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Presidential Perspectives - January 2021

Matters Masthead

January 2021
Presidential Perspectives

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.



The AMTA Board of Directors met January 9, 2021 to discuss the events in the nation’s capital last week. AMTA denounces the insurrection at the US Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, and the events leading up to it. Like so many of you, the Board, along with our national office staff who live and work in the DC area, continue to deal with feelings about what is still happening. We are shocked, angry, sad, and outraged. AMTA emphatically condemns social injustice, racism, blatant inequities, violence, domestic terrorism, vandalism, or anything that threatens our country, our members, and our communities. As this crisis continues to unfold, our greatest concerns are for our community of music therapists, students, and those we serve as we find ways to move forward.


Presidential Perspectives

WilliamsDebDear AMTA Members and Friends,

There are almost no words to express the events of the year we have left behind, in addition to the fresh experiences of 2021. I wish I had a magic wand to right all wrongs and instantly make the world the place we want it to be. The association does not condone, nor does it support the events and behavior our nation experienced this week. We are hopeful for important change in the months ahead as our country, communities, and friends work to find peace, strength, and support to continue our daily lives. AMTA aims to serve as a resource for our members as we come to terms with more difficult news that impacts so many so deeply.

Change always has, and always will, take time and patience. As we start the new year, we will attempt to start new initiatives. Presidential Perspectives will now be presented to you monthly via email and online to help update you on AMTA news. I am personally striving to do the deep work that is necessary to instill real change, which means reviewing history, learning about successful practices, consulting with experts, working to address member concerns, and taking recommended steps slowly and deliberately to ensure that our efforts will produce thoughtful and deliberate change. In 2020, AMTA has slowly and deliberately worked to guarantee positive change beginning with a few small, but sure steps:

  • Hiring an Interim DEI consultant, Nicole Robinson, and offering DEI education to the Board, staff, committee chairs, internal boards and task forces;
  • Hiring a CEO, Adonia Calhoun Coates, who has experience not only as a DEI informed association executive, but additionally with a background in governance and supporting membership organizations;
  • Starting the process to begin Strategic Planning to set priorities and carefully examine our governance, bylaws, organizational structure, all within a framework of diversity, equity and inclusion; and
  • Supporting the work of the COVID-19 Task Force along with national office staff to survey faculty, internship supervisors, interns and students, to assess opportunities for clinical training that have diminished during the pandemic, and learning what changes may be viable to assist interns and students to complete their degrees.

I appreciate the efforts and contributions many of you have made, sharing your time and expertise, renewing your AMTA membership, answering surveys to help us make the best decisions for AMTA, serving on national and regional boards and committees, contributing important and long overdue conversations about the state of our association, and, especially, continuing to use the healing power of music with your clients and patients.  As I have said before, do not forget to take care of yourself as you dedicate yourself to helping so many others. To support individual self-care or your professional work with others, I invite you to visit the AMTA website to read our Cultivating Deliberate Resilience resource as part of our COVID-19 resource pages. Wishing you all a prosperous and peaceful 2021. Thank you for all you do. We are stronger together.



Deborah Williams, AMTA President