I love coffee.
And I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that most music therapists as well as parents of children with special needs feel the same way about it. Wonderful, delicious, energizing coffee.
Even if you're not a coffee drinker, you're probably familiar with the phrases "fair trade" and "organic."
You really can't get away from those phrases lately. At the grocery store, coffee shop, restaurants, heck even lawn care products are bragging about their organic fertilizers.
Companies use these labels because consumers decided they wanted to know more about the things they were putting into their body. They wanted to know where their coffee came from, what the ingredients were, that the ingredients were safe, and they even wanted to be sure that the people who harvested the coffee were treated fairly and paid well.
This is all important information to know! After all, you're going to put these things into your body, don't you want to know what's in it and that it's safe?
It's not enough to simply say something is "organic," there are official certifications that help ensure that a product meets certain standards of quality, so consumers can be sure they're getting what they pay for.
In music therapy, the "seal of quality" is the MT-BC.
What does it meant to be "board certified?" Why is it such a big deal? Couldn't I get a volunteer musician to come in here for cheap or even free?
When music therapists write "MT-BC" after their name, it indicates a certain level of training and quality that ensures you're getting what you pay for and not something less.
"MT-BC" stands for "Music Therapist - Board Certified," and it means the therapist has passed the board certification exam administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists, also known as the CBMT.
But passing this test is not as simple as going to a testing center, sitting at a computer, and answering the questions. To even be eligible to take the test, there are strict education and training requirements that must be completed.
For starters, you have to have a degree in music therapy, either at a bachelors or masters level. The courses in a music therapy program run the gamut from counseling, special education, psychology, and music courses.
Following the completion of your course work, you must complete a 6-month internship at an approved site. During the student's internship, they work as a full time music therapist while under the supervision of a professional (and board certified) music therapist.
In just a few days (this Monday!) The George Center will have our very own intern! We'll introduce you to her soon.
Finally, after all that, the student is eligible to take the certification exam (and it's no gimme), and upon successful completion of that, they're an MT-BC!
But the training doesn't stop there. Board certified music therapists must maintain their certification through continuing educate courses, attending conferences, and completing research.
So the "big deal" about board certification is a guarantee that the therapist has completed course work, training, and completed an exam that states they have a certain level of knowledge and expertise that prepares them for the situations they'll encounter as a therapist.
Being a music therapist is more than being a good musician or being really good at relating to a specific population. It's about knowing HOW to use music to effectively reach a goal for a client. It's about knowing WHAT works with specific populations and WHY it works.
After all, don't you want to know what you're getting?
Interested in working with one of our FANTASTIC, board-certified, music therapists? Sign up for our free consultation! It takes 2 seconds!
Image credit: Wikipedia Commons