writings of Aristotle and Plato. The 20th century discipline began after World War I and World War II when community musicians of all types, both amateur and professional, went to Veterans hospitals around the country to play for the thousands of veterans suffering both physical and emotional trauma from the wars. The patients' notable physical and emotional responses to music led the doctors and nurses to request the hiring of musicians by the hospitals. It was soon evident that the hospital musicians needed some prior training before entering the facility and so the demand grew for a college curriculum. The first music therapy degree program in the world, founded at Michigan State University in 1944, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1994. The American Music Therapy Association was founded in 1998 as a union of the National Association for Music Therapy and the American Association for Music therapy.

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Who is qualified to practice music therapy?

Persons who complete one of the approved college music therapy curricula (including an internship) are then eligible to sit for the national examination offered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Music therapists who successfully complete the independently administered examination hold the music therapist-board certified credential (MT-BC).
 
The National Music Therapy Registry (NMTR) serves qualified music therapy professionals with the following designations: RMT, CMT, ACMT. These individuals have met accepted educational and clinical training standards and are qualified to practice music therapy.
 
 

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Is there research to support music therapy?

AMTA promotes a vast amount of research exploring the benefits of music as therapy through publication of the Journal of Music Therapy, Music Therapy Perspectives and other sources. A substantial body of literature exists to support the effectiveness of music therapy.

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What are some misconceptions about music therapy?

That the client or patient has to have some particular music ability to benefit from music therapy -- they do not. That there is one particular style of music that is more therapeutic than all the rest -- this is not the case. All styles of music can be useful in effecting change in a client or patient's life. The individual's preferences, circumstances and need for treatment, and the client or patient's goals help to determine the types of music a music therapist may use.

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How can music therapy techniques be applied by healthy individuals?

Healthy individuals can use music for stress reduction via active music making, such as drumming, as well as passive listening for relaxation. Music is often a vital support for physical exercise. Music therapy assisted labor and delivery may also be included in this category since pregnancy is regarded as a normal part of women's life cycles.

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How is music therapy utilized in hospitals?

Music is used in general hospitals to: alleviate pain in conjunction with anesthesia or pain medication: elevate patients' mood and counteract depression; promote movement for physical rehabilitation; calm or sedate, often to induce sleep; counteract apprehension or fear; and lessen muscle tension for the purpose of relaxation, including the autonomic nervous system.

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How is music therapy utilized in nursing homes?

Music is used with elderly persons to increase or maintain their level of physical, mental, and social/emotional functioning. The sensory and intellectual stimulation of music can help maintain a person's quality of life.

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How is music therapy utilized in schools?

Music therapists are often hired in schools to provide music therapy services listed on the Individualized Education Plan for mainstreamed special learners. Music learning is used to strengthen nonmusical areas such as communication skills and physical coordination skills which are important for daily life.
 
infopod_graphicv2_smParent information for music therapy and the IEP. AMTA's Director of Government Relations, Judy Simpson, MT-BC, walks parents through the process of requesting the inclusion of music therapy on their child's IEP.

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How is music therapy utilized in psychiatric facilities?

Music therapy allows persons with mental health needs to: explore personal feelings, make positive changes in mood and emotional states, have a sense of control over life through successful experiences, practice problem solving, and resolve conflicts leading to stronger family and peer relationships.

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Is music therapy a reimbursable service?

Medicare
Since 1994, music therapy has been identified as a reimbursable service under benefits for Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP).  Falling under the heading of Activity Therapy, the interventions cannot be purely recreational or diversionary in nature and must be individualized and based on goals specified in the treatment plan.  The current HCPCS Code for PHP is G0176.

 The music therapy must be considered an active treatment by meeting the following criteria:

  1. Be prescribed by a physician;
  2. Be reasonable and necessary for the treatment of the individual’s illness or injury;
  3. Be goal directed and based on a documented treatment plan;
  4. The goal of treatment cannot be to merely maintain current level of functioning; the individual must exhibit some level of improvement.
Medicaid
There are currently a few states that allow payment for music therapy services through use of Medicaid Home and Community Based Care waivers with certain client groups.  In some situations, although music therapy may not be specifically listed within regulatory language, due to functional outcomes achieved, music therapy interventions qualify for coverage under existing treatment categories such as community support, rehabilitation, or habilitation services.
 

Examples:

Arizona
Medicaid coverage for music therapy provided to individuals with developmental disabilities.
 
Indiana
Home and Community-Based Waivers managed by the Division of Disability and Rehabilitation Services includes music therapy as a covered service for the following three waiver programs:  Developmental Disability Waiver, Autism Waiver, and Support Services Waiver.
 
Maryland
Music therapy is a covered service under the state's Autism Waiver and the Residential Treatment Center Demonstration Waiver.
 
Michigan
Music therapy is a covered service under the state's Medicaid Children's Waiver Program.
 
Texas
Music therapy is listed as a health service under several in Home and Family Support Program Waivers.
 
Wisconsin
Music therapy is a covered service within the Brain Injury Waiver (BIW) and the Children's Long-Term Support Waiver.
 
Private Insurance

The number of success stories involving third party reimbursement for the provision of music therapy services continues to grow as more clinicians seek this coverage.  In response to the increasing demand, the music therapy profession has worked to facilitate the reimbursement process for clients of music therapy services.

The American Music Therapy Association now estimates that approximately 20% of music therapists receive third party reimbursement for the services they provide.

Music therapy is comparable to other allied health professions like occupational therapy and physical therapy in that individual assessments are provided for each client, service must be found reasonable and necessary for the individual’s illness or injury and interventions include a goal-directed documented treatment plan.

Companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Cigna, and Aetna have all paid for music therapy services at some time.  Success has occurred on a case-by-case basis when the therapist implements steps within the reimbursement process. Like other therapies, music therapy is reimbursable when services are pre-approved and deemed medically or behaviorally necessary to reach the individual patient's treatment goals.

Other Sources

Additional sources for reimbursement and financing of music therapy services include: many state departments of mental health, state departments of developmental disabilities, state adoption subsidy programs, private auto insurance, employee worker’s compensation, county boards of developmental disabilities, IDEA Part B related services funds, foundations, grants, and private pay.

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What is the American Music Therapy Association?

The American Music Therapy Association is the largest professional association which represents over 5,000 music therapists, corporate members and related associations worldwide. Founded in 1998, its mission is the progressive development of the therapeutic use of music in rehabilitation, special education, and community settings. AMTA sets the education and clinical training standards for music therapists. Predecessors to the American Music Therapy Association included the National Association for Music Therapy founded in 1950 and the American Association for Music Therapy founded in 1971.

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What is a typical music therapy session like?

Since music therapists serve a wide variety of persons with many different types of needs there is no such thing as an overall typical session. Sessions are designed and music selected based on the individual client's treatment plan.

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What is the future of music therapy?

The future of music therapy is promising because state of the art music therapy research in physical rehabilitation, Alzheimer's disease, and psychoneuroimmunology is documenting the effectiveness of music therapy in terms that are important in the context of a biological medical model.

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What is the difference between music therapy and other bedside music?

AMTA receives many questions regarding the differences between Board Certified Music Therapists and the profession of music therapy relative to other practitioners who use music at the bedside. Click here to downlaod a brief side-by-side document, which is provided for the purpose of reviewing some of these differences, at a glance.
 

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Career in Music Therapy

How do I become a music therapist?

Those who wish to become music therapists must earn a bachelor’s degree or higher in music therapy from an American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) approved program. The curriculum includes coursework in music, music therapy, biology, psychology, social and behavioral sciences, and general studies. Clinical skills are developed through 1200 hours of required fieldwork, including an internship in healthcare and/or education facilities. These experiences allow students to learn how to assess the needs of clients, develop and implement treatment plans, and evaluate and document clinical changes.

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Where can I get a degree in music therapy?

A list of AMTA-approved schools that offer a degree in music therapy can be found on the AMTA website.  From the home page, click "Schools Offering Music Therapy Training" under "Quick Links." You can then search the online directory to find a current approved school offereing a music therapy degree program by choose "AMTA-Approved School" under member type, any other criteria you desire and then click the Search button. You can also view a printable list of schools by viewing the Career Brochure online.

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Where can I find an internship in music therapy?

After completing the required coursework at an approved music therapy degree program, the music therapy student must complete an internship at an approved internship site.  A list of AMTA-approved National Roster Internship Sites can be found on the AMTA website.  From the home page, click "Internship Sites in Music Therapy" under "Quick Links." You can then search the online directory to find a current AMTA-approved National Roster Internship Site by choosing "*National Roster Internship Site" under member type, any other criteria you desire and then click the Search button.

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Are there advanced degrees in music therapy?

Graduate programs in music therapy offer the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge and competence in clinical skills and research.  Doctoral degrees or doctoral study in music therapy, are offered by selected universities which include advanced coursework in music therapy in combination with doctoral study in related areas.
 

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What is the music therapy credential?

Once coursework and clinical training are completed, one is eligible to take the national examination administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT), an independent, non-profit certifying agency fully accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. After successful completion of the examination, graduates are issued the credential necessary for professional practice, Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC). To maintain this credential, music therapists must demonstrate continued competence by completing 100 recertification credits or retaking and passing the CBMT examination within each five-year recertification cycle.  The MT-BC credential is awarded and administrated by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT).  More information can be found at www.cbmt.org.
 

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What is the potential salary of a music therapist?

Each year AMTA members are surveyed and a Descriptive Statistical Profile of the profession is published.  Music therapists' salaries vary based on location, setting, population, experience, training, full time or part time employment, as well as a number of other factors.  Many music therapists work in private practice and charge an hourly rate for services.  In 2011, the overall average salary reported by all music therapists surveyed was $48,066.  The overall median salary reported in 2011 was $45,000 and the overall most commonly reported salary was $40,000.  2011 salaries reported ranged from $20,000 to $188,000.  To read the entire 2011 AMTA Workforce Survey and Analysis and see breakdowns by setting, population, location, etc., you can purchase a downloadable copy in the AMTA Bookstore (available free to current AMTA members as a benefit of membership).

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What attributes does one need to be a music therapist?

Personal qualifications include an interest in people and a desire to help others empower themselves. Those who are considering music therapy as a career must be accomplished musicians. A music therapist must be versatile and able to adjust to changing circumstances. Music therapists should demonstrate care and concern and be able to offer emotional support for clients and families. Patience, empathy, imagination, tact, openness to new ideas, a sense of humor and creativity are important qualities for professionals in this profession. Music therapists must express themselves well in speech and in writing. In addition, they must be able to work well with other health care providers.

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