Written by: Melissa Reinhardt, MSEd, MT-BC
Music therapists consider the relationship between the client, the therapist and the music as the utmost important factors in a music therapy session. I would also add that the role of the caregiver is as equally important if sometimes not more important to the success of the music therapy session. A caregiver as defined by Merriam-Webster, is a “person who provides direct care (as for children, elderly people or the chronically ill.”)
Oftentimes, especially in group music therapy, caregivers are involved in the session - this may be at the request of the music therapist or perhaps it is the caregivers choice to be involved. Either way, the caregiver can play an integral role in the success of the music therapy session which translates into success and learning for the client(s) involved. When I worked at a large state facility for adults with intellectual disabilities, there was always at least one caregiver in each group. This would often be the same person who would bring the group of clients to music therapy and then escort them to their next program. A caregiver could make or break a session - this is how important their role was!
If a caregiver was disinterested, removed themselves from the group and did not participate, the clients instinctively knew that something was up and they often followed their caregiver’s lead! As they should; this caregiver was like a family member to them - they cared for them, spent time with them and was there for them for extended periods of time. However, when the caregiver became involved in the session, the clients would take notice and would often respond more positively, be more engaged and willing to participate in the music therapy interventions. If you are a caregiver, you are important to music therapists!
Some may view music therapists as those who only want to work alone and do not need assistance from others - this could not be further from the truth. Music therapists have expertise in music therapy, but caregivers have expertise in their clients. The caregiver spends a significant amount of time with their clients and knows more about them than any professional. The caregiver’s knowledge of the client can be extremely beneficial for the success of therapy. Information that is important to share with the music therapist could include medication changes, illnesses, changes in routine and any significant happenings that could affect the client’s participation and success in sessions. It is a challenge as a therapist to have a music therapy session that does not go well only to find out the client had not had any sleep the night before or they had a significant medication change!
What can you do as a caregiver whose client or loved one participates in music therapy? Talking to the therapist would be a good place to start. If your family member is involved in a large group, oftentimes just sitting with your loved one during music therapy will not only be a great help to the music therapist, but you also might enjoy yourself and see the benefits! Perhaps you already use music in some way with your client -share those ways with the therapist so they can be incorporated into the session. You may learn ways in which you could offer music to your client outside of the music therapy session and therefore, support the use of skills learned to the client’s daily life. Musical preferences is another area that caregivers can be of great assistance - music therapists are very knowledgeable about music, but it is virtually impossible to know every song or style of music the client likes. Sharing these musical preferences or even significant music from a client’s past (such as a wedding song, etc) can have a significant impact on the client’s interest and motivation to participate.
Furthermore, music therapists teach skills to clients that can be applied to their everyday lives. For children with autism, this may be a song to help them learn how to dress themselves, for a stroke patient who suffers from language difficulties, this may be melodic or rhythmic phrases to express a need or want. Without the application to daily life, these skills no longer are effective if they can only be demonstrated during the session. However, if the caregiver learns these songs and/or phrases, they can easily be used in the home, school or work setting to help the client make that transfer of skills which is very important.
Think you can’t sing? No worries! The client won’t notice - they will be too excited to hear their song and show you what they can do!
written by: Melissa Reinhardt, MSED, MT-BC
Recently, music therapy was recognized as an evidence-based practice (EBP) for children (ages 0-14) with Autism Spectrum Disorder under “music-mediated” interventions by the National Clearinghouse of Autism Evidence and Practice Review Team at University of North Carolina/Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. This report was written with the purpose to inform others of practices that demonstrate definitive evidence of positive effects for children and youth with ASD. Research published between 1990 and 2017 with behavioral, clinical, developmental and/or educational focus was reviewed. Evidence-based practice (EBP) is an approach to selecting and using interventions that have scientific proof of effectiveness through systematic reviews of scientific literature. This in addition to the practitioner’s (e.g. music therapist) considerations is crucial in order to provide the best possible service to persons with ASD. Between the years of 1990 and 2011, 3 research articles were included in the review and between the years of 2012 and 2017, 4 studies were included for a total of 7 articles in support of “music-mediated” interventions which includes music therapy. In looking closer at “music-mediated” interventions (MMI), the researchers define this as “an EBP that uses music as a key feature of the intervention delivery. This includes music therapy, which occurs in a therapeutic relationship with a trained music therapist, in addition to the planned use of songs, melodic intonation, and/or rhythm to support the learning or performance of target behaviors and skills in various contexts” (pg. 92).
In examining the results, researchers indicate that music-mediated interventions are an effective approach to outcomes in communication and adaptive/self-help skills for the toddler age group (0-2 years). For the preschooler group (ages 3-5), music-medicated interventions are effective to support outcomes in communication, social, play, school readiness, challenging/interfering behavior and motor skills. Children ages 6-11 years (Elementary group), communication, social, school readiness, challenging/interfering behavior and motor skills were supported by EBP. The middle school group (ages 12-14 years), EBP outcomes were identified as communication and social skills. No data was present for the high school aged group (15-18 years) and the young adult group (19-22 years).
As indicated, the preschool aged group and the elementary aged group had the highest number of effective practices/outcomes (6 and 5, respectively). It should also be noted that even though no data was present for the high school aged group and the young adult age group does not indicate that music therapy is not an effective tool, it means rather that no research studies have been published with these age groups.
Steinbrenner, J. R., Hume, K., Odom, S. L., Morin, K. L., Nowell, S. W., Tomaszewski, B., Szendrey, S., McIntyre, N. S., Yücesoy-Özkan, S., & Savage, M. N. (2020). Evidence-based practices for children, youth, and young adults with Autism. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, National Clearinghouse on Autism Evidence and Practice Review Team
Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti
Written eleven weeks into the pandemic's effects on greater Charlotte...
In recognition of the seven years that Piedmont Music Therapy has been able to make music with individuals in greater Charlotte, our team of board certifeid music therapists virtually connected with this video.
Through treatment sessions, lessons, trainings, community events and summer camps we are honored to share music with persons of all ages and abilities. Providing accessible music based initiatives is part of our mission and we are humbled to be a provider available to individuals, families, schools & organizations in Mecklenburg & York Counties.
Being able to connect with a person and accompany them through music is a tremendous honor. Thank you for trusting us to connect, play & grow in Charlotte, NC; Fort Mill, Rock Hill & Tega Cay, SC. We look forward to the continued journey in our community, especially through this trying time of health and systemic issues.
Do you have questions about our private practice or studio? Interested in partnering to support mental health needs in our community? Contact us so we can explore those opportunities. Thanks for your support and interest in creative & expressive art therapy and musical pursuits in Charlotte, NC.
How's your familiarity with emojis and song titles from genres like reggea, rock, pop, hiphop?
Test your knowledge of song titles from 11 various genres, some of the clues include who sang the song. Answers will be posted to the blog on Monday, 4/13/20. We hope these worksheets will be enjoyable during a leisure break for you!
Thanks to Anabella & Nora, PMT Volunteers in high school for their time creating these. Please share with your friends and check back on Monday to check your guesses.
Written by Melissa Reinhardt, MSEd, MT-BC.
I recently had the privilege of attending the Southeast Region (SER) Music Therapy conference held in LaGrange, Georgia. This once a year conference is a time for music therapists to learn, connect and grow with each other through attending continuing education seminars, concurrent sessions and business meetings. And, of course, the ever important networking with other professionals.
As the elected Secretary of the SER, I attended two Board of Directors meeting which included the following persons: Carmen Osburn, President: Christine Leist, Immediate Past President, Minda Gordon, President Elect: 1st Vice President: Martine Bullard; 2nd Vice President: Diane Garrison Langston; Yvonne Glass, Treasurer; Government Relations Chair(s): Rachel Coon-Arnott and Kirby Carruth; Regional Conference Chair: Austin Robinson; Student Advisor: Fred Ra and Student President-Elect: Rachel Barber.
Why is it important to know these names and their positions? According to the SER-AMTA Constitution and By-Laws (Article V, Section 2), “The board of directors shall speak, act on behalf of and represent the membership on matters pertaining to the profession and objectives as stated by the Constitution.” These are the folks who spend countless hours volunteering to serve our region for the benefit of all constituents who are involved in some way with music therapy - whether it be as a therapist, a client, a family member, a co-worker, etc.
You may wonder why myself and others decide to commit to a 2 year position to serve on the Board of Directors. Service is defined as “the act of helping or doing work for someone” Sound familiar? As music therapists, we act, we help and we do work for someone, but we are lucky enough to get paid for it! Service to our profession is just an extension of our role as a music therapist. Throughout my professional career, I have placed an importance on participation in service to the states and regions where I have lived and worked. To me, service is an opportunity to give back to the profession; a profession that I dearly love (and have for over 25 years!). Yes, there is work involved, but when the opportunity arises to know that I am making a difference, the answer is an easy one.
Click here to learn more about SER-AMTA. How have you served your profession? Has it made an impact on your life? If so, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
Older teens through adults, all ability levels are encouraged to join us remotely through the Facebook LIVE Stream. We hope this event will uplift and inspire participants.
Various songs will be sung, played on guitar and explored.
Here's a downloadable listing of positive affirmations that you may find useful to refer during the exercise led by Kate, MT Intern:
Thanks for making time to connect with us through music. We will offer another episode on Relaxing By The Stream, this Thursdsay at Noon (EST).
Questions or comments are welcome below...
This will be the 4th week that PMT provides an online event while encouraging neighbors to stay at home. If you are able to, help by sponsoring future events for individuals of all abilities by donating here: paypal.me/piedmontmusictherapy.
Thanks for connecting with us through music. Here are the files for this afternoon's event streaming LIVE on Facebook at 3pm (EST):
Please leave comments below:
Written by Kate W., MT Intern
This is my third month of a University Affiliated Internship with Queens University of Charlotte.
What does it take to become a music therapist? While the journey is different for everyone aiming to receive this credential, the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) regulates many aspects of the process through education, internship, board certification, and continual professional training.
I chose to begin at a community college, where I received my Associate's Degree in Fine Arts in Music and Music Education, with my primary instrument being guitar. Here I received extensive training in music theory, aural skills, music history and private lessons in both guitar and piano. I was also able to complete almost all of my general education courses – things such as math, English and science.
Next, I needed to find a college with an approved program in Music Therapy. In North Carolina, there are three choices – Eastern Carolina University, Appalachian State University, and Queens University of Charlotte. I chose Queens for many reasons, but mainly I appreciated the small, intimate class size and individual attention that students receive from professors. Since I had completed many preliminary music courses, Queens was able to offer me what is called an equivalency program, where they factored in my previous education and built a plan for me to receive a bachelors degree in music therapy and minor in psychology in under three academic years.
My main focus for these semesters was completing practicum hours both in the on-campus clinic and at contracted facilities throughout the community. This is where students work directly with clients of varied populations in one-on-one and group settings, under the supervision and guidance of a board certified music therapist.
After completion of all coursework and clinical hours for the degree, music therapy students must complete a clinical internship, usually consisting of six months of full-time work, again under the supervision of a board-certified music therapist working full-time in the field.
Overall, we end up with at least 1200 hours of clinical training under our belts by the time we complete our education. After this, we are able to sit for the music therapy board certification exam, which will give us the MT-BC credential when passed.
At this point in my internship, I am transitioning from observing sessions to leading interventions and I look forward to planning and implementing complete session plans in the coming months. My favorite thing about working with Piedmont Music Therapy is the wide range of clientele I have the opportunity to work with, from children and teens with developmental disabilities, to older adults in memory care, to individuals in addiction recovery. I love seeing firsthand how versatile music therapy is and how different music therapists connect with their clients.
At last week's southeastern regional conference of the American Music Therapy Association in LaGrange, Georgia, we were delighted to learn that a nomination for the annual Advocacy Award was awarded to one of the educators that we collaborate with. Miss Diane Duncan, Special Educator at St. John's United Methodist Church Preschool in Rock Hill, SC has been a constant advocate for music therapy over the past 5 years, beginning with her willing to have group music therapy services as a part of her special needs classroom resources at SJUMC Preschool under the leadership of Katie Goodwin, SJUMC Preschool Director. During music therapy sessions, Ms. Duncan and her aide are a constant support with their students providing assistance in any way that allows the student to be successful. Ms. Duncan is a true example of how music therapists and special education teachers can work together! Additionally, she acknowledges the value of music therapy in early intervention and has shared this with her student's parents which has led to numerous referrals for individual music therapy services. Ms. Duncan's willingness to be a model during and outside of music therapy sessions displays a true advocate of music therapy. Help to congratulate Ms. Duncan and exceptional instruction and collaborative efforts provided by staff at SJUMC in Rock Hill - York County, South Carolina.
Providing music therapy services for early childhood to older adults, music instruction and enrichment plus continuing music therapy education in Greater Charlotte Area of the Carolinas.