Current Research Initiatives

Improving Access & Quality: Music Therapy Research 2025

- Event Announcement: April 2015

Thursday, July 16, 2015, 7:00 pm - Saturday, July 18, 2015, 12:00 pm

Conference Center at the Maritime Institute
692 Maritime Blvd.
Linthicum Heights, MD , 21090

MTR2025logoAMTA is hosting, “IMPROVING ACCESS AND QUALITY: MUSIC THERAPY RESEARCH 2025” (MTR 2025) scheduled July 16-18, 2015. This is a working symposium sponsored by AMTA to recommend guidance for future research in music therapy. Interested music therapy professionals are invited to attend this meeting as general attendees and observers on a first-come, first served basis until meeting room capacity is reached. Registration will open May 4, 2015 at 11am ET. 

For more information, click the link in the title above.


Music Therapy Highlights: NIH-Sponsored Third National Summit on Military & Arts

- March 4, 2015

militarysummit2JokeDr. Joke Bradt, Associate Professor, music therapist, and research scholar, at Drexel University, presented the opening plenary speech for the “Third National Summit: Advancing Research in the Arts for Health and Well-being across the Military Continuum” held on February 27, 2015, featuring her NIH-sponsored research on chronic pain and vocal music therapy. The summit was hosted by Americans for the Arts, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health/National Institutes of Health (formally NCCAM)/NIH), and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

AMTA proudly headed a delegation of more than 25 music therapy professionals, representing AMTA’s two scholarly journals; NIH-funded music therapy researchers; music therapists’ research and practice at Veterans Health Administration facilities; and music therapists in private practice, in hospitals, in the community, at military health facilities, and at academic centers nationwide. AMTA provided outreach information at the meeting and distributed copies of the AMTA white paper on military and music therapy (

militarysummit3Dr. Bradt did an outstanding job of explaining her research, as well as differentiating the role of the MT-BC from that of artists in healthcare. In addition to Dr. Bradt’s plenary talk, music therapist Rebecca Vaudreuil, who is on a temporary assignment at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) and at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) in Bethesda, MD, provided an informative small group presentation on the role of songwriting and music therapy, “Creative Arts Therapies in Interdisciplinary Care at NICoE Facilities.”  Rebecca is serving as visiting music therapist during the maternity leave of music therapist Julie Garrison, who founded the music therapy program at NICoE and WRNMMC.

militarysummit1Numerous speakers at the Summit noted how the arts and music have always been a part of military culture in a variety of ways. What distinguished this NIH Summit is the recognition that music therapists and other creative arts therapists have been conducting important research relevant to the interests of military populations and health providers at VA and military health facilities. The arts and creative arts therapies were characterized by Captain Moira McGuire, at Walter Reed as a “must have” rather than a “nice to have.”

AMTA staff and members successfully advocated for the unique value of board certified music therapists to numerous NIH, NEA, NEH, and VA officials as well as to other administrators and gatekeepers.

A report and recommendations based on the Summit is expected to follow in the coming months.

Information online regarding the Americans for the Arts and the “National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military” can be found at



Improving Quality and Access: Music Therapy Research 2025 (MTR 2025)

Embarking on a Journey
Improving Quality and Access: Music Therapy Research 2025 (MTR 2025)

- Originally published in Music Therapy Matters, September 2014

2025Research3On the evening of September 5, 2014 a small team of music therapists and AMTA staff convened a day and a half meeting to discuss and propose plans for garnering input from music therapy professionals on future directions and opportunities in music therapy research.

Thanks to funding by Tom and Lucy Ott and David’s Fund, AMTA has the extraordinary opportunity to focus over the next year on guidance for future generations of scholarship in music therapy.  Once funding was awarded, an Advisory Team was appointed by the Board of AMTA.  Serving on the team are Annette Whitehead-Pleaux (Speaker of Assembly), Judy Simpson (Director, Government Relations), with Drs. Debra Burns (Chair, Research Committee), Sheri Robb (Editor in Chief, JMT), Tony Meadows (Editor in Chief, MTP), Alicia Clair (AMTA Board Representative), Andi Farbman (Executive Director), and Linda Demlo (Retired, USPHS/CDC and AHRQ). Dr. Joke Bradt, was unable to attend the meeting due to previous international travel plans, but she offered input in advance. Barbara Else serves as Project Coordinator in her role as a consultant and Senior Advisor/Special Projects Coordinator.

2025Research1The initiative, part of the Strategic Priority on Research, is visionary in nature with the ultimate goal being to advance the state of the music therapy research.  The Advisory Team named the initiative, Improving Quality and Access: Music Therapy Research 2025. Similar to the federal government’s Healthy People 2020 program aimed at improving the health of Americans, MT Research 2025 aims to take a forward looking perspective to offer guidance on the many important areas of music therapy research and to prepare documents and products for a variety of audiences, both internal and external to the profession. An array of activities and input/communication mechanisms will be rolled out over the next eight months seeking the input of music therapists, including a research meeting tentatively planned for July, 2015.  The product of these activities will be documents and reference tools, summarizing the input and guidance from the music therapy professional community at all levels. 

2025Research2Please stay tuned for the official press release and announcement launching Improving Quality and Access: Music Therapy Research 2025. And, most importantly, do participate in upcoming requests for input when announced, attend the session at annual conference on the initiative, and know that you can play a part in guiding future generations of music therapy scholars and investigations. 

Albert Einstein was quoted as saying that he believed intuition, inspiration, and imagination are key factors in pursuing scientific research. Our pre-planning meeting was productive and very inspiring, due to the imagination and dedication of team.  


Improving Quality and Access: Music Therapy Research 2025
MTR 2025 Launches at the AMTA Annual Conference

- Originally published in Music Therapy Matters, December 2014

Improving Quality and Access: Music Therapy Research 2025, or simply “MTR 2025,” is an AMTA initiative, which is part of the Strategic Priority on Research. MTR 2025 is visionary in nature with the ultimate goal being to advance the state of music therapy research. MTR 2025 aims to take a forward looking perspective to offer guidance on the many important areas of music therapy research and to prepare documents and products for a variety of audiences, both internal and external to the profession.  External audiences include policy makers and funders. Offering stakeholders a concise document with recommendations on future research in music therapy based on the input and review of highly qualified music therapy professionals and researchers will be an historic and significant contribution.  

As reported in the September 2014 newsletter, the advisory team met in the summer of 2014 to outline the initiative.  During the November Annual Conference, AMTA Senior consultant, Barbara Else, invited conference attendees to be involved: “You are a part of this initiative and you need to offer your ideas and input regarding future research and questions important to music therapy practice and the profession. Music therapy professionals are encouraged to consider what we know—based upon the best available research evidence; and, consider what we don’t know—based upon your important open questions, gaps in knowledge, and unmet research needs. In thinking about your practice area and these needs, what would you recommend to guide the next several generations of researchers? In 2025, and beyond, what burning questions and research areas need to be addressed? What research infrastructure is needed to support these important questions?”

Over the next year, AMTA will be gathering input from music therapy professionals, researchers, and interested stakeholders regarding opportunities and needs for future research in music therapy. On the evening of July 16 through the morning of July 18, a face-to-face meeting to discuss future research opportunities and needs is planned and will take place near the Baltimore-Washington International airport. This research meeting is funded through a grant from Tom and Lucy Ott and “David’s Fund.” AMTA is extremely grateful for this grant and the opportunity to move the discussion forward. We are exploring efficient and convenient ways to disseminate the July 2015 meeting discussions to the members knowing that the face-to-face meeting will be limited in space and capacity.

What happened during the Louisville Conference?

MTR 2025 was announced through a series of briefings at the AMTA Annual Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. During the annual meeting, briefings on MTR 2025 were provided to the following groups:

  • AMTA Board of Directors: General update and briefing provided. 
  • Regional Presidents and Presidents-Elect meeting: Each region will be nominating one key participant and two alternates for the July 2015 face-to-face research meeting. The alternates will be back-up in the event the nominee is unavailable. 
  • AMTA Assembly of Delegates: Assembly delegates were updated on the initiative. There was a focus on participation, noting input into MTR 2025 is encouraged via multiple channels, including a dedicated email address and the July, 2015 face-to-face meeting. 
  • General conference session: This was a well-attended general session held on Friday evening of the conference. The session, facilitated by Barb Else, provided an introduction to the initiative with audience discussion and comments. Following the general session, AMTA President Amy Furman noted, “if this group is indicative of the enthusiasm and appetite for guidance and resources for future research in music therapy, then the future is bright!”
Any take-aways from these briefings? 

Music therapists were clear in stating a desire to embrace research that considers all music therapy approaches and practice perspectives. Research questions should also consider and embrace all appropriate methods. During the general session, practicing clinicians expressed a strong desire to grow their skills in reviewing published research in order to translate findings/evidence into practice.  Clinicians also expressed a desire to contribute to research projects and collaborate with investigators.

What is the timeline and what's next?
  • Regional Presidents will be receiving a memo in January to solicit nominations for qualified participants at the July 2015 meeting.
  • A small number of issue briefs summarizing a series of key research subtopics will be commissioned in advance of the July 2015 meeting to help stimulate discussion.  
  • AMTA’s website pages on research will be updated on the initiative.
How can I share my thoughts and ideas on future research in music therapy? 

We welcome dialogue and discussions. In order to track your input and ideas, AMTA has set up an email address.  We want to hear your thoughts and we will be soliciting input across a couple of phases. We begin with an open-ended call for comment and input from music therapists regarding your thoughts on future research guidance in music therapy.  This comment period begins now and ends February 1, 2015. When sending your input, please let us know:

  • Your name 
  • Indicate your preferred contact method and contact information (in case we need to seek clarification of your input)
  • Identify your professional practice area(s) and/or practice setting(s) 
  • Indicate your primary professional role(s) – e.g., intern supervisor, private practice, educator, staff music therapist, etc. 
  • Provide your comment, suggestion for future research, and/or input. Concise comments are appreciated and not to exceed a couple of paragraphs.
  • Send via email to:   Emails go to AMTA and are logged on an input tracking spreadsheet. All input will be shared with the Advisory Team and summarized as a whole in advance of the July 2015 meeting.