Main points: Clarification and Gentle Education
One thing the profession is trying to do is clarify the role of music therapy in the various treatment populations. Some may say, “Music is music. Who cares who is providing it?” There may be some truth to this. How is a music therapist providing music in a nursing home any different than a performer who comes in? At its most basic level, there really is no difference. Music therapists play notes, they play notes. The difference is how MT’s use the music. The difference is how MT’s adjust the music to adapt to a client’s particular needs, or use musical elements to work on behavioral, cognitive, physical, and social goals.
Most of this post was inspired by comments corresponding to the linked article, and I wrote more there with the intent of educating those who may not fully understand the benefits of hiring a music therapist. When commenting on an article such as this one, it is very important to look at the positive aspects of it and congratulate the author for writing about this topic. We want to encourage this! The world wants to know more about music therapy, and MT’s must be gentle when correcting the misconceptions. In this way, MT’s can develop a positive and collaborative relationship with others who do in fact have something to offer through music.