The Music Therapy Avant-garde

Music Therapy Avant-garde (1)

In the field of music therapy, we often feel separated from other music therapists due to geography, individually pioneering new programs, or because of the nature of contract and private practice work. It is rare when we are all able to come together and share ideas, challenges, and barriers to our work. It is even more rare when any group of people can come together with seamless cohesion, respect, and support of one another. Wonderfully, this is my particular cohort of fellow students in my masters program. I can’t even begin to describe all of the inspiration, camaraderie, and overall hope for the field of music therapy that has occurred from my group.

It has been eye opening to discover how well we have come to know each other largely over online forums with only a handful of face to face contact over the past year of the program. We have banded together in our desire to learn, grow, and work towards making positive change and development within our field. If I were asked to describe each person within my cohort, I would be able to provide unique attributes, talents, and aspirations about each of them. This is how transparent we have become to one another.

The reason this is so important is that this particular week provided a glimpse into the future of our field. It showcased the potential of each music therapist individually and what we could accomplish together. Like in any field, there are waves of change and growth, and it was easy to be swept up in our combined visions. When I reflect back to how inspired I felt by each of my fellow students during our initial intensive week back in September, I am renewed with the conviction that the people I am learning alongside are going to change the world. That idea seems trite, but consider how many clients each one of us works with within a given day, and multiply that by a full work-year, and then by a career. Music therapy is burgeoning in the healthcare world, with media attention following suit. Discovering how we are going to “hitch our wagon” to this is where we are on the cusp.

Working towards changing the world seems to be my running theme this year, as it is what I unknowingly titled my TEDx talk. I shared with my cohort that it was due to them, and my advisors, that I had found the inspiration to give a TED talk, and now I find myself diving into so many things I would have never considered without their ingenious examples. I don’t want to give away too much about our goals and visions as they are, of course, a work in progress. But I will say that being together with my avant-garde music therapy group renewed a sense of purpose and drive for changing the field of music therapy.

Some people have to make changes. Some people have to brainstorm the ideas and implement them. Some people have to do things distinct enough to be a part of history. Why can’t it be us?

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