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Music Therapy Education and Training

Music therapy education and training: From theory to practice, by Karen D. Goodman. Springfield: Charles C Thomas Publisher Ltd.(2011), 324 pp, ISBN 978-0398086091.

Reviewed by Simon Gilbertson, University of Bergen

Music therapy education and training: From theory to practice, by Karen D. Goodman. Springfield: Charles C Thomas Publisher LtdKaren Goodman’s landmark book, “Music therapy education and training: From theory to practice” provides a unique and excellent resource for the field of education and training in music therapy.

The beautifully printed and laid-out book is organized into seven chapters: Chapter 1. Music therapy education and training in the United States, Chapter 2. Competency-based education and training, Chapter 3. Preprofessional clinical training, Chapter 4. Advanced competencies, Chapter 5. Theories of teaching and learning, Chapter 6. Music therapy pedagogy, Chapter 7. Around the globe. The book also has two appendices and a comprehensive bibliography. Goodman has experience in music therapy education and training from over 3 decades that provides a fundamental core of experience that informs and supports the careful detail and comprehensive depth of the treatment of the selected topics and themes.

In the first chapter, the book focuses on an overview of the structure of music therapy programs in the United States, incorporating information on history, academic standards and related levels of practice according to education and training. In this chapter the reader is introduced to the many levels of education and training from undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate training and can read how these are related to the levels of practice suggested. The chapter is rich in information and presented in a clear and accessible way. It also provides the basis for a consideration of the competencies at entry-level music therapy studies as approved by the American Music Therapy Association in Chapter 2.

Chapter 2 is focused on introducing the reader to the relationship between entry-level competencies/requirements for fulfilling standards of practice and the implications and effects these have on music therapy education and training. Rather than simply presenting this information, Goodman provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on the topic by way of introducing a commentary on responses to the definitions of competencies and reaction to these definitions by educators. The chapter does an excellent job in raising an awareness of each of the areas of competencies through discussion sections related to each area. Though this section is based on the specific context in the United States and the AMTA Professional Competencies, the model of reflection on the topic can easily be used in consideration of competency-based education and training in education and training sites outside of the United States.
It is in Chapter 3 that Goodman takes the reader into the realm of pre-professional clinical training during practicum and internship phases. By considering the structure, support and supervision in relation to these phases, Goodman excellently highlights the nature of pre-professional clinical training and incorporates research on, and in these phases of music therapy training. The chapter is a valuable resource in identifying not only the ongoing student learning processes, but also the relational condition of clinical training by including supervisor relevant themes and topics. The chapter maintains the focus on AMTA approved competencies as in chapter 2.

Chapter 4 considers the educational and training of advanced competencies in music therapy. Based on the most current AMTA approval of advanced competencies that was made in 2009, chapter 4 provides a thorough and well-informed presentation of the topic. Maintaining also the pattern of presenting and explaining the competencies as in earlier chapters, Goodman then goes on in each area of competency with a discussion and critical reflection. It is in these discussions that Goodman’s wide range of experience and expertise as an educator comes to the fore. Rather than simply providing a bland listing of information, Goodman spices each of the discussions with pertinent and succinct widening and deepening of each of the issues considered.

Chapter 5 turns the reader’s attention to theories of teaching and learning leading through the themes of behaviorist, cognitive constructivist and social constructivist theories before turning to the topic of how teaching is molded to achieve intended learning outcomes. Goodman does this step by introducing theories on constructive alignment, stages of learning and categorizations of learning styles. This chapter is very useful in generating a bi-directional perception of the teaching and learning process, not resisting the temptation to solely focus on the learner, but also the educator. Importantly, throughout the book Goodman reminds the reader of the significance of learning for the teacher, and also how important it is for the educator to facilitate the student in learning how to learn, a core topic for educator and student alike.
Chapter 6 is a most valuable resource for the consideration of pedagogy in music therapy education and training. By tracing the study process from admission to completion and evaluation, Goodman provides a multitude of suggestions and critiques in advising, curriculum design, teaching, and evaluation techniques. The section on “Purposes and types of reading/writing/presentation in music therapy” is linked to a list of books published on music therapy in the book’s second appendix (Appendix B). The whole chapter is a trove of ideas, reflections and resources related to music therapy pedagogy and will certainly be highly useful for all involved in music therapy education and training.

The book focuses on the topic in the context of Karen Goodman’s own country of residence, United States of America, however, in the final chapter 7, Goodman provides a useful perspective on music therapy education and training in 30 countries from around the World. This adds to the usefulness of the book thus making the book relevant globally by adding perspectives towards and from the United States.

In addition to the seven chapters, the book has two appendices: Appendix A provides five addresses to “Major websites in music therapy for education and training resources.” The short length of this list hints towards an idea that a wider range of web-based resources related to music therapy education and training may offer additional channels of communicating and developing this aspect of the field of music therapy. Appendix B adds a very significant and useable list of “Books/monographs published in the English language in music therapy” from 1954 up to 2010 (including the book itself in 2011).

Finally, the bibliography of the book is in itself a significant contribution to the topic of music therapy education and training and will, along with the rest of the book certainly become a reference resource that will be most useful for those involved in the field. It is a very fitting conclusion to a book in which the writing ranges from easy-to-read introduction to topics, in-depth analysis of research fields and practices, and thought-extending questioning of core themes in music therapy education and training. In writing this book, Goodman has done an excellent service to the profession of music therapy.

By fusing information about the history, current standards, expectations and premises on which contemporary music therapy education and training is built, Karen Goodman provides the profession not only an excellent reference resource, but an opportunity for those involved in education and training to consider and re-consider the design, content and provision of their own educational and training processes. Simply put, this an essential book that demands consideration and reflection from all involved in music therapy education and training.

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