Teaching Advocacy

By January 17, 2011Ideas

Teaching Music Therapy Advocacy

One day, about a year ago, I was busying myself on the computer when I overheard a telephone conversation my roommate was having. For this story, you need a little background information. He had graduated with degrees in finance and economics and was into his first year of law school. It’s fair to say we have very different interests and strengths, but we’d been friends all throughout our undergraduate years and our friendship continues.

Advocacy creates a domino effect.

Advocacy creates a domino effect 

I don’t know who he was talking to on that day, but my ears perked up when I heard music therapy being mentioned. To my surprise and delight, he was saying, “Yeah, music therapy. He uses music to work on other types of goals. Like language and movement and stuff. It’s a legit thing; that’s what his degree is in.  Autism, Alzheimer’s, lot’s of things…” The conversation went on, and though not textbook, it was a pretty good definition for someone outside the profession.

This experience made me realize that we’re not just advocating, but we’re teaching people how to advocate. After this, I asked my parents how they describe music therapy to other people. I asked my grandparents, my sisters, and others who were close to me, and gave some coaching on how to present the profession. I gave them some basic scenarios and stories they could use to illustrate music therapy to a complete newbie. Anyone can be an advocate; we just need to make sure we give them the tools to do it effectively and accurately.

You can’t be everywhere, advocating to everyone. So, multiply yourself!

This week, talk to people close to you and find out how they describe your profession. Gently provide some coaching, and thank them for helping out this discipline as it grows stronger and stronger.




  • […] The time is here again for the annual Social Media Advocacy Month. I remember when this project first took off in 2011, and I think it’s safe to say it has been a success. My first Advocacy Month post, now 5 years ago, was about teaching others, sometimes subtly, to be music therapists. You can find it here: Teaching Advocacy […]

  • I LOVE listening to my husband describe music therapy. He nails it every time and it brings such joy to my heart to hear him speak so highly of what I do.
    I encourage everyone to educate those around them who may advocate for them. Word of mouth is one of the best ways of advertising, and hearing about the benefits of a music therapy from a non-music therapist is so powerful.

  • […] Teaching Advocacy on Music Therapy  Source by Matt Logan:  Matt shares a story of overhearing his roommate describe music therapy–and the realization that we are teaching those around us to advocate for music therapy every day.  I hadn’t thought of that in terms of advocacy before, but he’s absolutely right! I had a similar moment with my Mom when she showed me a newspaper article she had seen, clipped, and shared with a dozen friends all on her own (before I was able to vet the information–eek!)  It was a great article, informative and ACCURATE and extremely supportive of music therapy.  I realized she has a great understanding of what music therapy is and how it helps the clients I work with.  It is nice that she is proud to explain to others what I do–but even more gratifying to know she is explaining it accurately and effectively! […]

  • Ann Marie says:

    I hadn’t thought of that in terms of advocacy, but you are absolutely right! I had a similar moment with my Mom–she has such a good grasp on it now, and is proud to explain to others what I do–and I’m proud that she can explain it accurately and effectively!

  • […] Therapy Source (Music Therapist: Matt Logan) Teaching Advocacy http://www.musictherapysource.com/teaching-advocacy/ Social Media Advocacy for Music Therapy […]

  • […] Teaching advocacy (Music Therapy Source) […]

  • Well, done, Matt! It is definitely important to know what others perceive you to be doing so that they completely understand. I’m still teaching my family. 🙂

  • Roia says:

    Nice, Matt. It certainly made me wonder how my family discusses what I do for a living. Okay, now I’m seriously curious, and I’m going to have to go and call my mom and ask her. Thanks for a thought-provoking post!