One of the many areas every music therapist is required to demonstrate professional competencies within is Music Foundations. Consider the following taken from the AMTA Professional Competencies as listed on the AMTA website as of 9-25-10:
4.4 Play a basic repertoire of traditional, folk, and popular songs with or without printed music.
5.4 Perform a basic repertoire of traditional, folk, and popular songs with or without printed music.
6.3 Sing a basic repertoire of traditional, folk, and popular songs in tune with a pleasing quality.
Surveys and studies show that clinical Music Therapists use drums and percussion instruments more than any other instrument group. Most of these instruments come from cultures that have a rich musical heritage and long traditions with the use of drumming as a central part of their music and culture, often at the core of wellness and health-related processes. The traditional, folk, and popular music from many countries and cultures is largely expressed through drums and percussion instruments.
Compare the above skills with those listed under Percussion:
One might ask the question, “Why, when drums and percussion instruments are heavily used by music therapists, is there no minimum competency requirement to learn about the traditional, folk, and popular music that is common to drumming traditions?” Historically, there is precedent for the use of what the competencies list as “non-symphonic” and “ethnic” instruments, but those are focused on basic technique and caring and maintaining, rather than the music.
Could there be an additional ‘percussion skills’ competency?
What would a music therapist gain from meeting ‘competency 7.4’?
At a minimum, s/he would:
Additionally, s/he would likely also learn:
Supporting music therapists and helping them to meet “Competency 7.4,” is why Music Therapy Drumming exists. The goal of MTD is to help music therapists get the most out of the instruments and music that drumming-based traditions have to offer. To find out more, see the curriculum page and register for an upcoming MTD course.
MTD is an independent educational body, consisting of professional music therapist/percussionists. MTD is brand-neutral and not beholden to any outside groups, organizations, or corporations.