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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 27, 2021 09:03 AM
From: Senator Elder A. Vogel, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Music Therapy License
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce SB 767 of last session that would license Professional Music Therapists and place them under the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors.

In order to become a board-certified music therapist, one must obtain a bachelor’s degree in music therapy, complete 1200 clinical hours that includes a 6-month, full-time internship, and pass the board certification exam by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Additionally, 100 continuing education credits must be obtained every five years to maintain board certification including credits specifically related to ethics. 

Music therapy is an evidence-based healthcare profession that uses music as the stimulus to achieve specific therapeutic objectives. Music therapists serve clients with a variety of clinical needs, including  veteran’s suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), persons with dementia/Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, cerebrovascular accidents (strokes), mental health issues such as depression and anxiety; developmental differences including autism spectrum disorders, pain management, hospice and end-of-life and more.

Music therapists assess and create treatment plans that use music interventions to achieve treatment goals.  Example goals may be to stabilize the gait of someone with Parkinson’s; restore/rehabilitate motor skills with stroke survivors; increase a premature infant’s oxygen saturation in the NICU; help a child with Autism sing “I love you” to their mother.  Music interventions include active music-making through instrument playing or singing, moving to live or recorded music, therapeutic singing, structured music listening, song writing, lyric discussion, music performance, and learning life skills through original and individualized songs. The clinical application of music has the potential to stimulate and improve a person’s physical, cognitive, social, personal, communication, and emotional development.

It is estimated that music therapists serve over 49,000 Pennsylvania residents each year. Constituents in 80% of PA counties receive music therapy. There are currently 10 Pennsylvania universities offering bachelor’s through doctoral degrees in music therapy. In fact, Pennsylvania houses the largest amount of higher education programs for music therapy in the country.

Previous cosponsors of the bill include Senators: Blake, Brewster, Costa, DiSanto, Gordner, Haywood, Hutchinson, Sabatina, Schwank, Stefano and J. Ward.
Please join me in supporting this legislation to ensure our constituents are getting quality care and to increase access to quality music therapy services.

Introduced as SB1239