Therapeutic Musician Training Programs
There are basically three types of therapeutic musician training programs: classroom-taught, online with some on-site requirements and self-paced independent study.
The National Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians (NSBTM) is a 501(c)3 organization consisting of leaders in the therapeutic music field who work together to develop and maintain standards for therapeutic training programs and their graduates. Alice is has served on the Board of Directors since 2010 and is currently the Board Treasurer.
The following programs are accredited by the NSBTM. Students receiving certification through one of these programs have met a common set of minimum standards set by the Board that include an extensive curriculum, musical proficiency and at least 45 hours of hospice/hospital internship playing at bedside. There are also other programs which are recognized locally by health care organizations in their parts of the country, but which are not nationally accredited.
The Music for Healing and Transition Program (www.mhtp.org) is one of the original and is the biggest of the training programs. Melinda Gardiner is the Executive Director. Training modules are taught at many locations around the US. I know a number of graduates of this program and all were happy with their training. However, if classes are not conducted close to you, it could require a lot of travel (and related expenses). This program accepts many instruments and voice for therapeutic musician training. Graduates are known as Certified Music Practitioners (CMP).
The International Harp Therapy Program (harprealm.com) directed by Christina Tourin differs a little from other programs in that it is limited to harp players and frequently the patient is involved in playing the harp too. Modules are taught at various locations around the world. Students can also start the program using home-study DVDs and classes are offered over the Internet starting each September. A one-week internship is required at the end of the training in San Diego. Alice maintains a current certification in this program. Graduates are known as Certified Therapeutic Harp Practitioners (CTHP).
The Clinical Musician Home Study Course (www.harpforhealing.com) was started by Laurie Riley (also one of the founding members of MHTP) and is now run by Dee Sweeney in Denver. This program is a 2-level, self-paced course open to other musicians as well as harpists. Alice is certified in this program and also works as a mentor with a number of current students. This program is a good choice for individuals who do not live near formal training opportunities. Each student is assigned a mentor who can help as much or as little as needed with the program. Graduates are known as Certified Clinical Musicians (CCM).
The International Healing Musician's Program (www.healingmusician.com) was run by Stella Benson (a former board member and instructor for MHTP). This program has ceased to offer introductory training classes and graduates have transferred to either the International Harp Therapy Program or the Clinical Musicians Program. Stella is now running the Healing Musician’s Center with a primary purpose of providing continuing education services (CEUs) for those who cannot easily travel to advance their therapeutic musician skills. The Center offers a wide variety of learning tools including books, recordings and live webinars. See www.healingmusician.com/workshops.html for more information. Since every NSBTM accredited program requires 10 continuing education units (CEUs) per year, the Healing Musician’s Center provides an excellent resource for all therapeutic musicians. Former IHMP graduates were known as Certified Healing Musicians (CHM) and this was the program Alice started her therapeutic musician training with in 2008.