5 Advocacy Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for the Advocacy Slacker

Uh oh...it's the last day of Music Therapy Social Media Advocacy Month...and you haven't done a SINGLE DANG THING TO ADVOCATE!  Hey...save all that shunning, no head hanging here!  This is a judgement free zone.  In fact, we're going to save your behind.  The George Center's here for you.  We know...life is busy.  We may have waited for the last minute on...*ahem*...a few assignments in our time too.

If you've been a music therapy advocacy slacker, here's what you need to do...click the "Tweet It!" buttons below!  There, TWO SECOND advocacy!

"Music and Healthcare"

"Who knew healthcare could be this cool?!"

So you're not a Twitter person?  You see that "Pin It" button on your bookmarks bar?  Yeah, I'm onto you, you Pinterest-aholic.  Take a two second break from looking at recipes you're never going to cook and Pin these pictures of Andrea and Jamie!  That way people can see your Pin and learn more about music therapy!

Oh c'mon, no Twitter OR Pinterest?  Just Facebook?  What year is it, 2008?!  Alright, fine.  Look at the bottom of this post.  Right below the picture of that handsome guy in the green shirt.  It says "Like" on it.  Like this post!  No tell your Facebook friends to go learn more about music therapy by checking out all our advocacy posts here!

...Myspace?  Really?  Can't help you here...go write...a bulletin...or something.  You've had all month now.

Do you live in metro-Atlanta?  Are you interested in music therapy services?  Then forget all that stuff I said above, I want to advocate to YOU!  Click the button below and I will call or email you to tell you all about what we do at The George Center!  I'll probably also tell you how awesome every single person that works here is.

 

Communicate to Advocate

What happens in a client’s music therapy session? This question is a great way to educate the world about the music therapy profession. This question is one that is answered by music therapist multiple times a day. Whether the answer is addressed to a supervisor in a hospital or healthcare setting, teacher or principal in a school setting, or to a parent who sees a therapist privately, this question is very important when it comes to advocating for the profession.

How is communicating important for the music therapist? I have found that parents who sign up for music therapy often are excited to start but are not sure what they are signing up for. I have had many families who are very excited when I tell them that their child worked on improving their social skills, fine motor skills, receptive language skills, and speech skills all in one session. The parents are often excited about that news but what does it really mean? I like to share some of the activities that we did to address all these different goal domains (and more) so that the parents can get a picture of what happens in a session. The more the parents are aware of what it is the therapist is doing, the more likely they will continue to be involved in the therapy itself.

What about the parent’s role in communicating with the therapist? The parent’s role is very important in the process. Parents should always feel free to ask questions and contact the therapist with any concerns they may have. As a parent receiving music therapy services, you should feel comfortable asking questions and making sure you are aware of what your child is working on in his music therapy session. Parents are also a wonderful resource to other parents who have not heard of music therapy. By learning more about your child’s music therapy sessions, you will be able to answer other parent’s questions about what music therapy really is.

Let the conversations begin!

 

The Zen of Music Therapy Advocacy: The Circle of Advocating

Over the past several weeks, we’ve shared with you a few of the ways the GCMT crew advocates for music therapy, and offered you a few tips on how you  can advocate in your community. But what happens after you’ve made that initial connection and shared your advocacy story with someone? Ideally, that person will share that information with someone else, and then they’ll tell someone else, and so forth until that seemingly small act changes someone’s life…

Which is exactly what happened to me.

This is the story of how I found music therapy, or rather, how it found me.

I first heard the term during a conversation with my dad. I was applying to colleges at the time, and very concerned with figuring out what on earth I was going to do with my life. It was then that Dad told me I should consider studying music therapy.

“What is music therapy?” I asked. Dad proceeded to explain it to me. “Andrea,” he said, “This is YOU. You would love this.”

But wait! How exactly did my dad, an aerospace engineer, know about music therapy?

Because a music therapist told him.

My dad, who is also a musician, found out about the profession during a conversation with his friend Beth, a music therapist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. They had both been members of the local community orchestra in the metro-Atlanta area for several years. As they were talking together after a performance, Dad must have expressed some concern over my search for my life’s calling, because Beth asked if I had considered studying music therapy.

“What is music therapy?” asked Dad. Beth proceeded to explain it to him, he told me, and you all know the rest.

Well, that is my story, but it is not a story about me. It’s a story about community members coming together, the connections they make, and the lives they can change. Dad and Beth still play with what is now the Georgia Symphony Orchestra, and I join them as often as I can. I am thankful for the friendships built among this community of people, and for each opportunity I get to answer the question “What is music therapy?”After all, I know first-hand just how much of an impact the answer can hold!

Your circle of advocacy can start today by signing up for a FREE consultation!

 

Photo credit: Robin Fredman (Original image)

Advocating Through Insurance Billing

Editorial Note: Today's blog post comes from our FANTASTIC office manager, Christy Deneau!

Being constantly surrounded by amazingly talented music therapists, I get a first hand peep into the world of music therapy. I see the incredible progress they make with their patients each week, as well as the grueling schedules that they keep. I ask myself, what can a person like me do for music therapy? I don’t have a musical bone in my body.

Luckily, I am fortunate enough to have the ears and eyes of insurance companies each day. A big part of my job is working with our families and their insurance companies to receive 3rd party reimbursement for our services. Although music therapy is becoming more main stream, insurance companies are still learning about music therapy, its benefits for each population, and its place as an allied health profession.

It is not always an easy process. In the event that I need to appeal a decision, I take advantage of knowing that a Medical Director will be thoroughly reviewing my file. I am always sure to send loads of fact sheets, supporting research, and information on music therapy to educate them appropriately. I am happy to report that we have appealed many times successfully and continue to see an increase in medical plans that cover music therapy, an often necessary therapy for our patients. Helping to educate the insurance companies and help our families out on the financial end of things is what I can do (since you never want to hear me sing or play an instrument!)

Did you know The George Center is one of the leading music therapy private practices when it comes to billing insurance? It's true! We successfully bill insurance for about 80% of our clients!  Contact us today and we'd be happy to see if YOUR insurance company will cover music therapy services!

 

Photo credit: Keith Allison (http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithallison/5992627966/)

What if Music Therapy...Went Viral?

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.

"Enough advocating! I just want some music therapy in my life already!"  You've come to the right place, sign up for our FREE consultation!



 

Too Busy to Advocate?

How busy does life seem to get some times? There are days where I feel like if a task is not on my to-do list then it just won’t get done. I have learned that no matter how busy my day seems advocating for music therapy can still happen. Opportunities to educate others about the profession are easy and can fit in to your busy schedule of appointments. From the dentist, eye doctor, and even a family doctor, all are professionals in the medical field who can learn about music therapy. As crazy as it may sound, my eye doctor is now my best advocate. All of these professionals learned about music therapy just because they asked me that all familiar question, “So what do you do for a living?”
For parents who have a child who sees a multitude of therapists during the week, share what your child is doing in music therapy. Telling your child’s other therapists about the goals he is working on during his sessions and about the interventions being used to address the goal is a great way to advocate for the music therapy profession. No act of advocacy is too small!

Keep up with all our Social Media Advocacy Month posts here!

"Enough advocating!  I'm ready to start music therapy services!"  Great, click below!

Music Therapy Advocacy Music Video

January is Music Therapy Social Media Advocacy Month!  Check out the promotions page to read all the great participating blogs, and check out all our posts so far!

Now, what kind of music therapists would we be if we didn't sing you a song about music therapy and advocacy?  Bad ones!  We're proud to present: "What Music Therapists Want You To Know," a piggyback song of "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye, with the fabulous cover and video by Walk Off The Earth.

Enjoy, and please share!  Lyrics and FREE song download are below the video!

Now and then I think of those affected by music therapy

Like those with autism, Alzheimer's or pain

Parkinson's or TBI, cancer or drug rehab

When there's a need music therapy is there to heal

Music therapy addresses different goals

Physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs

Playing instruments and singing songs

Clients develop skills for life long

Progressive goals are tracked with measurable objectives

Chorus

MT's are using music to work on clinical goals for people of all ages

It's so much more than singing songs, we're designing and implementing treatment plans

Educated, trained, board certified, 1200 hours of clinical contact

Using rhythm, rhyme, and melody, many who can't talk are often able to sing.

Our musical approach has support in evidence-based research

From childhood development to stroke rehabilitation

Music can rewire the brain, relax the body, reduce pain

There is much more our research shows

and everyday our knowledge of the brain and music grows and grows

Chorus

MT's are using music to work on clinical goals for people of all ages

It's so much more than singing songs, we're designing and implementing treatment plans

Music therapy is functional, we meet goals while bringing joy and dignity to treatment

MT for procedural support, decreases pain, sedation, cost, anxiety.

Our modality is crazy motivational.

Finding a Connection

Editorial Note: Today's blog comes from the newest music therapist to join our team, Tasia Dockery!  Tasia is a fantastically talented music therapist who received her music therapy degree from Queens University, and interned with Laurie and Andrew at the Fulton County Schools Music Therapy Program.

I moved to the area in October, and soon found out that I would start work with The George Center for Music Therapy. I began my work as a part time music therapist, picking up just a few clients while my caseload could be built up. In order to make ends meet, I accepted a seasonal position at a local business chain.

During my time at this business, I found the perfect opportunity to advocate for music therapy. I was able to share music therapy with my coworkers. One of my co workers happened to be the parent of a child with special needs. The mother shared with me her story and I was able to share music therapy with her. I was also met with the opportunity to share music therapy with the shoppers who were parents or caregivers of children with special needs.

I found the best way to advocate in a retail atmosphere was to take interest in the child. After all, that's what we as music therapists do. We give our full attention to our client. I then shared with the parents my "real" job outside of my seasonal temporary job. This experience taught me that no matter the time or place, I can always connect someone to music therapy.

Ready to connect with our great team of therapists, including Tasia?  Get started today with a FREE consultation!  No commitment necessary.