31 Ways to Be a Bad Music Therapist

You don't have to be an expert in a field to recognize when someone is doing a bad job. Particularly with careers we encounter daily. We've all had experiences with bad service at restaurants, poor quality work on our homes, dishonest mechanics, the list goes on. Hopefully, these encounters are far out-numbered by people passionate about the work they do and take pride in doing a quality job, but we know that's not always the case.

What about the jobs we don't come across everyday? What about jobs such as...a music therapist? Do you know how to spot poor quality in that field?

Let me tell you some ways to be a bad music therapist (WARNING! This list is for educational purposes only! We at The George Center could not live with ourselves if we ever attempted any of this! It would be unconscionable and unethical. You can read the Code of Professional Practice from the Certification Board for Music Therapists here.):

  1. Don't read the latest research. Just act on gut feelings.
  2. Don't explain interventions to your clients or their caregivers. They wouldn't understand it anyway.
  3. Documentation is far too time consuming, don't bother with that.
  4. Talking about your clients to your friends may be illegal, but who will really know? HIPPA, SHMIPPA.
  5. Don't ever attend conferences. Like, ever. Even if you can afford it.
  6. Never re-assess a client. Just keep those same tired goals. Yes, even the ones that they've mastered or aren't working for them.
  7. Never stretch yourself musically. Just keep playing those same 3-chord songs in the same key forever. Good enough.
  8. Don't bother presenting at conferences or completing a research study. Let those fancy PhD folks worry with that.
  9. Patient preferred music? Look buddy, I'll tell you what you prefer, alright? Psshh, Taylor Swift...
  10. Always make sure your client knows how much you'd rather be someplace else. This can be achieved with a combination of sighing, frequent clock checking, lack of smiling, not listening, disengaged body language, phone checking, etc.
  11. Advocating? What is this, a PBS telethon?
  12. Billing insurance is a lot of work. Don't even look into it.
  13. They told you to use age-appropriate music in school, but singing "The Wheels on the Bus" with this 56-year old client with a developmental disability is way easier, just sing that. Who has time to learn MORE Beatles songs?
  14. Come to work sick. Staying home sick don't pay the bills. So what if your clients have fragile immune systems, just cover your mouth when you sneeze every 30 seconds.
  15. Don't sanitize any of your equipment. Clorox wipes are expensive.
  16. Anytime a client opens up to you about a personal struggle, be sure to dismiss it with a good "You think THAT'S rough? You oughtta see the crap I gotta deal with."
  17. This client made a specific request related to their religion, but what am I supposed to do, change what I do for just him?!
  18. On that note, no individualized goals. Just write 10 general music therapy goals that you work on with everybody. Or 5. Whatever.
  19. Be sure to be really rude and condescending to people when they're confused about what music therapy is.
  20. Talk about clients on your Twitter. It's okay, you have a locked account.
  21. Don't ask about special precautions that need to be taken with a client, i.e. seizures, allergies, etc. Just cross that bridge when you come to it.
  22. When asked to facilitate religious music experiences for a client, make sure you tell them all about your personal beliefs.
  23. While you're at it, go ahead and tell them all about your politics too.
  24. If you're in private practice, it's easier to talk bad about other practices to potential clients than talk about your own merits, so feel free.
  25. You can't get around continuing education to maintain your board-certification, but you CAN do the bare minimum.
  26. If someone is non-responsive, go ahead and assume they can't hear/understand what you say.
  27. Avoid talking to other healthcare professionals about music therapy. Just tell them to Google it.
  28. Don't use person first language, the language you've used your whole life will work.
  29. On that note, don't ask a client for their preference on diagnostic labels, just make an assumption.
  30. Make sure your work space is disorganized.
  31. Don't put any thought into how you set up your treatment area. Just wait for problems to arise, then react to them.

Yikes! Pulling your hair out yet? Just writing those made me bang my head on the desk. Of course, here at The George Center, we pride ourselves on going above and beyond for our clients. We strive everyday to exceed expectations in all aspects of their therapy experience. From calling your insurance company for a detailed report of music therapy coverage, to explaining and communicating treatments to parents and caregivers, to completing extra certifications and specialties to better serve our clients. We want to provide the best music therapy services possible, it's our passion and daily mission!

But we're not all talk, let us show you how we go above and beyond! Contact us today to get started!

Photo credit: tofer618 (http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2019/2374339055_0aee5b8e57.jpg)

Andrew Littlefield MM, MT-BC

The George Center , 12060 Etris Road, Roswell, GA, 30075