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AMTA Lifetime Achievement Awarded to Ronna Kaplan

KaplanRCongratulations to Ronna S. Kaplan on being awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the AMTA Board of Directors!

 Ronna S. Kaplan, MA, MT-BC has a long, admirable music therapy career focused on children’s needs and service to AMTA.  An honors graduate of Michigan State (Bachelor of Music, Music Therapy & Choral Music Education) and Kent State Universities (Master of Arts, Special Education), she has dedicated her life to music therapy. She holds a Certificate of Nonprofit Management from Case Western Reserve University and maintains Music Therapy Board Certification. She also obtained Level I Orff Schulwerk Certification, a Neurologic Music Therapy designation, and completed DIRĘł/Floortime™ coursework. Ronna is truly a music therapist’s music therapist.  In 1988, Ronna began her clinical career at the renowned Cleveland Music Settlement where she developed programming and treatment plans for children and families as part of an interdisciplinary team. She also lent her expertise to supervising interns and practicum students while undertaking community and medical setting research. Never one to shrink away from a challenge, Ronna quickly assumed expanded responsibilities at the Settlement--as Senior Staff Supervisor, Quality Assurance Coordinator, Director of the Music Therapy Department, and ultimately Chair of the Center for Music Therapy where she remained until her retirement in 2019.   

Ronna’s volunteerism for music therapy is as phenomenal as her clinical work. Regional highlights include President of the Association of Ohio Music Therapists & Ohio Representative to the GLR board, Editor of “Voices of the Lakes,” GLR Assembly Delegate, and GLR Vice President. In addition, she served as scholarship chair for the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs. Nationally, Ronna established and co-chaired the Early Childhood Music Therapy Network in 1994 while continuing to serve on the Assembly. In 2004, she was elected AMTA Vice President Elect, and went on to become Vice President, President Elect, President and Past President on the Board of Directors. Ronna has also contributed to AMTA in a wide array of other capacities including the Financial Advisory Board, Wilson Trust Advisory Committee, Diversity Task Force, MLE Subcommittee, and the Autism Task Force, in addition to serving on the CBMT Continuing Education Committee. She has gone on to chair the National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations (NCCATA) and is presently an Associate Editor of Music Therapy Perspectives.

Ronna has received a number of professional awards that recognize, in smaller ways,  her contributions to the music therapy profession: GLR Service and Lifetime Achievement Awards and the AMTA Professional Practice Award. Yet, despite this extensive resume of accomplishments and service, what truly sets Ronna apart and worthy of a Lifetime Achievement Award is the person she is: always humble, ever available to whomever needs her assistance, all while possessing the utmost integrity. She continually supports those around her and, in doing so, allows them to shine. She doesn’t seek the limelight, but provides a steady guiding hand wherever she is involved. A highly competent clinician, educator, and administrator, her talents lend themselves well to furthering the music therapy profession. It is not surprising that many seek her opinion and heed her advice. As stated earlier, Ronna S. Kaplan is TRULY a music therapist’s music therapist and MOST deserving of the AMTA Lifetime Achievement Award.