CBMT Exam and competence

MT-PRO Music Therapy List mtpro@multipro.com
Thu, 21 Oct 1999 00:39:47 -0500

This is in response to Dave's comments re: musicianship and the CBMT exam:
You wrote:
In response to Jim:
You state that admin, sw's, and case managers often judge the competence of
the music therapists that are associated with you on their musical skill.
Seems like the perception could be shifted with educational efforts
directed toward the above listed.
I think I need some clarification. Are you suggesting that being judged by 
musical competence is not a good thing?  And that we should educate other 
professionals (and clients) to not judge music therapists based on their 
musical skills as well as clinical skills? Further, that we should work to 
"shift the perception" away from using music skills as a basis for evaluating 
a competent music therapist? Please help me here- I need to understand your 
comments before I can respond appropriately to them.
However, let me clarify and restate my position;  that our practice has grown 
enormously due to the fact that parents, case managers, OTs, PTs, SLPs, 
nurses, physicians etc., (referral sources) have come to understand the power 
of music therapy through witnessing that our music therapists are outstanding 
musicians-- and by observing that it is the quality and richness of the music 
our therapists produce and assist our clients in producing/experiencing 
within the therapeutic context which results in observable growth and 
positive change. This high quality of music is the most effective therapeutic 
tool we have to offer, as well as our most effective promotional material-- 
as evidenced by our waiting list which continues to grow despite the fact 
that we do not advertise anywhere.  Thus my original issue statement 
regarding the ongoing problem of finding musically competent MT-BCs to hire.
You wrote further:
In regard to a performance section on the Exam: It's been my experience
that the music therapist's ability to help a client experience music in
ways that will assist them in a therapeutic manner is the most important
aspect in the scientific application of music. I'm a working/performing
musician, as well as an MT-BC. In the many years that I have been a music
therapy practitioner, it has been rare that my performance chops have been
utilized in a therapeutic context.
Once again I'm befuddled. Are you saying that you have sound musical skills, 
since you are a working/performing musician, and that you don't feel you are 
called upon to use your "performing chops?" Am I understanding you correctly? 
If so, I am certainly sorry that perhaps your administrator (or whoever) does 
not allow you to use live music, improvisation, etc. in your clinical work. 
In what sort of therapy setting and with what populations do you work? Or 
perhaps the instrument or musical style in which you perform are not readily 
applicable for use in therapy? Please clarify.
I'm quite curious and eagerly look forward to your response.
Jim Hiller MMT,MT-BC
-- MT-PRO Music Therapy List, mtpro@multipro.com on 10/21/1999 at 12:39:26 AM

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