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Fast Facts 

  • The Board of Directors is responsible for the overall management of the Association. The Board transacts general business, determines long range goals and objectives, prepares the annual budget, and oversees the expenditure of funds. (Please see Article VI. Board of Directors. Section 1 of the AMTA Bylaws.)
  • The Board of Directors consists of nine voting members: President, President Elect, Immediate Past President, Vice President, Vice President Elect, and four (4) delegates elected by and from the Assembly of Delegates.  The Secretary/Treasurer, Council Coordinators, Historian, Regional President Representative, and Executive Director are ex officio members without the right to vote. (Please refer to the AMTA Bylaws, Article IV. Officers.)
  • Business is conducted typically via two face-to-face meetings each year, conference calls and emails.
  • Board of Directors meetings, other than when in executive session, are open to any/all members of the AMTA.  Please know that you are always welcome to attend.
  • The Presiding Officer of the Board of Directors is AMTA President Deborah Benkovitz Williams.

Current Business

On behalf of the AMTA Board of Directors, we want thank everyone for their service to the Association whether serving on the Assembly or Board, being a Regional President, Chairing a Committee, serving as a Committee member or managing to combine several of these leadership roles. Your investment in the future of the profession is invaluable and your contribution of time and energy is greatly appreciated.

November, 19-24, 2019 - American Music Therapy Association Board of Directors' Meetings

Board of Directors Board Book, 2019 Annual Meeting


Deborah Benkovitz Williams, President Elect

Bylaws Revisions to the following articles in the AMTA Bylaws were voted on and passed.

Article XI.  Nominations and Elections

Section 2.  Ballots are mailed or sent electronically to the professional members of the Association, to be returned by the date indicated on the ballot, which will be 10 days from the date the ballot is sent. Ballots contain space for write-in candidates for each elected office.

Article XVIII.   Fiscal Year

Section 1.   The fiscal year of the Association begins on January 1 and ends on December 31.

Education and Training Advisory Board

The ETAB is writing a white paper about music therapy, recognizing the growing external threats to our practice, and the need to take action immediately.  The paper is targeted for completion in the spring of 2020.  

Judicial Review Board

The JRB is working on a plan to educate the membership about the necessity and value of the Judicial Review Board.

Ethics Board

The Ethics Board brought procedures for Appeals process to the Assembly for approval and, with revisions, they passed.


The SAAB and AMTAS have been busy this summer sharing student scholarship, educational, and fundraiser opportunities through social media. This has led to active dialogue from current AMTA members and non-members. Information from these discussions will help the SAAB reevaluate action items for the upcoming year.

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

The 21st Century Commission is working efficiently and getting feedback. People are already using their questionnaire, answering questions, and commenting.   Next step is to delve into charges and establish goals and deadlines.   Everyone is very sensitive to avoid doubling or tripling any work, or re-inventing the wheel, and the Commission has expressed the willingness and desire to work collaboratively with ETAB, APAC, Strategic Planning and the Board    A document is being organized that will identify the role of each Commission member.

Ed Kahler, Treasurer/Secretary

  • The FY 19 deficit was $234,898.  Treasurer Kahler discussed that there were several expected and unexpected expenses that contributed to this deficit including (but not limited to) transition costs, pay out of previous Executive Directors, decrease in 2018 conference net assets, bad debt, and increase in accountant and legal costs.  AMTA is still healthy and strong. In fact, AMTA handled the deficit with the current operating expenses and did not have to take money from reserves.  
  • AMTA received a clean audit.
  • AMTA is moving forward with conversion to QuickBooks.
  • The bylaw change moves the fiscal year to January – December to match the membership year.
  • Budget for FY 20, approved at the mid-year meeting, includes an estimated income of $1,888,500, estimated expenses of $1,930,400 and a projected ($41,900) deficit.  This budget will be monitored and adjusted as needed and a new budget will be created with the transition to the new fiscal year. 
  • Three newest publications are doing well in sales:  Music Therapy: An Introduction to the Profession - Editors Andrew Knight, Blythe LaGasse & Alicia Clair; A Guide to Designing Research Questions for Beginning Music Therapy Researchers - Authors Katrina McFerran and Michael Silverman; and Music In Special Education, 3rd Edition - Authors Mary Adamek and Alice-Ann Darrow. 
  • Future publications are being considered.
  • There was no dues increase recommended by the Board of Directors for 2021.  Note that dues have not been increased since 2015. 
  • For further details, please see the extensive Treasurer’s report in the AMTA 2019 Annual Board Book.

Andrea Dalton, Regional Presidents' Representative

  • Regions are considering how best to align their fiscal year with the membership year.
  • Regions are prioritizing discussions on safe spaces at regional conferences.
  • Disaster Response Task Force representatives reached out to do welfare checks on close to 100 events over the past year.

Eric Waldon, Council Coordinator, Council on Education and Clinical Training

Academic Program Approval Committee (APAC): Rebecca Engen and Mike Zanders, co-chairs

  • APAC continues its work of recommending the approval of new academic programs and reapproving existing academic programs. 
  • Since November 2018, 7 new academic programs (6 undergraduate and 1 online graduate program) have been approved.
  • New applications are in review.
  • Additions/revisions to the Standards for Education and Clinical Training were approved by the Assembly of Delegates and will have be shared in the new year.

Statement of Clarification Regarding Membership Status for Academic Faculty and Practicum/Fieldwork/Internship Supervisors

Students are, in many ways, as vulnerable as some of the clients with whom we work.  There is an obvious power differential between learners and mentors wherein faculty and supervisors exert tremendous influence over those they are charged with teaching and training.  Given the inherent asymmetry of these relationships our Code of Ethics includes provisions which guide faculty and supervisors who work with students and interns.  Our Code of Ethics, however, is only enforceable among those who are AMTA members.

As a response to this, and in an effort to better protect music therapy students and interns from exploitation, harassment, and other harm, the Board of Directors began discussing the feasibility of requiring AMTA membership for all approved academic program faculty and all clinical supervisors.  The Board also engaged APAC in these conversations and a number of ideas and issues were discussed.

After further review it was determined that AMTA could not compel a faculty member, practicum/fieldwork supervisor, or University-Affiliated internship supervisor to become a member, suggesting this would violate anti-trust law.  (NOTE: The AMTA membership requirement for National Roster Internship Directors is not in dispute.)  As such, the Board is committed to finding ways (including working with our committees) to safeguard students and interns which ultimately impacts the clients with whom they work.

Association Internship Approval Committee (AIAC): Eve Montague and Lauren DiMaio, co-chairs

  • The work of AIAC is ongoing and involves: reviewing applications for new National Roster Internship sites; providing continuing education opportunities for internship directors and supervisors; and reviewing the National Roster Internship Guidelines and make recommendations for revisions.
  • Since November 2018 AIAC has approved over 10 new National Roster internship sites.

Continuing Education Committee (CEC): Julie Andring and Jean Nemeth, co-chairs

  • The CEC continues working to: ensure that continuing education courses adhere to the guidelines established by the Certification Board for Music Therapists; and promote the value of Board Certification by providing opportunities that meet the educational needs of AMTA members.
  • A new member benefit 2020 will be continuing music therapy education credits included with membership.

Natalie Generally Kirk, Council Coordinator, Council on Professional Practice

Government Relations Committee, co-chairs Judy Simpson and Rebecca Preddie

  • Committee members have participated in or supported advocacy training sessions and events, Hill Days, or legislative and agency committee presentations/testimony/meetings in the following states during 2019: California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
  • States that have had active music therapy specific legislation (i.e., License, Title Protection, Program Inclusion) in 2019 include: California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
  • State recognition legislation carry-over will continue throughout the nation making sure each state has the support needed at varying stages in their task force phases.
  • Title protection in California signed into law on July 31, 2019. Practitioners must hold the MT-BC credential.
  • Inclusion in Alternative Treatment Options for Veterans Statute in Florida, Title XX, Chapter 295.156.
  • Hill Day planning underway in multiple states for 2020
  • Advocacy trainings and events being proposed for GLR, MAR, MW, NER, and WR 2020 regional conferences

The Reimbursement Committee, co-chairs Judy Simpson and Rebecca Preddie

  • New online member reimbursement resources were created. Topics are designed to assist members to understand important details regarding the reimbursement process. Recent additions include:
    • HIPPA compliance update for providers
    • CPT® Codes 2019
    • CPT® Code Modifiers
    • Incident-to Billing
    • National Provider Identifier

Standards of Clinical Practice Committee, chair Ellery Draper

  • Developed a spreadsheet detailing the document structure of related fields (physical therapy, social work, counseling, speech language pathology, occupational therapy, art therapy, drama therapy, dance therapy, and international music therapy). Documents reviewed include, Code of Ethics, Scope of Practice, Standards of Clinical Practice.

Research Committee, chair Cindy Colwell

  • Presented Research CMTE for 2019 AMTA National Conference: Case Study Research Design
  • Presented four Research Concurrent Sessions, Research Committee Presents:
  • Presented 40 research posters at the AMTA 2019 Research Poster Session
  • Presented four oral research sessions at the AMTA 2019 Research Poster Session

The Technology Committee, chair Grace O’Leary

  • Identified technology needs of the AMTA membership
  • Identified ways the Technology Committee can serve the membership
  • Will adding a co-chair in the new term
  • Moving forward will look at technology through an educational lens and resource lens

Michele Forinash, Council Coordinator, Council on Association Services

Clinical Practice Networking Committee, Claire Ghetti, Chair

  • Monitored regional and state-based networking and mentoring activities, in order to identify best practices
  • Began planning networking events at next year’s regional conferences
  • Regional representatives promoted the national and regional CPN luncheons using social media.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, Melita Belgrave, Chair

  • The committee has recommended regional and national vice presidents ensure that 15% of conference concurrent sessions and 10% of CMTE presentations focus on culture and/or diversity.
  • The committee is developing materials for an electronic resource database
  • Submitted a draft of a multicultural textbook to Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Membership Committee, Angie Elkins & Jennifer Hicks, Co-Chairs

  • Membership Monday Check In Challenge – Over 60 AMTA/AMTAS member (and their favorite #memberbenefits) were featured in 2019.
  • A comprehensive list of membership support options can be found on the AMTA website (
  • Membership drives and calling campaigns focused on “checking in” with non-members to see how we as an organization can support them.
  • Continued use of #WeAreAMTA hashtag on social media.

Professional Advocacy Committee, Emily Bevelaqua & Leslie Henry Co-Chairs

  • The committee is reaching out to all music therapists, in addition to AMTA members, to support them when dealing with issues of misrepresentation and educate them on the differences between music therapy and other uses of music.
  • Education the community about the evaluation of representations of music therapy in the public and various forms of media.
  • Informational videos created at the 2018 National Conference were published on the AMTA website and also shared on social media receiving a positive response.
  • Assist and monitor member’s responses to advocacy and misrepresentation issues.

Interprofessional Collaborative Resources Committee, Meganne Masko & Scott Horowitz, Co-Chairs

  • Revision of the AMTA fact sheets.  

International Relations Committee, Soo-Jin Kwoun & Melody Schwantes Co-Chairs

  • Looking short-term international service programs.
  • Recommended a reduced rate for national conference attendees who wish to come from countries with a GDP below $25,000 per person.
  • The next WFMT Conference on 2020 is being held in South Africa where the current GDP per capital is $6700, therefore the conference fees are at a more manageable cost.

Workforce Development and Retention Committee, Gretchen Benner, Chair

Angela Snell, Speaker of the Assembly of Delegates

The 2019 Assembly of Delegates were focused, engaged, and very productive in Minneapolis. After AMTA updates, the agenda allowed time for delegates to reflect and discuss closed sessions with Board leaders. Also, delegates provided valuable questions and suggestions for President-Elect Williams regarding proposed draft bylaws changes under consideration for presentation to the membership. Following are more highlights from the Assembly of Delegates’ meetings held Nov. 21-23 and the Assembly-Elect meeting Nov. 24, 2019:

  • Code of Ethics Additions: The Assembly approved the following updates to the Code of Ethics:
    • Removed the word “interim” form the title of the Code of Ethics
    • Effective Jan. 1, 2020 removed language related to the NMTR
    • Approved Appendix III of the Code of Ethics effective immediately
    • Approved the re-appointment of Janice Schriebman to the Ethics Board
  • Anti-Harassment Policy: The Assembly approved an Anti-Harassment Policy presented by the Assembly Anti-Harassment Work Group, Chair Leah Oswanski, Cheryl Stephenson, Debbie Bates, Eve Montague, Jennie Turner, Rachelle Morgan, and Lillieth Grand. The Work Group will now collaborate to review the Conference Code of Conduct to determine whether updates are necessary.
  • Assembly Bylaws Task Force: The ABTF will share their work and findings with the Board to inform strategic planning.
  • Task Force on the 21st Century Commission: The Commission gave an update to the Assembly and encouraged delegates and members to access a task force created Google form for stakeholder responses to the following questions: 1. How do you envision MT evolving in the 21st century? And 2. What do you want the Commission to know?
  • Judicial Review Board: The Assembly approved Piper Laird and Karen Miller to four year terms (2020-2024) on the Judicial Review Board.
  • Education and Clinical Training: The Assembly approved updates to items in Section 3.2 of the Education and Clinical Training Standards.
  • Competency Bylaws Tasks Force: Task Force Chair Kamille Geist updated the Assembly on the work of this group. The Task Forces review identified gaps and misplacement of competencies. They are proposing a continuum framework aligning competencies with the Levels of Practice. The Assembly requested more information so they can provide feedback.
  • Assembly to Hold a Practice Online Meeting by the End of February 2020: The purpose of holding a practice meeting is so the Assembly can better determine if/when an online meeting is needed and what type of business can be conducted in this fashion if the need arises in the future. 
  • Assembly Request to the Board
    • The Assembly passed a motion requesting the Board to ask the Ethics Board to propose revisions to the Code of Ethics to include explicit/language addressing our shared commitment to dismantling structural oppression in all of its various forms, including respect for the safety of spaces established by members of our community who require it.
    • The Assembly passed motions to request the Board to further clarify processes and practices associated with protecting students, interns, and professionals.
  • Assembly Commends the Assembly Parliamentarian Linda Bosse: The Assembly unanimously commended Linda Bosse for her expertise and dedicated years of service.
  • Assembly-Elect
    • The Assembly-Elect elected the following for the 2020-2021 term of office:
    • Angie Snell, Speaker of the Assembly
    • Debbie Bates, Assistant Speaker of the Assembly
    • Eric Waldon, Assembly Representative
    • Gary Verhagen, Assembly Representative
    • Michael Silverman, 1st Assembly Representative Alternate
    • Brian Abrams, 2nd  Assembly Representative Alternate
    • Kevin Bock, 3rd Assembly Representative Alternate
    • Nicole Hahna, 4th Assembly Representative Alternate
  • Other: The Board of Directors passed motions establishing the following deadlines: Assembly conference meeting dates/times to be established each year by February 15th and Board committees, work groups, and task forces will have report out deadlines of March 30th and September 10th of each year.


  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to approve the agenda as amended. Author, Deborah Williams.  The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to approve the AMTA Board of Directors’ Mid-Year meeting minutes (June 21-23, 2019). Author, Amber Weldon-Stephens. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to approve the minutes of the AMTA Board of Directors’ conference call, held on 10/29/19, as amended. Author, Amber Weldon-Stephens. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to recommend to the next Board of Directors that in an effort to facilitate leadership involvement in continuing education at national conference, the AMTA President, Chair of the Ethics Board and Chair of the Judicial Review Board, Speaker of the Assembly, Council Coordinators and Committee Chairs identify their meeting times for the 2020 national conference by February 15, 2020. Author, Wendy Woolsey. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to recommend that the next Board of Directors request that a joint technical advisory group be formed that includes three members appointed by AMTA and three members appointed by CBMT to review the joint music therapy Scope of Practice following the completion of the CBMT Practice Analysis and that this group brings recommended changes to the Board by the 2020 Mid-Year Board of Directors’ meeting. Author, Wendy Woolsey. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to reconsider the motion passed at the 2019 Mid-Year meeting to continue to access reserve funds for expenses incurred by the executive search not to exceed $10,000. Author, Jennifer Geiger. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to withdraw the passed motion at the 2019 Mid-Year meeting to continue to access reserve funds for expenses incurred by the executive search not to exceed $10,000. Author, Jennifer Geiger. The motion passed

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to remove Goal 1, Task 5 from the Workforce Development and Retention Committee. Author, Michele Forinash. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to commend the Membership Work Group and thank them for their concluded work. Author, Jennifer Geiger. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to move into Executive Session. Author, Jennifer Geiger. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, that beginning in 2020 the Board of Directors incorporate report-out and action task deadlines of March 30th and September 10th for Association committees, work groups, and task forces to facilitate timely updates to the Board, Assembly of Delegates, and members. Author, Angie Snell. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to recommend that national and regional conferences set a goal of 15% or more of accepted concurrent sessions and 10% or more of accepted CMTE sessions containing information related to cultural and/or diversity training. Author, Michele Forinash. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to amend the previous motion and remove the word “Regional.” Author, Gary Verhagen. The motion was defeated.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to charge a work group composed of two members each from the Ethics Board, the DEI Committee, and the APAC Committee, to review the status of and to provide guidance and support to academic programs offering international service learning, reporting back by the Mid-Year 2020 Board of Directors’ meeting. Author, Michele Forinash. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, that the Board approve the 2019 Assembly of Delegates’ Agenda as presented by the Speaker. Author, Angie Snell. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to commend and thank Cathy and Dwight Knoll for their long-term dedication and commitment to sharing the stories of music therapy (via AMTA-Pro) and for pioneering AMTA E-courses. Author, Jennifer Geiger. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to endorse and approve the following nominees to the Editorial Board of the Journal of Music Therapy:  Libby Flynn, PhD, RMT (University of Queensland), Ulla Holck, PhD (Aalborg University), Meganne Masko, PhD, MT-BC (Indiana University-Purdue University), and Alaine E. Reschke-Hernandez, PhD, MT-BC (University of Kentucky). Author, Blythe LaGasse. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to move into Executive Session. Author, Eric Waldon. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, that having completed the initial charge of reviewing both the professional and advanced competencies, the Board charges the Competencies Review Task Force to update and revise the competencies to reflect the growth of knowledge base of the profession. Author, Jennifer Geiger. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to commend the AMTA Strategic Priority on Music Therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorder task force for their years of work and the results of their efforts, which conclude their work by the 2020 Mid-Year meeting. Author, Jennifer Geiger. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, that the incoming president appoint a Safe Spaces Technical Advisory Group to develop procedures for offering safe spaces within AMTA that includes a representative from each region that is appointed by the regions and chaired by a Board appointed member of the DEI committee and in consultation with a diversity specialist (neutral person) to help with the discussions. Author, Wendy Woolsey. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to amend motion 14 as follows with the addition of the text in red:  to charge a work group composed of two members each from the Ethics Board, the DEI Committee, and the APAC Committee, and to add two members from the International Relations Committee and an AMTA member who is also a member of WFMT to review the status of and to provide guidance and support to academic programs offering international service learning, reporting back by the Mid-Year 2020 Board of Directors’ meeting. Author, Michele Forinash. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to add $20,000 as an expense to the FY 2020 budget to cover the anticipated expense of the new E-course format. Author, Ed Kahler. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to move into Executive Session. Author, Jennifer Geiger. The motion passed.

  1. MOTION:  Resolve, to adjourn the Board of Directors’ meeting at 12:06 PM. Author, Amber Weldon-Stephens.  The motion passed.


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