A personal reflection on challenges facing music therapy education, training and clinical practice


  • Amy Clements-Cortes Managing Editor, Music and Medicine Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Faculty of Music




education & training, music therapy, systemic issues, collaboration, advocacy, knowledge translation


Music used in connection with health and wellness is not a new concept. Music therapy is one discipline that uses music and has developed at various speeds internationally. Since the day I first learned about music therapy I have been advocating further understanding of the discipline, and for its inclusion in multiple contexts. I situate myself in the paper with the start of my own journey into music therapy and provide a short personal reflective overview of three overarching issues I see impacting education, training, and clinical practice of music therapy and its continued development. The World Federation of Music Therapy and the International Association for Music and Medicine will be briefly described with respect to their impact as two large international organizations seeking to advance music therapy and music medicine in healthcare. The essay is offered as an opportunity for educators, practitioners, and researchers to consider and reflect on the factors they see impacting our profession to work towards advancing music therapy and actioning the challenges facing the discipline. Some action steps are offered such as ensuring ethical practice, continuing advocacy efforts, increasing opportunities and avenues of knowledge translation, and developing collaborations. It is hoped that reflecting on these experiences will further dialogue to advance different, non-Western perspectives of music therapy, and to learn how to honor multiple ways of supporting therapeutic music and healing experiences without centering Western approaches or perspectives.