Why do we even do Music Therapy Social Media Advocacy Month? Really, what's the point? Other career fields don't do what we do. There's no Engineer Awareness Month, no Marketer Awareness Month. So why do expend all this time and energy advocating for our field all January long?
I think there are three big reasons we find this necessary: 1) Our field is TINY compared to most other career fields, 2) our field is relatively young (post WW-II), and 3) the name "music therapy" evokes a lot of misconceptions. Granted, this last reason is related to the others, but I think the misconceptions just come with the territory of the name. I'll be honest, there are many times I wish my job had a different title.
Let's focus on that first point. Let's face it, there are just not a lot of music therapists out there. It's hard to get people educated on a career that they don't encounter in some form on a daily basis. You may not encounter a bio-chemical engineer on a regular basis, but chances are you know somebody who knows some sort of an engineer, and you can pretty much get a good idea of what a bio-chemical engineer does as a result.
Music therapy's small size hinders us in that sense. There's good news though: music therapists are FANTASTIC at building relationships. There may not be many of us out there, but the good news is those who know us likely a) know what we do and b) know how passionate we are about it. Hopefully, that passion rubs off on them. When we leverage these networks, we can exponentially increase the size of our footprint.
It's not unlike how a video on YouTube goes viral. The creator shares it with their network of friends. Maybe three of those friends find it interesting/funny enough to share with their network. Of their network, three more find it interesting/funny enough to share with THEIR network, and suddenly we have exponentially increasing traffic on a video.
What if every music therapists made it their duty to ensure that everyone in their network was educated on what music therapy was and wasn't. That way they can go out and tell someone else about it. Maybe just two people they share it with pass it down the line. Are you starting to get the idea?
What if music therapy...went viral?
My wonderful parents and amazing girlfriend are great examples. Every time I hear them explain what I do to someone, I can't help but smile. In many ways, they're better at it than I am, because they know how to explain to someone who's never experienced it.
So music therapists, and music therapy evangelists, go out and make sure your network is educated. Maybe show them this handy video to really drive the point home! It all starts with you.
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