A graduate of MHTP is called a Certified Music Practitioner (CMP). This specially-trained musician provides live acoustic music at bedside, one-on-one, for therapeutic purposes. A CMP’s work is focused on the patient with the aim of bringing in-the-moment comfort to the patient’s whole being—emotional, spiritual, mental, and physiological—simply by having the patient be in the presence of the music. A CMP uses only live music, and has no goal other than addressing a patient’s immediate needs to provide a healing environment.
How does a CMP use music therapeutically?
During the five MHTP modules, a student learns how to use live music therapeutically by:
- Applying elements of music to meet an individual patient’s condition in-the-moment
- Developing improvisational abilities
- Developing musicality, intonation, dynamics, and expression
- Understanding and applying Unitative Listening and entrainment
- Understanding the power of silence
- Using appropriate types of music to play/sing for specific conditions of individual patients
Is a CMP the same as a Music Therapist?
In a word, No!
The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) Sourcebook (2004) states, “Music Therapy is an established health care and human service profession using music to improve quality of life by optimizing health and wellness and addressing the needs of children and adults with disabilities or illness. Highly trained and nationally certified music therapists build on inherent qualities of music, using music and music activities in a focused and concentrated manner for healing and change, influencing physical, emotional, cognitive, and social responses. The profession of music therapy was established in 1950 as a result of work using music with patients in Veterans' Hospitals following World War II.” Go to the AMTA website for more about what music therapy is➚.
Music therapists, who receive college degrees, often actively engage patients in the music-making process; they have a rehabilitative plan of action and a measurable restorative goal for each music session. Music therapists frequently use recorded music. Further, traditionally trained music therapists do not typically think about the intrinsic healing properties of music. Rather, healing comes from engaging the patient in music and music-making. Early music therapists were ridiculed for claiming that music had healing properties, so the discipline became much more focused on using music clinically for behavior modification (per Prof. Barbara Crowe, Director of Music Therapy at Arizona State University and former President of the National Association for Music Therapy, NAMT).
It is critical that all students of MHTP and CMPs understand and honor this distinction.
CMPs must never call themselves a music therapist, nor even allow anyone else to call them a music therapist.