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Music Therapy Matters Monthly – January 2019

Matters Masthead

January 2019
Building the Future of Music Therapy

Click the links below to read more or – if the settings on your personal device browser don't allow it - go to the AMTA website first, log in with your current member email address and password, and then click the link for this month's issue of Music Therapy Matters Monthly under "Latest News" on the home page or use this link: and select the issue you desire.

Presidential Perspectives

Weldon-StephensAmberHappy New Year! I hope everyone was able to enjoy time with family and friends over the holiday season. I’m excited about 2019 and what lies ahead for the American Music Therapy Association. I will continue this year to highlight different members of the Board of Directors as well as leadership within our organization. It is my distinct honor to begin the January Presidential Perspective highlighting our new Executive Director, Mr. Lee Grossman.

Lee Grossman

Grossman_LeeI am honored and humbled to be the new Executive Director of the American Music Therapy Association.  I want to thank the Board of Directors for entrusting AMTA and its future in our partnership.  It is with great admiration and gratitude that I thank Dr. Andi Farbman for her guidance and mentoring over the past few months.  Andi created a strong legacy and organization, and AMTA and the entire music therapy profession will always be grateful to her.  The AMTA staff has been very welcoming and I am inspired by their dedication, hard work and passion for music therapy and our members.

As someone whose family has been positively affected by music therapy, I can attest to its value and influence.  The breadth and depth of conditions that are treated through music therapy are impressive.  And the evidence that supports the practice and outcomes of music therapy is overwhelming and growing.  It is my hope that the experience I bring to this position will help increase the awareness and practice of music therapy.

My background includes being a business owner in the medical device industry, consulting with nonprofits, associations and medical technology companies, and leading various cause and health related organizations.  In all these endeavors, my primary influences have been personal experiences with family members with health conditions and disabilities who have benefited from music therapy, transforming me into an avid patient advocate.  To be an effective advocate, it is important to have research on which one can rely, the support of coalitions with diverse thinkers, and the steadfast resolve that drives good decisions and successful outcomes.

While in the position of President and CEO of the Autism Society of America (ASA), these attributes associated with being a patient advocate were constantly put to use.  At ASA, we represented the interests of the entire, extremely diverse autism community.  Occasionally, the ASA had to take a position known to be controversial and not popular with the entire ASA community.  The vaccine issue was one of our hottest issues. The ASA and I both supported the vaccine policies of the US government at a time when some of our community was critical of the policies.  In these difficult times, we continued to support our primary objectives of raising awareness and building acceptance of and for those with autism, emphasizing autism across the lifespan, expanding and improving services, increasing research and evidence to inform our interventions, and garnering the support needed to affect change. I am proud of how we created and maintained coalitions to advance our primary goals.

It is my hope that we can come together as a music therapy community to expand our influence as a profession, by increasing and improving communications. Music therapy deserves to be at the “top of the mind” when one considers the interventions available for conditions we treat.  We can accomplish this through continued research, expanded educational opportunities for those interested in pursuing music therapy as a career, and the pursuit of an agenda that ensures that music therapy is a vital and significant part of healthcare.

Over the next few months I plan to listen and learn from all of you by reading your articles and research, listening to your podcasts, familiarizing myself with your journals, working with many of you and attending regional conferences.  I look forward to working with you as we all thrive to make music therapy available to all who can benefit from it!

With best regards,


Music Therapy Social Media Advocacy Month 2019

Take 10 for Music Therapy Advocacy

SM-Advocacy-Badge-2012-e1325611932440Since 2005, the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) have collaborated on the State Recognition Operational Plan.

The purpose of this plan is to get music therapy and the MT-BC credential recognized by individual states so clients can more easily access music therapy services.

Achieving state recognition is only possible through ADVOCACY.

Every January, we kick the year off with the Music Therapy Social Media Advocacy Month. This year, music therapy students, interns, and professionals are invited to participate by completing one or more of the following:

1) Email your state legislators to introduce yourself and tell them about music therapy.
2) Follow your state legislators on social media.
3) Attend community events hosted by your state legislators.
4) Visit your state legislators’ district offices.
5) Participate in a state advocacy training.
6) Attend a Music Therapy Legislative Hill Day in your state.
7) Invite your state legislators to visit your workplace to see music therapy in action.
8) Respond to “calls to action” emails from your state task force.
9) Add professional partners and consumers to your Advocacy Team.
10) Stay connected to your profession by joining AMTA.

Checking In on AMTA Members

In 2019 the AMTA Membership Committee is "checking in" with AMTA members across the country and around the globe. This month we checked in with:

HicksJJennifer Hicks, MT-BC, E-RYT

Jennifer is a member of the Great Lakes Region of AMTA and serves as co-chair of our AMTA Membership Committee, a local co-chair for our 2019 AMTA National Conference (#AMTA19), and an appointed member on the Commission for the Education and Training of 21st Century Music Therapists. Jennifer has been a member of AMTA since 1992 and lists her top three membership benefits as their incredible advocacy efforts and support, the very helpful resources they provide (website, fact sheets, journals, etc.), and (most of all, according to Jennifer) the connections that she has made with colleagues because of AMTA through the years. You can hear more about why Jennifer is a member of AMTA at Jennifer is also the owner of Joyful Noises LLC and specializes in providing music therapy for groups of adults with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. She also directs a national roster internship site with Twin Cities Music Therapy Services, LLC. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys traveling, reading, baking, and learning and is currently working on her thesis research to complete her Master of Music Therapy degree. Jennifer's favorite self care practices include breathing and practicing mindfulness and yoga, listening to novels on her commute, treating herself to tea and chocolate, spending time with family and friends, and walking around the lake with her "sweetie" and their pup. Her guiding words of wisdom from Maya Angelou are as follows:"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."

ElkinsAAngie Elkins, MT-BC

Angie co-chairs our Membership Committee as part of her responsibilities as Director of Membership Services and Information Systems for the American Music Therapy Association, Inc. She has been a member of AMTA since 1992 because of the strong national voice AMTA provides in promoting education and standards for the music therapy profession. As Angie shares, "I support AMTA because AMTA supports music therapy, and I believe in music therapy!" When she is not working on our behalf through AMTA, Angie enjoys playing in a local county orchestra, and renovating her home (although, as she states, this is more out of need than desire!). Angie and her family are also three-fourths of their way through their "Shakespeare Bucket List": seeing every Shakespeare play performed live! Angie's favorite self-care practices include traveling, nature, and supporting live theater and music, and she shares with us the following words of wisdom as we start this new year: "The world is full of kind people. If you can't find one, be one."

BelgraveMMelita Belgrave, PhD, MT-BC

Melita is the Area Coordinator of Music Therapy at Arizona State University and received the Black Music Therapy Professional Network Service Award at #AMTA18 for her commitment to advanced knowledge and practice in the field of music therapy. Melita is a member of the Western Region Chapter of AMTA (WRAMTA) and has been a member of AMTA since 1997. Her favorite member benefits include the annual conferences (and conference discounts!), the journals, the members only pages on the website, and the feeling of belonging to a community.  Melita enjoys reading, playing music, learning new instruments, cooking, and listening to live bands in concert. She also enjoys songwriting, which she has found to be a great source of self care for her. Melita's words of wisdom are as follows: "Trust the process. Bloom where you are planted." Melita also keeps a gratitude jar, in which she writes every day. We are grateful for her, for her wise words, and for her service to our profession! Thank you, Melita!

If you would like to recommend an AMTA member for the #CheckInChallenge feature, please contact Jennifer Hicks, MT-BC, at We Are AMTA!

Regional Conference Season

As we ring in the new year, we also ring in Regional Conference Season!  Best of luck to each region as they pull together the final touches for their event!  And thank you to all those who have already become a 2019 AMTA member to receive a discount for their regional conference registration. 

Click on any region below for more information on each respective conference.  We are AMTA! 

2019 AMTA National Conference

SAVE THE DATE!  This year’s AMTA National Conference will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota from November 21-24, 2019.  Although November seems ages away, it will be here in the blink of an eye with early bird registration scheduled to open in June 2019.  With this in mind, here are some easy tips to start saving for the annual conference NOW. 

  1. Start a monthly budget: Evaluate how much you spend each month on necessities like rent and discretionary purchases like movie tickets. Then, set a reduced monthly spending budget and put the money you save in your travel fund.
  2. Open a dedicated travel bank account: You can set up automatic payments into the account, and, with a little restraint, leave that money there until it’s time for your trip.
  3. Fly for free (or almost free): Travel experts recommend you should absolutely be using a rewards-earning credit card daily if you want to save serious bucks on travel. One of the easiest ways to save a ton of money is to fly for free or almost free with airline miles.

Member Reminder: Update Your Address for Journal Mailings

Research in 2019 is already being gathered for the Journal of Music Therapy and Music Therapy Perspectives and there’s a lot in store! As an AMTA member, you receive both an online subscription to these journals, AND a print subscription.  The “primary address” on your AMTA record is used for mailing your print journal copies.  It’s very important that we have an accurate, current, primary address where you want to receive your print copies in order for them to be delivered to you. 

If you have moved, changed your mailing address locally, had problems with your local postal service, or if you just want to make sure to receive all your journals in 2019, now is the time to double check!  Please log into your AMTA online account and take a look at your address and be sure to mark the one where you want to receive journals as "primary."  Include all the fields required for a postal address in your area or country.  Remember to update your address each time you move, otherwise you may not receive future print copies of these journals.

You can update your information in your online record, or call (301-589-3300) or email ( the AMTA national office and we can make that update for you.  

We want to make sure you know the latest and greatest about research in music therapy for 2019!

Call for Editorial Board Nominations to Journal of Music Therapy

JMTcoverWe are currently seeking nominations for appointment of persons to the Editorial Board of the Journal of Music Therapy. Editorial board members read and evaluate submitted manuscripts and serve in an advisory capacity to the Editor-in-Chief. Editorial Board members review manuscripts that are within their area of research/clinical expertise. Depending on submission volume, Editorial Board members review between four and ten manuscripts a year. Potential candidates should have expertise in research, scholarly writing, and clinical music therapy (or a related field), with evidence of on-going scholarly publication by peer review in their respective field. Anyone may nominate an individual (or self-nominate) for this service to the Journal and to the profession by sending a letter of nomination and a vita documenting the research productivity and clinical expertise of the nominee to the Editor-in-Chief.

Nominations are due by February 15, 2019 and should be sent electronically to:

Blythe LaGasse, Editor-in-Chief, 
Journal of Music Therapy

Request for Proposals for the AMTA 2019 Conference

Call for proposals for the 2019 AMTA Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota!

Proposals for concurrent sessions, MTex talks, and additional continuing education courses are now being accepted online for the: 

AMTA 2019 National Conference: Innovate, Integrate, Motivate

Go to the AMTA website and click the "Attend a Conference" button for details and online submission links.

Music Therapy Highlighted in the Seattle Times

Alyssa Monas, a Board-Certified Music Therapist offering services at Childhaven in Seattle, is featured in a recent article in the Seattle Times. The music therapy program is funded through a grant from AMTA's Wilson Trust Project and a matching grant to Childhaven from the Vicky and Chris Cornell Foundation and other donors. Congratulations Alyssa!

Patient-Centered Outcome Research Initiative Funding Announcements

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Initiative (PCORI) opened their online application system Thursday, Jan. 3 for several new PCORI Funding Announcements (PFAs). Three PFAs seek proposals for projects aimed at improving treatment of a) posttraumatic stress disorder in adults, b) age-related hearing loss, and c) anxiety in children, adolescents and young adults. Additionally, PCORI has a broad funding announcement aligned with their research priorities and a PFA on Improving Methods. The deadline for submitting Letters of Intent for these opportunities is Thursday, Jan. 31.

For more information, click here. 

2018 Anne Emery Kyllo Scholarship Winner

BinderKKirsten Binder is honored to receive the 2018 Anne Emery Kyllo scholarship award and is thankful to Mrs. Jean Emery for providing the opportunity for continuing education. Kirsten graduated from Drury University and completed her clinical internship at the Center for Music Therapy and Wellness in Springfield, MO. During her practicum and internship experiences, she worked with a wide range of clients, including individuals with developmental disabilities, substance abuse, dementia, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Kirsten earned her national certification as a board-certified music therapist in January 2015. She has gone on to attend the Robert F. Unkefer Neurologic Music Therapy Institute and is a current NMT fellow.

Kirsten works as a full-time board-certified music therapist at Easter Seals Midwest in Springfield, MO and serves individuals of all ages with Autism and developmental disabilities. One of the most rewarding parts of her job is taking clients to the state capital to speak with local representatives and advocate for Autism funding and services for individuals with developmental disabilities. Kirsten is excited to use the scholarship award toward attending the 2019 national music therapy conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota and to enroll in the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music workshop. Attending this vital training will allow her to give her clients a new medium to explore, identify, and express different thoughts and emotions and to better provide therapy using a whole person approach.

Tip of the Month: Expand Your Thinking with New Experiences

What are you doing now to make sure you have the best year ever?Jack Canfield, co-founder of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series suggests to expand your thinking with new experiences!

Each month for 30 days in a row, commit to doing something new that you have thought about doing, but have not done, and notice how it affects your life. Some possibilities: do aerobic exercise for 30 minutes, don’t read the newspaper, stop watching television, eat only vegetarian or raw food, verbally appreciate at least 10 people a day, get eight hours of sleep,  meditate for 20 minutes, visualize your goals as already complete, do 20 minutes of yoga, read a self-help book every morning for 30 minutes, plan your next day’s schedule and prioritized to-do list before you leave work, do five things every day that forward your No. 1 goal, write a handwritten thank-you note to someone, drink more water, listen to a motivational CD on the way to work. Start this month and do one activity for the next 30 days in a row and then assess how it has impacted your life.