Music Therapy Education and Training: From Theory to Practice

By Arnason, Carolyn | Canadian Journal of Music Therapy, January 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Music Therapy Education and Training: From Theory to Practice


Arnason, Carolyn, Canadian Journal of Music Therapy


Music Therapy Education and Training: From Theory to Practice by Karen Goodman. Charles C. Thomas, 2011. ISBN10:0398086109 ISBN-13: 978-0398086107

Karen Goodman has written a comprehensive and informative book about music therapy education and training in the United States. Although the author's experience and perspective is of an educator working in the United States, this book covers basic and advanced ideas for teaching music therapy skills. Thus it is a valuable resource for undergraduate and graduate music therapy students and clinical supervisors as well as educators in Canada. In addition, Goodman provides an extensive bibliography, and she categorizes English-language music therapy books and monographs written from 1954 through June 2010 according to author, title, year of publication, publisher, and subject matter.

Chapter 1, "Music Therapy Education and Training in the United States," reviews the history of education and training and the guidelines that structure undergraduate and graduate university programs in the United States. It also considers how levels of practice relate to educational curricula and pedagogy. In connection with psychotherapeutic levels of therapy, Goodman poses thought-provoking questions at the end of this chapter about the challenges of ascribing degrees and specific certifications to therapists' roles.

Chapter 2, "Competency-Based Education and Training," reviews in detail the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA] professional competencies. Goodman's hope is that these competencies can be examined reflectively and "in a new light" (p. 24] in order to safeguard against the compartmentalization of music therapy skills and knowledge. Goodman provides historical background on the development of the competencies. Her analogical approach to key literature on education and training guidelines is helpful. I also appreciate her clearly stated viewpoint about linking teaching and clinical practice: "In considering our teaching of the undergraduate competencies, let us reflect, beyond mastery of skills, on the ways in which skills and areas of information can best be incorporated toward the goal of effective clinical practice" (p. 30). The discussion following each subsection of the competencies is pertinent for educators as is the inclusion of relevant literature. Goodman offers her own suggestions, questions, and thoughts "to spark your own spirit of integrative thinking, discussion and practice" (p. 32). Chapter 3, "Preprofessional Clinical Training," presents an overview of the structure, support, and supervision involved in practicum and internship.

Goodman reminds readers how im portant it is to link classroom education and clinical training: "How can we demonstrate and experience the components of the music therapy process in order to transfer, extend (in ways that may not be apparent from the stated competencies) and therefore integrate the ongoing development of music foundation skills and clinical foundation skills with those of music therapy foundations and principles?" (p. 63). Perspectives on the areas of assessment, treatment planning, intervention, evaluation, documentation, closure, professional roles and ethics, interdisciplinary collaboration, and supervision are discussed. This chapter provides useful information for both educators and clinical supervisors. Goodman's purpose, as in Chapter 2, is "to reframe the competencies with suggestions toward a deepening of experience with the music therapy process" (p. 78).

Chapter 4, "AdvancedCompetencies," reviews the history of how competencies and revised guidelines contributed to the development of master's degree programs in the United States. …

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