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AMTA Executive Director Announces Retirement

January 19, 2018 01:46 PM

AMTA Executive Director, Andrea Farbman, Ed.D., Announces Retirement after 30 Years of Leadership

farbmanB5C4042-EditAfter three decades serving the American Music Therapy Association, Inc., Executive Director Andrea Farbman announces her retirement, effective December 31, 2018. The Board of Directors has a succession plan and budget in place, and will be convening a search committee. An Executive Search firm will be hired to assist the Board and search committee with the development of a timeline and process to secure a new Executive Director in a timely manner.

Dr. Farbman’s outstanding career serving the music therapy profession began in 1988, when she was hired as Director of Government and Public Relations for the National Association for Music Therapy (the predecessor of AMTA). Under her tenure, AMTA has distinguished itself as a leading advocate for music therapy throughout the world. She was at the helm and intricately involved in all of our major accomplishments over the past three decades including:

  • orchestrating the U.S. Senate Hearing on Music Therapy and Older Adults (1991);
  • overseeing the unification of AAMT and NAMT and the formation of AMTA (1998);
  • hosting the World Congress of Music Therapy (1999);
  • securing funding and managing the “Music Therapy & Medicine: Partnerships in Care” documentary (1999), the “Music Therapy & Medicine—A National Satellite Broadcast” (1999), and the NYC 9/11 Music Therapy Relief Project (2001-2003);
  • establishing many partnerships, including with the music products industry;
  • managing AMTA’s current library of publications and resources;
  • supervising the $400,000 Wilson Trust Initiative (2010);
  • administering upgrades to the AMTA website and database;
  • securing an historic partnership with Oxford University Press to publish AMTA’s journals (2014);
  • overseeing AMTA’s historic research symposium, “Music Therapy Research 2025” (2015);
  • identifying distinguished music therapy researchers for the NIH Workshop “Music and the Brain: Research Across the Lifespan” sponsored by Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health and renowned soprano, Renée Fleming, artistic ambassador for the Kennedy Center (2017); and,
  • assisting in the recent momentous public education initiative: “Breakthroughs with Music Therapy:  Recovery, Resilience & Quality of Life” part of the “Sound Health: Music and the Mind” lecture series, which resulted from the partnership between the National Institutes of Health and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2017).

Under Dr. Farbman’s guidance, AMTA is in excellent shape, reaching an historic peak for total members in 2017. 

Past President Amy Furman notes,

“Dr. Farbman has increased the staff and capacity of the National Office to meet the diverse needs of the membership. Her leadership has been essential in the development of partnerships with allied associations, businesses, policy makers, and spokespersons that all lead to increased access to music therapy services.” According to President Elect, Deb Benkovitz Williams, “Andi is the heart and soul of AMTA, demonstrating deep commitment, knowledge, professionalism and sensitivity.”

Dr. Farbman came to music therapy with an established record, having served as the Director of Congressional and Public Affairs for the National Council on Disability during the introduction of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Her federal government service was complemented by a national and international academic record, including chairing a graduate program at the George Washington University and teaching the first course in disability issues as part of a leisure studies curriculum at Leeds Metropolitan University in England.  She served as consultant to the U. S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, developing the foundation for the creation of accessibility standards for recreation and arts facilities. She has authored and edited numerous articles, publications, and multi-media productions.

In her letter to the Board of Directors in which she announced her retirement, Dr. Farbman remarked,

“As I begin my 30th year, I am filled with nostalgia and pride about what we have accomplished together. It has been my honor to work with the most amazing association staff and consultants… it has also been my privilege to serve 15 Presidents, 15 Boards of Directors, 15 Assemblies of Delegates, and countless members, as we worked relentlessly toward fulfilling our mission! Thank you for giving me many opportunities to grow and develop as a leader; thank you to the countless association leaders and members whose passion, dedication, and competence shine brightly; thank you for seeing my strengths, for supporting me through thick and thin, and for placing your trust in me; and thank you for the many wonderful years of memories.”

Immediate Past President Jennifer Geiger said,

“I am proud of the contributions Dr. Farbman has made to the music therapy profession, and am grateful for the consistent assistance and support she has provided to those of us in leadership.”

Dr. Farbman’s accomplishments and contributions during her tenure with AMTA will provide lasting support for the mission of the organization. We appreciate her unique contributions and dedicated service throughout the past thirty years. The American Music Therapy Association is the single largest music therapy association in the world, representing music therapists in the United States and in over 30 countries around the globe. Its mission is to advance public knowledge of the benefits of music therapy and to increase access to quality music therapy services in a rapidly changing world.

For further information, email the President of the American Music Therapy Association, Amber Weldon Stephens, at, and visit the AMTA website: