8 Reasons Being a Music Therapist Pre-1990's Would Have Been Rough

I love my job, but I gotta admit, doing what I do 20 years ago would've been tough. Here's 8 reasons why I have a lot of respect for the veterans of my field.

1. No iPods



Image credit: Donnie Ozone

I have over 12,000 songs on my iPod. Let's call that a nice, round, 1000 albums, shall we? Do you have any idea how much 1000 vinyl records would weigh? I do. 485 lbs! I carry that thing in my guitar bag everywhere I go!

2. No Googling chords and lyrics


Image credit: FindYourSearch

So what, did you just buy tons of chord books? Sit and listen and try to figure out the lyrics to "Louie, Louie?" Yeesh.

3. You think advocating is hard now? Try it 20+ years ago.


Advocating in the information age is hard enough, imagine doing it 20 years ago, when music therapy was less well known, and people couldn't look up information on it whenever and where ever they please.

4. You had to choose sides.


Did you know the American Music Therapy Association wasn't formed until 1998? That's because until that point, we had TWO music therapy associations. The National Association for Music Therapy and The American Association for Music Therapy. Differing conferences, and in some cases, differing viewpoints. Conferences couldn't have been as much fun without everybody all together!

5. No blogs


You know, I'm pretty proud of this little blog. We've had visitors from all 50 states and 80 countries from around the world. We've gotten some great comments on our videos from music therapists in the Netherlands, and had one of our piggyback songs featured on a podcast hailing from Australia! I feel like we've done a pretty knock-out job of advocating and educating for our field.

Yet, if I had entered this field almost at any other time, none of that would have been possible. I mean, what would you do without this in your life?

6. Healthcare was a whole different world


Those in healthcare know the field has undergone drastic changes across the last two decades. The disease-centered approach gave way to the patient-centered approach (which I'll be presenting on at conference, more on that later!), which in my eyes is a big win for music therapy (not to mention the most important people in healthcare, patients!). Not to mention the insurance world. Did you know The George Center successfully bills insurance for 80% of our clients? I don't mean to brag, but we're pretty dang good at finding every way possible to get you music therapy services.

But I have to think if we were doing this in the early 90's or even sooner, we might not see the same level of insurance billing success. Not through any fault of our own, simply because healthcare was just a different place than it is now. There's an episode of Seinfeld that reminds me of this. In "The Note," George is shocked to find out that insurance will cover services from a physical therapist. A physical therapist! If only he could see us now...

7. No Twitter networking to turn to for help


Every music therapist has experienced that moment where you're trying to find a way to teach long division for a Flag Day theme and you (strangely enough) don't have any long division Flag Day songs. So what do you do? Well, a quick call out to your music therapy colleagues on Twitter of course!

The music therapy community has really gravitated to this social network, and when you work in a field as small as our's, it can be really nice to be connected with colleagues from all over the world in an instant. Not to mention, they're a fount of knowledge that can really help you out in a pinch!

8. No electronic research databases


Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/indi/4259120807/sizes/m/in/photostream/

When I want to read the latest research, I log onto my research database of choice, or search on Google Scholar, and I instantly can find whatever I need. Having to pour through printed journal after journal after journal...ouch.

Glad we don't have to deal with all that now! In fact, we have a beautiful clinic location with all the neat music therapy gear you could ask for. Come in and check it out sometime!