21st Century ED & CT Commission

The Commission on the Education and Clinical Training of 21st Century Music Therapists (The Commission)

A Word from your Commission

As we begin our third year of service on the Commission, we are grateful for the continued participation of the music therapy community through submissions of our Google form, attendance at our presentations, discussions at regional and national conferences, and direct messages and correspondence. Your generosity in sharing your time, energy, publications, and passion about the future of the profession is exciting. We are listening. The knowledge, insight, and wisdom that we, as music therapists, hold collectively will inform and guide our recommendations moving forward. 

As a Commission, we bring many different experiences, ideas, and strengths to this work, and our shared experience thus far has been at times inspiring, overwhelming, honest, uncomfortable, and invigorating. We don't always agree and still regularly find consensus and understanding. The profound respect we hold for each other, and our overriding goal of serving the clients, helps to keep our deliberations focused on the future. We felt it was important at this time to offer this collaborative statement to honor both our unity of spirit and our diversity of identity and experience. 

Listed below are the 12 members (11 voting members, 1 ex-officio) of the Commission, the ad hoc members, and the AMTAS liaison as well as their contact information. If you have questions or comments for the Commission, feel free to contact any member or the full group. You may also click on the hyperlinks on each name to learn more about individual members of the Commission.

Members of the Commission

Please Share Your Thoughts, Suggestions, and Visions for the Future of Music Therapy

We have created a Google form to provide the opportunity for you to share your thoughts, suggestions, and visions for the future of music therapy with the Commission, anonymously if you prefer. You may return to this form as often as you like to contribute additional ideas. The Google form has been updated with questions based on the emerging themes from your feedback and will be open until July 1, 2021. You can access the form here: https://forms.gle/EWAy6oRh1eiAB9tZ7

History and Formation

Following the submission of the Final Report of the Master’s Level Entry (MLE) Subcommittee to the membership and the AMTA Board of Directors (BOD) in 2018, the BOD “cited inconclusive direction and fiduciary concern as the primary reasons to not support the Subcommittee recommendation of moving to a master’s level entry by 2030” (see complete 7/12/18 MLE Press Release here:  https://www.musictherapy.org/masters_level_entry_press_release/).

However, the BOD overwhelmingly supported further exploration of current and future education and clinical training of music therapists, resulting in the following motion:

Whereas, there is lack of consensus (e.g., among Master’s Level Entry Subcommittee Members and the membership) for a move to Master’s Level Entry;

  • Whereas, the evidence is inconclusive (e.g., Master’s Level Entry Subcommittee Final Report, two Master’s Level Entry surveys, feedback and analyses from Regional Town Hall/Concurrent Session Meetings, and Master’s Level Entry and State Recognition document) to support a move to Master’s Level Entry;
  • Whereas, the Board has considered its fiduciary responsibilities and financial risk tolerance for the organization’s sustainability regarding a move to Master’s Level Entry;
  • Whereas, the overall path (e.g., academic preparation, clinical training, and administrative support) is not sufficiently articulated for a move to Master’s Level Entry; and
  • Whereas, the Master’s Level Entry Subcommittee has identified academic, clinical, and administrative recommendations;

The Board of Directors moves to create a Commission on the Education and Clinical Training of 21st  Century Music Therapists to:

  • identify inconsistencies within degree programs to support clinical practice in a changing world;
  • identify inconsistencies among and between National Roster and University Affiliated Internship programs;
  • recommend changes to enhance current education and clinical training practices;
  • support the ongoing efforts to increase state recognition of the MT-BC credential;
  • and support efforts to encourage diversity and inclusion in the profession.

President Amber Weldon-Stephens appointed a Task Force from the AMTA Board of Directors for the purpose of establishing a 21st Century Music Therapists Commission in the fall of 2018. This Task Force sought and appointed 5 voting members to the Commission, with the remaining 6 voting positions being nominated and elected by the Assembly of Delegates. For additional details on this process, please see the 10/17/18 Press Release here: https://www.musictherapy.org/nominations_sought_new_commission_for_education_and_training_of_21st_century_music_therapists/

On January 1, 2019, the Commission on the Education and Clinical Training of 21st Century Music Therapists officially began its work.

Commission Activities

2020 National Conference

On November 22, 2020, members of the Commission presented at the AMTA online national conference. They reviewed the history of the Commission and the themes that emerged from the feedback received on the two key questions and shared emerging themes related to the Commission’s five charges listed above. You can watch or listen to the Commission’s presentation below and access the transcript here and a .pdf document of the slides here. You can also access a one page summary of emerging themes here. Please email Jennifer Hicks, one of the Commission co-chairs, at jhicks@joyfulnoisesllc.com if you need a more accessible format for any of these documents.

2020 Regional Conferences

During the spring and summer of 2020, members of the Commission presented at all seven regional conferences, either in person or online. They shared some of the history of the Commission as well as the themes that emerged from the feedback received on the two key questions:

  1. How do YOU envision music therapy evolving in the 21st century?
  2. What do you want this Commission to know?

You can watch the Commission’s presentation (with closed captioning) below and access the transcript here.


January – June 2020

The Commission meets at least monthly via videoconference (often more frequently), communicates almost daily via Slack, and conducts extensive work online. Highlights in the first half of 2020 include:

  • Created a Commission Student Liaison position. In consultation with the AMTAS Board, it was determined that the President of AMTAS will fulfill these duties each year. For 2020, we welcomed AMTAS President Fiona Riso to this position.
  • Continued to promote our Google form seeking feedback on our 2 big questions and 5 charges. We continue to direct people to this form during meetings and presentations, in correspondence, on regional websites, and on social media.
  • Met with Ken Aigen and Bryan Hunter on unification and lessons learned.
  • Completed extensive work by two data analysis sub-groups of the Commission to code data collected in response to our two big questions (how do YOU envision music therapy evolving in the 21st century; what do you want this Commission to know).
  • Included themes that emerged from the data coding as part of our regional conference presentation, in person for the GLR and SER conferences and online for the MWR, WR, MAR, and NER conferences. Final online presentation scheduled for SWR conference in July.
  • Held focus meetings with APAC, AIAC, CRTF, and DEI.
July – December 2019

The Commission meets at least monthly via videoconference and conducts extensive work online. Highlights since their retreat in July include:

Development of strategies to gather information from music therapy professionals and students to direct our work

  • Google form with corresponding QR code to direct individuals to that form
  • Direct email to the CBMT mailing list
  • Posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter platforms
  • Postings on state and regional newsletters and websites as appropriate
  • Presence at the 2019 AMTA national conference (see details below) and the upcoming 2020 AMTA regional conferences

2019 National Conference

  • The Commission held a 4-hour meeting at the conference.
  • We included an insert in the registration materials informing attendees of our charges and ways to be a part of our work.
  • We addressed attendees at a meeting of the Assembly of Delegates as well as at AMTA and AMTAS Business Meetings.
  • We sought out further information related to our charges through intentional attendance at various CMTE and concurrent sessions throughout the conference.
  • We had a booth near the AMTA Village in the Exhibit Hall where attendees were able to share their responses on our Google form and dialogue with members of the Commission regarding any other feedback or questions.  

Future Plans

  • Continuing to reach out to the MT community for input, including collaboration with AMTAS to create a Student Liaison position
  • Continuing to review guidance documents and relevant literature
  • Prioritizing lists of individuals and groups with whom we want to meet
  • Collecting, organizing, and analyzing responses from our Google form 
  • Creating a timeline and roadmap to guide our work moving forward
  • Preparing concurrent session materials for all 2020 regional conferences
Commission Retreat - July 2019

The Commission held a retreat from July 21-24, 2019 in Dallas, TX, on the campus of Southern Methodist University. This first in-person meeting of the Commission included intensive review and consideration of the Charge to the Commission, development of various communication platforms for the community, and creation of our next steps in gathering information.

The Commission will also be meeting on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, from 8:00 am - 12:00 noon at the annual AMTA conference in Minneapolis, MN.

January – June 2019

The Commission has met regularly via video conference since the start of the year. To date, Commission members have:

  • organized the form and functions of the Commission (such as electing Co-Chairs, creating an organizational system in Drive, establishing Commission subcommittees for education and clinical training)
  • held focused discussions on topics of identity, education, clinical training, and musicianship
  • contributed to a variety of ‘reflections’ documents, including one for each of the five points in our Charge and one for each of the three points defining the 21st century music therapist (taken from the MLE Subcommittee Final Report, Part 1)
  • reviewed related historical documents as well as current AMTA and CBMT guidance documents

History and Background