AMTA-Pro Overview


A Benefit of Membership in AMTA

The AMTA-Pro podcast series features your music therapy colleagues, students, and interns as well as other invited guests. The podcast series, a benefit exclusively for AMTA members, began in 2009. Some podcast speakers focus on one specific topic, similar to a conference session. Other podcasts feature individuals or groups providing overviews of music therapy services in a specific clinical setting or summaries of their work with one client or client group. Some AMTA-Pro podcasts are conversations with individual music therapists about their careers, or with music therapy students about their plans for the future. Some of the podcasts are casual, "open-mike" conference events encouraging attendees to share ideas, thoughts, and insights about music therapy from their perspective. The AMTA-Pro podcast series also includes podcasts capturing special AMTA events such as featured conference speakers, memorials to AMTA members, and historical speeches from our past leaders and members. The podcasts are accompanied with a text section that includes materials such as photos and videos, a transcript of the podcast or a discussion outline, references and additional resources, and information about the speakers. Take a look at the complete list of topics and descriptions below - a wealth of interesting podcasts - then click on the entry page to listen and/or read. .

Click here to go to the AMTA-pro entry page


Sponsor an AMTA-Pro Podcast

AMTA-proStackAMTA regions, state music therapy groups, music therapy clinics, agencies with music therapists on staff, universities, clinical sites, and other organizations can sponsor an AMTA-Pro Podcast featuring a speaker, a non-commercial topic of interest to AMTA members, and 2010 launch date of their choosing – within reasonable guidelines and with assistance from Cathy Knoll and Dwight Knoll as needed. AMTA-Pro podcast sponsor fee is just $500.00. Send e-mail to brainstorm and learn details via or to

2015 Podcasts:

Understanding Military Culture

After earning the rank of Captain in the United States Navy and serving for 25 years, Becky Jo Watson retired and earned her MT-BC status. She recently sat down in front of the AMTA-Pro microphone to share her experiences and unique insights in an effort to help her music therapy colleagues understand military culture in order to better serve active duty military members and veterans. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Becky talks about the pressing need for more music therapy services, and she shares 7 C’s - basic principles for music therapists to consider when developing music therapy services and strategies for contributions to readiness, rehabilitation, recovery, and wellness among America’s military populations, both active duty service members and veterans. This informative AMTA-Pro podcast compliments the AMTA E-course, Music Therapy and Military Populations, based on a 2014 status report presented by the American Music Therapy Association about music therapy treatment, programs, research, and practice policy. The briefing report presents exemplary model programs and highlights the strong foundation of published research and evidence to inform practice.

International Perspectives from Music Therapy Students

Dr. Dena Register challenged some of her music therapy students in her Current Trends in Music Therapy class at the University of Kansas to explore music therapy from the international perspective. The resulting topics for their individual projects included, among others, eating disorders from a global perspective, music therapy trends in disaster response, instruments around the world, music therapy and environmental noise in ICU, and development of MT in three Asian countries. The students shared the results of their projects in a session at the 2014 AMTA conference in Louisville, KY. Tune into this AMTA-Pro podcast featuring Fatima Chan, Emilyjane Eichman, Cole Eisenmenger, Bing Li, Katie Martin, Alison Smiley, and Rachel Zarich as they overview their conference session about diverse topics of interest to music therapy professionals.

Storytelling in Music Therapy

Throughout history, people have been inherently drawn to telling and listening to stories, and music enhances the experiences. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Ron Borczon, Director of Music Therapy at California State University Northridge and of the Music Therapy Wellness Clinic, provides some compelling insights about music in storytelling, and shares some experiences in his clinical work. Ron talks about various aspects of the art of storytelling, the symbolic nature of the story, the listening environment, the role of music in the storytelling experience, and the different levels of processing stories with clients in music therapy group and individual sessions. Podcast listeners learn about using stories and myths in music therapy, and hear some thought-provoking stories accompanied by music, percussion, and an enchanting zither.

Neuroplasticity Model of Music Therapy

Why does music therapy work? In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Dr. Elizabeth Stegemoller talks informally to her music therapy colleagues about the neuroplasticity model of music therapy. She discusses the impact of music on critical dopamine production, about the Hebbian Principle, and about the value of the clear signal of music as opposed to noise. Elizabeth discusses practical application of the principles in the neuroplasticity model as used in music therapy for individuals with Parkinson’s. She talks about music’s role in cortical remapping and building alternative pathways that reroute an individual’s control over their movement. Once the alternative pathways are in place, the music therapist fades the musical stimuli, allowing the individual with Parkinson’s to function more independently. The neuroplasticity model of music therapy needs further research, but gives us some insights into that ever-present question, “Why does music therapy work?”

Music Therapy & Adolescents with ASD

Dr. John Carpente takes time in this AMTA-Pro podcast to share some insights gained from his work with teenagers diagnosed with autism at the Rebecca Center for Music Therapy housed at Molloy College in New York. Guided by principles of the DIR Floor Time Model in tandem with Nordoff-Robbins music therapy, John involves the youngsters in music-making experiences - joining together with the band - to foster social-emotional development. In this informal podcast, John, founder and director at the Rebecca Center, talks about the progress made by two adolescent students when actively involved in making music with the music therapist.

2014 Podcasts:

Music Therapy and Infant-Directed Singing
Tune into this AMTA-Pro podcast to learn of the research of our music therapy colleague Shannon de l’Etoile related to infant-directed singing and infant self-regulation. In this conversation, recorded at the AMTA conference in November, 2013, Dr. de l’Etoile talks about the universal nature of mothers singing to their infants and the resulting benefits of maintaining attention and leading the infant to a comfortable state of arousal. She discusses her clinical work in this area and the series of studies that led her to focus on the impact of infant-directed singing when either the mother or the infant is at risk and not responding to the interaction, research that has far-reaching implications for music therapy. Shannon also takes time during this podcast to overview the outstanding music therapy program at University of Miami Frost School of Music.
Music Therapy in Early Brain and Child Development
The American Academy of Pediatrics Initiative released in 2013 stems from continued research about the impact of early support and development on prevention of later health issues. The AAP Initiative, intended to transform pediatric practice, focuses on the first 1000 days of life as most critical in brain development. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, music therapist Dr. Becky Wellman talks about the parallels between the AAP Initiative and music therapy practice. She informally shares examples of ways in which music therapists working with children in their first three years often design music therapy interventions and sessions to encourage positive, interactive parenting and to address the five areas emphasized in the AAP Initiative, i.e., reading, rhyming, routine, reward, and relationship.
Music Therapy with Foster Care Youth
Dr. Michael Zanders, PhD, LPC, MT-BC, an assistant professor of music therapy at Texas Woman's University, began working with the child welfare system some years ago.  Many of his recent publications and presentations focus on music therapy with foster care youth.  In this interesting AMTA-pro podcast, Dr. Zanders talks about his work with children and adolescents in the CPS foster system and he provides an informal, brief review of his qualitative research examining the personal and musical lives of adolescents with foster care experience.  This innovative research certainly has implications for music therapy research, theory, and practice for adolescents in foster care, a promising new field of practice for music therapists.
The A Capella Voice
Beth Schwartz holds an interesting and informative discussion about developing, expanding, and exploring our voices as a therapeutic tool.  Every music therapist uses his or her voice in clinical work whether it is humming to an infant in the NICU or adjusting the timbre and intonation of a speaking voice in verbal processing. Because music therapists do not always receive specific vocal training for using the voice as a clinical instrument, Beth found it necessary to create some basic, practical tips and techniques for helping music therapy students find and expand their own clinical voice. She shares some examples and specific techniques in this AMTA-Pro podcast in hopes of opening a discussion on the importance of helping all music therapists add specific vocal practices, techniques, and understandings to their clinical knowledge and repertoire.
Roots of Music Therapy: An Interview with Dr. Olin G. Parker
Dr.-Parker-Amber-Weldon-Stephens-150x150After returning from service in WWII, Olin Parker continued his education at University of Kansas, studying with Dr. E.Thayer Gaston and other pioneers in the field of music therapy. In 2013, Dr. Parker is Professor Emeritus of Music and Associate Director Emeritus of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at University of Georgia. He continues to be active in AMTA at age 91, and to teach some college classes, a career in higher education he started 49 years ago. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Dr. Parker talks with one of his former music students, Amber Weldon-Stephens, and with music therapist, Cathy Knoll, about events in the late 1940’s that resulted in the birth of music therapy as a profession, about his interactions with Dr. E.Thayer Gaston and other pioneers in the field, and about his interesting experiences over the past decades. Dr. Parker provides intriguing insights about our profession and amusing anecdotes about music therapy

2013 Podcasts:

Music Therapy in Community Music Schools

Don't miss this lively conversation between three of our music therapy colleagues, all directors of music therapy programs in community music schools, talking about innovative music therapy programs and services for individuals as well as for social service, medical, and education agencies in their communities. Because there are about one hundred community music schools around the country, and only twenty have music therapy services, possibilities for establishing new music therapy programs abound. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Eve Montague shares insights based on her experience of starting up a new music therapy program in the prestigious South Shore Conservatory in Massachusetts. Maria Batista-Hancock talks about the quality services provided by nine music therapists at the Hochstein Music School in Rochester, New York as well as some exciting new initiatives. Ronna Kaplan describes the music therapy program at The Music Settlement in Cleveland, Ohio which started in 1966 under the leadership of Louise Steele, and continues today with twelve music therapists providing innovative services impacting the lives of a number of children and adults facing a wide range of life's challenges.

Music Therapy for Older People
The AMTA-Pro podcast for July, 2013, Music Therapy for Older People, begins with our colleague Dr. Anne Lipe sharing an overview of music therapy with older adults, including the history of music therapy services with this diverse population, the impact of the 1991 hearing before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging on the growth of music therapy services and research, and the broad range of possibilities for music therapy services across the spectrum for older people living independently in the community, individuals in assisted living and adult day care, and people living in long-term care facilities. The second part of this podcast features the work of music therapists Dr. Betsey King and Laurie Keough in a privately funded music therapy demonstration project for individuals living in the community who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The project, which has since been replicated, not only resulted in the documentation of, among other things, a decrease in agitation and perseveration of words and phrases as well as an increase in social interaction for the participants, but also confirmed the validity of assessment-based small-group and individual music therapy as a cost-effective service significantly impacting quality of life. This podcast ends with an informal discussion of the exciting possibilities for growth in music therapy services for older people in the community and in long-term care.
Music Therapy with Military Service Members
In addition to her work with other populations, board-certified music therapist Rebecca Vaudreuil provides group and individual music therapy to military service members diagnosed with PTSD, TBI, physical injuries, substance abuse, chemical dependency, and other challenges. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Rebecca gives us an overview of the role of music therapy and the structure of services provided to all branches of the military in inpatient programs as well as in Wounded Warrior Battalion transition and community reintegration programs. She describes real life situations illustrating the value of music therapy professionals and interns teaming up with recreation therapists, volunteers, family members, recording artists, and the San Diego community in order to provide effective and life-changing experiences for military service members. The text section of this AMTA-Pro podcast includes links to videos featuring songs written by and/or performed by people involved in group and individual music therapy.
Music Therapists Surviving Cancer

MTs Survivng Cancer Podcast GroupMusic therapists Ashley Taylor, Lisa Gallagher, Megan Peterson, Carolyn Bowes, Heather Lantry, Faith Halverson-Ramos, and JoAnn Jordan gathered around the AMTA-Pro microphone. What do these colleagues have in common? All have experienced cancer from different viewpoints. Some are in active treatment, some are celebrating "cancer-versaries", some are clinicians working with individuals diagnosed with cancer, and some have family members with cancer. In this podcast, they talk briefly about some challenges related to their cancer, and they share some thoughtful insights and suggestions for music therapists working with people diagnosed with cancer.

Music Therapy and Parkinson's

AMTApro_ParkinsonsThree music therapists gathered around the AMTA-Pro microphone for an hour, and the resulting podcast is nothing short of amazing. Music therapists Megumi Azekawa, Jeanne Quam, and Steve Quam experience Parkinson’s from three vastly different perspectives. Megumi is involved in the clinical and music therapy research aspect; Steve lives inside Parkinson’s after being diagnosed with the condition; and Jeanne experiences Parkinson’s from the perspective of spouse and care partner. All three music therapists share insights, experiences, and wisdom of great value to their colleagues. Megumi talks about her clinical work with a singing and vocal exercise music therapy group for individuals with PD based on her thesis study. Jeanne provides insights from the care partner perspective. Of particular interest is Steve’s conversation about the impact of Parkinson's on his ability to play flute, and his cross-country trips to raise awareness of Parkinson’s - trips taken via bicycle!

Music Therapy Research

Dr. Laura Brown takes a brief break from teaching music therapy students at Western Illinois University for an AMTA-Pro Podcast interview about her research into the impact of music on emotional processing in the social interaction of children diagnosed with autism. This is the first step in a line of research that will inform music therapy practice for individuals with autism. Laura also talks about the role of research in clinical music therapy, the need for continuing to build on the research foundation in music therapy, and the exciting possibilities for the future of music therapy.

Music Therapy with Medically Fragile Infants

Amy Smith, a Certified Child Life Specialist and Board Certified Music Therapist, works in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas. In this AMTA-Pro Podcast, Amy describes situations she encounters in her daily work and ways in which music therapy interventions impact the infants and their families during these critical days. For example, she discusses ways in which music can help parents connect with their little ones, normalize interactions, develop family rituals and familiar routines in the hectic hospital atmosphere, help their baby reach developmental milestones even when chronically ill, and celebrating in the midst of stress. Amy's experience and insights are valuable to all music therapists, and a call for continued research and advances in clinical practice for music therapy with medically fragile infants.


2012 Podcasts:

Barbara Reuer: Music Therapy Mover and Shaker

Music therapy took an unexpected turn in San Diego, CA when Dr. Barbara Reuer moved into town. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Barb talks about innovative programs, the expansion of music therapy services in the community, the "business" of music therapy, and the thrill of training new therapists. She also shares some heartfelt stories about ways in which music and therapy have touched her life. The text segment of this AMTA-Pro podcast includes more information about Barb’s work as well as links to the websites of her music therapy programs.

Debbie Dacus: Music Therapy from Different Angles

Debbie Dacus has viewed and experienced music therapy from several different angles. She has 25 years of clinical experience in various settings, including a multiple disability rehabilitation clinic, metroplex public schools, and her private clinic specializing in music therapy services for children diagnosed with autism and other disabilities. Debbie has published several books and coauthored several music therapy resources, and is currently preparing to teach at the university level. In her "spare" time, Debbie is a professional singer. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Debbie shares compelling stories from her daily work and talks with AMTA-Pro host, Cathy Knoll, about lessons learned from her experiences in music and in music therapy over the years.

Deforia Lane: The Winding Path to a Music Therapy Career
In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Dr. Deforia Lane shares the compelling story of her career as a music therapist, a journey that actually began when she was in kindergarten. After a rather shaky and uncertain start during her college years, Deforia went on to develop new music therapy programs for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. When she was diagnosed with cancer in the 1980′s, Deforia’s exposure to hospitals during treatment revealed the need for music therapy in the medical setting. She began volunteering, then, in 1984, started a program at University Hospitals Case Medical Center that continues to thrive and grow today. Tune in and be inspired.
Fulton County Schools: Music Therapy Since 1991

About a dozen music therapists gathered around the AMTA-Pro podcast microphone during the AMTA conference in Atlanta to talk about their work in the public schools in Fulton County, Georgia. The Fulton County music therapy program started in 1991 under the direction of Amber Weldon-Stephens, and continues to expand and to impact not only the lives of the students, but also teachers, classroom aids, therapists, families, and the community as a whole. Click to listen to this lively conversation, and check the text for information about the speakers, about the structure of the music therapy program in the Fulton County Schools, the website connection, and about other details of interest.

Music Therapy in the NICU, Part 2
The second in a 2-part series of AMTA-Pro podcasts about music therapy in neonatal ICU, features music therapists Lori Gooding, Darcy Walworth, and Jayne Standley. The experienced professionals discuss many aspects of current practice, the breadth of issues music therapists encounter in NICU, the broadening scope of services, the growing research agenda, and the eminent explosion in demand for music therapy services in NICU settings around the country. They also share excitement about research results and personal observations of the "miracle" of music in therapy as it impacts infants, parents, and medical staff.
Music Therapy in the NICU, Part 1
This AMTA-Pro podcast, the first of a 2-part series, features a lively conversation between three experienced professionals talking about their work as music therapists in neonatal intensive care units (NICU). The podcast speakers - Jessy Rushing, Andrea Cevasco, and Olivia Swedberg Yinger - provide insight into the significant impact of music therapy on the infants in NICU as well as on the staff and parents. The panel talks about the types of services music therapists can provide, and exchanges ideas about some of the challenges and rewarding moments music therapy professionals may encounter in NICU settings. The discussion and clinical stories are of interest to music therapists, not matter their area of clinical expertise or experience.
Music Therapy in Hospice and Palliative Care
Three music therapists with experience in different aspects of hospice and palliative care gathered around the AMTA-Pro microphone to talk about the state-of-the-art of music therapy in this growing field. After each music therapist took time to describe their clinical work, the group members – Lauren DiMaio, Russell Hilliard, and Natalie Wlodarczyk – had a lively conversation about the exciting possibilities for expansion of music therapy in hospice and about the complex ethical dilemmas that often arise in care for people of all ages dealing with a wide variety of end-of-life issues. Each therapist also told heartwarming stories about music as therapy, touching patients, families, and staff in meaningful ways as individuals approach the end of life.
Adults with ID/DD:  Music Therapy for Life
Check out the latest release in the AMTA-Pro podcast series featuring three music therapists - Donna Polen, Julie Andring, and Laurie Farnan - sharing compelling clinical stories and thoughtful insights based on decades of experience in music therapy for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD.) Join these experienced professionals as they discuss different models of service delivery as well as challenges that arise as services, funding, and living arrangements evolve for this population. The clinical stories in this podcast vividly illustrate the importance of music therapy in the daily lives and long-term well-being of many adults and older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Nevada State Senator Takes Stand on Music Therapy
Music therapist Judith Pinkerton and Nevada State Senator Moises Denis talk about the complex process and interesting journey they followed for obtaining state licensure for music therapists. Their discussion provides inspiration for music therapists working for licensure in other states as well as helpful tips for successfully moving legislation through the process. This AMTA-Pro podcast ends on a surprising and inspiring musical note. More information about the process, a short video of that surprising musical note, and a copy of the Senate Bill – SB 190 – along with other helpful information is included in the text section of the podcast. 
Ken Bruscia:  AMTA's 2011 Sears Distinguished Lecture Series Speaker

The American Music Therapy Association presented Kenneth E. Bruscia, PhD, MT-BC as The William W. Sears Distinguished Lecture Series Speaker at the annual AMTA conference in Atlanta, Georgia in November, 2011. Dr. Bruscia’s lecture, "Ways of Thinking in Music Therapy," is an analysis of various ways of thinking about the respective roles of music, therapist, and client, and how these roles are configured in different models and styles of music therapy practice. Dr. Bruscia specifically addresses the implications of the question he posed during his lecture: Can we better serve our clients by moving from "one-way" thinking to more "integral" thinking? This AMTA-Pro podcast includes both the audio and video versions of Dr. Bruscia’s lecture as well as a detailed discussion outline. Keep in mind the hour-long video takes a bit of time to download. Please note that Dr. Bruscia’s final comments are not included in the audio and video segments because technical difficulties during the original recording in Atlanta cut the recordings short.

Journey Toward a Career in Music Therapy with MT students Anastasia Canfield and Bryant Williams

Music therapists enter the field for a variety of reasons. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, two music therapy students, both seniors at Texas Woman's University, describe the diverse paths they took coming into the field as well as interesting experiences along the way that have equipped them for the journey through internship and into successful professional careers. AMTA-Pro podcasts coming soon include Dr. Ken Brucia's Sears Lecture as well as conversations about media tools and techniques, about music therapy in hospice, NICU, and public schools, and the inside story of state licensure in Nevada.


2011 Podcasts:

Connie Tomaino: Music Therapy Trailblazer

Our music therapy colleague, Dr. Concetta Tomaino, is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function (IMNF) and the Senior Vice President for Music Therapy at Beth Abraham Family of Health Services. Connie is a world-renowned speaker, author, researcher, and clinician, and she is even the subject of the movie, "The Music Never Stopped." In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Connie tells the intriguing story of her journey in music therapy, traveling a road filled with some surprising twists and turns over the years. Her story illustrates the value of following your heart, taking bold steps, and staying true to music therapy.



Making it Work: MT-BC and Small Business Owner

Meredith Roman Pizzi is a board-certified music therapist. She is also a small business owner, the founder and director of a growing, thriving business, Roman Music Therapy Services in Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts area. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Meredith shares tips and strategies for making it work, excelling both as a therapist and a business person.

Making Research Relevant in Music Therapy Practice and Advocacy

This AMTA-Pro podcast is an informal interview with the facilitators of the AMTA Research Institute at the 2010 AMTA conference in Cleveland Ohio. The informative Research Institute – Making Research Relevant in Music Therapy Practice and Advocacy – included free registration and CMTE credits to MT-BC’s and featured facilitators Dr. Debra Burns and Barbara Else as well as invited speakers, Dr. Tony Meadows and Kendra Booth. Listen to the podcast and click on the pdf below to access the Research Institute booklet, filled to the brim with information and resources.

Maggie's Music Therapy Journey

Maggie walked some rugged paths during her stays at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, but her music therapist, Kirsten Nelson, was there every step of the way. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Kirsten shares the compelling story of Maggie’s journey through life and her experiences with music therapy in pediatric palliative care. Kirsten serves pediatric inpatients by referral, is the Internship Director at the hospital, and is a member of the newly formed Pediatric Palliative Care Core team.

Music Therapy Internship Directors - Shaping the Future

Five music therapy internship directors working in a wide range of clinical settings gathered around the AMTA-Pro microphone during the 2010 AMTA Conference in Cleveland to share their experiences and insights gained from training many dozens of future board-certified music therapists over the years. The resulting AMTA-Pro podcast – a lively conversation and idea exchange – features experienced clinicians Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC, Christine Neugebauer, MS, MT-BC, LPC, Amber Weldon-Stephens, EdS, MT-BC, Lisa Swanson, MMT, MT-BC, and Ellen Rayfield, LCPC, MT-BC.

Music Therapy Cancer Survivors Share Insights

During a meeting of the executive board of AMTAS at the November, 2010 AMTA conference in Cleveland, two music therapy student leaders discovered they shared something in common – both are cancer survivors. In this informal, impromptu conversation  with their fellow music therapy students, Lelia Huber, a senior at University of Alabama, and Megan Peterson, a senior at Colorado State University, share compelling insights based on their personal experiences as music therapy majors diagnosed with cancer.

Nonprofit Music Therapy Agencies

The Southwestern Region of AMTA is the sponsor of this AMTA-Pro podcast featuring an informal conversation between Judith Pinkerton and Kate Harrison about their thriving, nonprofit music therapy agencies. Kate launched the Music Therapy Center of Houston just two years ago, and Judith’s Center for Creative Therapeutic Arts in Las Vegas is "20 years young." Talking with AMTA-Pro podcast host Cathy Knoll, Judith and Kate share experiences and insights about agency structure, services, funding, interns, staff, and potential for future growth for their agencies and for nonprofit music therapy agencies in general.

"Intro to MT" Course Taught at Community College

After 30-plus years clinical experience, music therapist Linda Bosse "retired" and embarked on some new adventures in the field. She became a visiting lecturer at Berklee College of Music and adjunct faculty at Anna Maria College. In 2007, she started working as adjunct faculty at Naugatuck Valley Community College, teaching a Fundamentals of Music course each semester and an Introduction to Music Therapy course each year. Because the course is well received among students, this AMTA-Pro podcast allows Linda to share what she has learned and to encourage her colleagues to consider teaching similar courses in local community colleges and other higher education settings.

Alicia Clair: Reflections, Insights, and Stories

This AMTA-Pro podcast features music therapist Dr. Alicia Clair, Professor and Director of Music Education and Music Therapy at University of Kansas. In this informal conversation, Dr. Clair reflects on factors and events in her life that sparked her interest in dementia care and eventually led to a career in music therapy. Dr. Clair shares compelling insights and experiences from her professional journey as a clinician, researcher, author, professor, and active participant in AMTA.

Older Podcasts:

Music Therapy and the Brain: Treating Cognitive Dysfunctions

Dr. Dale Taylor welcomes his music therapy colleagues to the discussion via an AMTA-Pro podcast about music therapy and the brain as it relates to treating clients with cognitive dysfunctions. The podcast focuses on principles of music therapy and the brain that are applicable to the treatment of cognitive dysfunction in specific disease categories often encountered in music therapy. Dr. Taylor shares research and observations touching on four questions of musical influence: 1. Does music change neural impulse patterning in the brain? 2. Does music activate the whole brain? 3. Does music initiate or facilitate neural plasticity in the brain? 4. What music should be used with patients/clients with cognitive dysfunctions?

Music Therapy Students Look Into the Future

During the 2010 AMTA conference in Cleveland, AMTAS president, Ellyn Hamm, gathered over a dozen music therapy student leaders for a conversation with music therapist Cathy Knoll about the future of our profession. The diverse group of undergraduate and graduate students, representing various AMTA regions, discussed individual career goals, thoughts about the role of AMTA in their professional careers, and their vision of the potential for music therapy to impact individual lives in many different ways in the future. This AMTA-Pro podcast captures the informal, yet intriguing conversation among future leaders in the field of music therapy.

The 2010 Carol Hampton Bicton Lecture

The inaugural lecture in the Carol Hampton Bitcon Series at the 2010 AMTA conference in Cleveland featured Honorary Life Members Alan Solomon and Ken Medema in a unique blend of music, history, and audience involvement in Pioneers, Generations, & Memories: Music Therapy’s Diamond Anniversary. Enjoy listening to this AMTA-Pro podcast as Alan Solomon captures the spirit of celebration for a full-house of music therapists, ranging from undergraduate students to therapists with up to 50 years experience. After listening to Alan’s historical overview of our profession, click on part 2 of this unique lecture – an incredible musical salute by Ken Medema to the past 60 years with a finale that launches us into the future.

Ken Medema: The Music Therapist's Music Therapist

Ken Medema encapsulated the pure essence of the theme of the 2010 AMTA conference in Cleveland  – Rock out of the Past, Roll into the Future – by lighting fires in the hearts of music therapy clinicians, educators, researchers, interns, and students at the inaugural Carol Hampton Bitcon Lecture Series. Listen as Ken shares his music, his experience as a music therapist clinician and advocate, and his extraordinary gift for improvising songs based on stories shared by music therapists across the past 6 decades. The finale of Ken Medema’s lively musical event features the voices, hand-clapping, and toe-tapping of many hundreds of music therapists rockin’ and rollin’ into the future.

Music for My Micro-Preemie Daughter

Valerie was born prematurely, and immediately immersed into a world of monitors, lights, and alarms in neonatal ICU. But her critical first days as a one-pound "micro-preemie" (born at 23 weeks, 5 days) also included music from her mother, Robin. Valerie survived and thrived, and, over the years, her mom’s music has helped her with other challenges in life and school. Now Valerie is a beautiful young lady – inside and out – with musical talents of her own. Listen to this AMTA-Pro podcast by Valerie’s mother, Robin Spielberg, telling the story of Valerie’s rocky start in life and the impact music and music therapy has had on the whole family.

Music Therapy in Daughter's Battle with Cancer

The world stood still for Jefri Franks when she heard the diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma for her daughter, Heather. In the months following that discovery, Allison, music therapist for the oncology unit at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, walked with Heather and her family, helping them find outlets and insights. Jefri was kind enough to share some highlights of that journey, and her thoughts about music therapy. The general public can read about the impact of music therapy on one specific family by clicking on Jefri's brief comments here.

AMTA members can learn more from Jefri in a longer discussion by clicking on her AMTA-Pro Podcast here.  Not only is Jefri Heather's mom, but she also has 28 years experience in health care marketing. Her professional credentials and her personal experience with music therapy makes Jefri a particularly valuable resource for music therapy professionals.

Music Therapy in Inclusive Classrooms

Jean Nemeth, MA, MT-BC contracts music therapy services to public schools in Connecticut, working with students in a variety of classroom formats from pre-school through high school. In this AMTA-Pro Podcast, Jean informally discusses one approach to structuring music therapy sessions in inclusive classrooms, including integrated preschool (60/40) and  full inclusion elementary classes.

Music Therapy in Wellness:  An Integrative Paradigm

Anne B. Parker, MA, MHSA, MT-BC, FAMI is the Supervisor of the Wellness Department at Miraval Resort, Tucson, AZ – an internationally renowned wellness and health resort. After over 15 years of professional experience in general, psychiatric, and rehabilitation hospitals, Anne has focused the last 15 year of her professional work in a wellness model working with applications of music therapy with clients undergoing cancer treatment, dealing with chronic illness including stress disorders, as well as mental health issues, and life transitions of all kinds. In this podcast, Anne presents a wellness model and its integration with music therapy, particularly drawing from theoretical approaches and research in the areas of mindfulness and positive psychology.

A Therapeutic Collaboration Using Music, Movement and Storytelling

Marcia J. Lajoie, MM, MT-BC is a music therapist and music educator at Massachusetts Hospital School serving children age 7-22 with multiple disabilities. Beyond holding traditional music therapy groups and individual sessions, she has formed a relationship with the Hospital School’s Pain Management Team to offer alternative strategies for patients. This AMTA-Pro podcast begins with an informal conversation with Pain Management Team members talking about the evolution of the group. The podcast continues with an excerpt from an actual session illustrating the collaboration between professionals with guided meditation storytelling accompanied by improvised music. Following the brief session excerpt, music therapist Marcia Lajoie shares some observations from that session and about the therapeutic collaboration.

First Ever Vodcast From AMTA-Pro:  Building Bridges Between Neuroscience and Music Therapy

The William W. Sears Distinguished Lecturer at the annual AMTA conference in San Diego in November, 2009 was Aniruddh Patel, PhD. The William Sears Memorial Fund was established in memory of a National Association for Music Therapy leader whose membership dated back to the Association’s formative years in the early 1950s. The mission of the Sears Memorial Fund is to advance the knowledge of music therapy through distinguished speakers who are authorities in a field of interest to music therapy. This AMTA-Pro podcast a benefit exclusively for AMTA members, features "Building Bridges Between Music Neuroscience and Music Therapy," Dr. Patel’s Sears Lecture at the 2009 AMTA annual conference  You may click to listen to the audio podcast or click to watch the vodcast of the 2009 Sears Lecture.

Sound Healing and its Relation to Music Therapy

Barbara J. Crowe, MMT, MT-BC, Director of Music Therapy at Arizona State University, has had a long-term interest in music therapy theory and the other uses of sound and music for health and healing. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Barbara provides an overview of some of the many sound healing practices and addresses their relationship to music therapy. She also provides guidance about  working collaboratively and positively with individuals from some of these other disciplines.

Psychiatric Music Therapy:  Interventions in Acute Care Settings

Michael J. Silverman, PhD, MT-BC, director of music therapy at the University of Minnesota, is a member of the research staff at the University’s Medical Center where he provides clinical services and conducts research. In this AMTA podcast, he talks about interventions he utilizes in acute care psychiatric settings.

Music Therapy and Wound Care

John Abel, MPH, MT-BC serves as both music therapist and rehab therapy supervisor at Wesley Woods Hospital of Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, Georgia. In this acute care geriatric rehab hospital, John conducts group and individual music therapy sessions with individuals experiencing a variety of physical, emotional and cognitive challenges, and he supervises other therapists, rehabilitation techs, and administrative staff. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, John describes the development of a successful partnership between the music therapist and the wound care staff at the hospital. Click to listen to the podcast, and check out the short video description of this program below the outline.

Teens in Crisis; General Hospital's Inpatient Mental Health Unit

Bridget Doak, Ph.D, MT-BC, has 25 years clinical experience in music therapy and has been an adjunct instructor of music therapy at Augsburg College for 14 years. This AMTA-Pro podcast focuses on her experience providing music therapy for adolescents in crisis who are clients in an inpatient mental health program located in a large general hospital.

LiveReport from the Southwestern Region

This AMTA-Pro LiveReport is from the Southwestern AMTA regional conference in Amarillo, Texas in March, 2010. You can hear the sounds of the conference in the background as several dozen music therapy professionals and students share brief, informal comments during the conference while zipping from session to session, building their skills and sharpening their expertise in the vital, growing field of music therapy.

Music Therapy: Catalyst for Speech and for Language

Betsey King, an assistant professor at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY, has extensive experience in music therapy practice and research related to speech and language rehab. This AMTA-Pro podcast focuses on music therapy applications addressing challenges encountered in speech and language therapy, especially the unique characteristics of aphasia, apraxia, and dysarthria.

2009 Podcasts:

Music Therapy for Wellness and Peace-Building

Christine Stevens is an author, speaker and music therapist.. She has developed music therapy programs using drumming for survivors of Hurricane Katrina, Ground Zero, and Columbine High School. Most recently, Christine led the first drum circle training in a war-zone in northern Iraq.  Through Remo’s HealthRHYTHMS and her company, UpBeat Drum Circles, Christine leads training programs in how to facilitate group empowerment drumming.  She is the author of The Healing Drum Kit and The Art and Heart of Drum Circles.

AMTA-Pro LiveReport, 1, 2, 3, and 4

AMTA-Pro LiveReport is a series of podcasts featuring ideas, comments, and opinions from music therapists attending the 2009 conference of the American Music Therapy Association in San Diego, California.

  • #1: This first LiveReport includes short conversations with Andrew Knight, Louise Steele, and Kristen Sena, and closes with a Daughters of Harriet chant by five music therapists.
  • #2: Listen to Jodi Levine talking about the rewards of working with older people, and to hear Janice Harris telling of the perils of mixing handbells with a frustrated non-verbal person. This LiveReport segment ends with compelling insights from Kathy Lorenzato’s work at a pediatric hospital. 
  • #3: Comments and insights from our music therapy colleagues, Melissa Keys Wagner, Robin Rio, Lisa Jackert, Allegra Themmen, and Kimberly Sena Moore.
  • #4: The final edition of 2009 LiveReports features interesting thoughts from music therapy professionals Rachelle Norman, Susan Miller, and  Jennifer Jones. This series closes with a clever Goodbye Song composed by our music therapy colleague, Joe Pinson, based on input from one of his clients who was rather obsessed in languages.

Stroke Rehab: Continuum of Care

Sarah Johnson is a music therapist at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado. Sarah Thompson, MM, MT-BC, NMT Fellow, is the music therapist and owner of Rehabilitative Rhythms in Denver, Colorado. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Johnson and Thompson discuss the role of music therapy in the continuum of care in stroke rehabilitation from the perspective of in-patient and out-patient services. They walk through the process, beginning with initial assessment, and moving through treatment and discharge, following the progress of a 60-year-old stroke patient.

Detective Work in Music Therapy

Board certified music therapist Gloria McDaniel has 27 years experience in a large metropolitan school district near Houston, Texas, working with students from 3 to 21 years old with a wide variety of abilities and exceptionalities. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Gloria discusses the necessity of intense detective work in music therapy, watching for subtle clues that help therapists discern the needs of individuals and develop effective strategies and interventions to meet those unique needs. Gloria also talks about the need to sniff out evidence and follow leads to develop new music therapy positions or to expand programs. Her persistent detective work helped launch the music therapy program in her school district in 1982 and has lead to the expansion of that program this fall in spite of economic restraints.

Music Therapy and Eating Disorders

Annie Heiderscheit has nearly 20 years of clinical music therapy experience. She is on the graduate faculty at the University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing , and maintains a private music therapy practice employing five music therapists providing services to a variety of healthcare settings. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Annie shares her insights and experiences  as a clinical music therapist at The Emily Program, an outpatient eating disorder treatment program, where she provides music therapy in the residential, intensive and outpatient settings.

Music Therapy and Alzheimer's Disease

Larisa McHugh, MA, MT-BC is Music Therapist and Internship Director at Bethany Village, a continuing care retirement community in Dayton, Ohio. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, she describes effective music therapy interventions and methods for fostering meaningful relationships with individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia living in memory supported care. She also shares some compelling stories highlighting the impact of music therapy on the quality of life of her friends in the Memory Support Center

Medical Music Therapy

Michele Erich is a board certified music therapist and certified child life specialist with twenty years experience in the field. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, she shares valuable information gained from twelve years on the staff of the Healing Arts Network, an integrative therapy program at the New Hanover Regional Medical Center in North Carolina. podcast topics include:

I. Descriptions of effective music therapy interventions in four medical settings: pediatric procedural support, cancer center, adult intensive care unit, and palliative care.

II. Details about successful strategies for creating music therapy programs in hospitals: (1) network, (2) sell the concept to administrators, staff, and customers, (3) scout out creative funding options, and (4) take systematic steps to sustain the program.

Keys to Effective Group Facilitation for Adults

Mary Morreale, a board-certified music therapist shares some basic principles of facilitating groups of adults that have proven successful in her practice over the years. The audio discussion of this AMTA-Pro podcast covers these topics:

I. Know your leadership style and skills.
II. Know your group.
III. Know your material.
IV. Know your plan.
V. An example from the field.

Special Edition: Job Solutions

AMTA at Your Service - On the behalf of AMTA, Executive Director Andi Farbman welcomes AMTA members to the Special Edition of AMTA-Pro podcast
 series. The purpose of the Job Solutions podcast 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.

Real Life Examples of Meeting Challenges Head-On - Almost twenty years ago, Amber Weldon-Stephens established a successful music therapy program in a large school-district with ten music therapists on staff and a long-standing music therapy internship. Suddenly, that program faces significant cuts in staff and services. And Amber’s interns find themselves looking at an uncertain future. Amber takes just 8 minutes to describe some specific steps she is taking to meet these challenges head-on rather than buckling under the cuts.

Moving Forward in Good Times and Bad - In this 13-minute conversation, Cathy Knoll shares six specific strategies for a successful career, no matter the circumstances. The recommended pro-active steps emerged from Cathy’s bumpy 40-year journey as a music therapist.

Unemployment Lessons: VOLUNTEER - In this 3-minute conversation, Tom Dolan, Associate Director of Texas Tech University at Abilene shares unemployment lesson of volunteering.

MT-BC Speak-UP #1 - Several dozen music therapists sent e-mail messages to in response to a call in the AMTA eNews for input about the impact of the economy on their jobs. Let’s check in to see what some of our colleagues around the country have to say.

Unemployment Lessons: TARGETED NETWORKING - Tom Dolan, Associate Director of Texas Tech University at Abilene, takes 4 minutes to share valuable tips for targeted networking. Don’t just add names to your network. Know the decision-makers and get on their radar.

MT-BC Speak-UP #2 - Listen and learn from your fellow music therapists from around the country – some just finishing internship and others with many years of experience - who sent career status reports to

Stimulating Your Own Economy - In this 9-minute conversation, Kathleen Coleman shares nine specific strategies for jump starting your own economy. These ideas were developed from her journey as a music therapist for the past 28 years.

From the AMTA Thrive Guide - In this segment of the Job Solutions special edition podcast, music therapist Barb Else shares some excerpts and thoughts from the AMTA Thrive Guide.

AMTA StudentSpeak - Cara McBurney, Krysta Davis, Klayci Peck, Lydia Pratt, and Paul Todd, music therapy students at West Texas A&M University, chat informally about the future of music therapy as a career.

Unemployment Lessons:  SUDDEN JOB LOSS - What do you do if you suddenly lose your job? Tom Dolan, associate director of Texas Tech University at Abilene, shares five steps to take immediately upon receiving your pink slip.

Resources for Music Therapists - Check out some free career-related materials for professionals, interns, and students -valuable resources proven to impact careers of music therapists and related professionals over the past decades. ALSO – a chance win a free professional study course.

Music Therapy Reimbursement

AMTA’s Director of Government Relations provides helpful information about the primary sources of healthcare reimbursement and about how these sources might be used to pay for music therapy, as well as a step-by-step guide to obtaining reimbursement.

Circle Time in Early Childhood: Managing Behaviors in Music Therapy Groups

An experienced music therapist examines the challenges of managing behavior in circle time groups of young children, and outlines six tried-and-true strategies for minimizing disruptive behaviors while maximizing the benefits of group therapy.