Music Therapy...no joke!

Memorial Day brought a barbeque with some friends. Actually we only knew the couple that invited us, and met a whole bunch of new people. During the course of the conversation, someone asked me about the G Mountain Ocarina I typically wear around my neck. A lot of people can't guess what it is and it prompts them to inquire about it.

By this time the person knew I am a music therapist. When I explained that I was wearing an ocarina, and further explained that an ocarina is a vessel flute, the person responded with, "Oh, is that in case someone needs some emergency music therapy?"

I laughed off the comment and said, "Of course" or something like that. But that got me to thinking...

Sometimes people really do think music therapy is a joke.

I can't say that I've ever heard someone joke about emergency physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy...so why joke about music therapy?

I am blessed to work in a facility where most of my co-workers have seen the power music therapy can have. There was one time when the rather dramatic comment "We need music therapy in there...STAT!" was made. I genuinely laughed about that one.

But it seems like there is part of the population out there that is going to make light of things they don't understand no matter what. Maybe they think it's fluffy new age stuff (not that I have anything against new age...)

Maybe they think, like my cooperating teacher for my undergrad student teaching, that music therapy is just playing records for old people in nursing homes...you really need a degree for that?

Maybe they don't understand the education and training we have...I just had a patient say to me yesterday, "So you're a music therapist? Do you have a degree?"

I don't mean to get all serious and heavy duty here, but sometimes it hurts when it seems like people are making light of the beautiful and wonderful thing that is music therapy.

So what am I going to do when the jokes roll in? I'll smile, maybe even laugh (because if we can't laugh at ourselves, we might as well hang it up!) and I'll gently and persistently educate...because to quote from Steve Vai:

I am fearless in my heart

They will always see that in my eyes

I am the Passion; I am the Warfare

I will never stop

Always constant, accurate and intense