Nevada Music Therapy Licensure Journey – Part 4

Music Therapy Licensure, legislature for Music Therapy LicensureThis is my final blog on successful legislative advocacy, addressing our failures and successes with legislation for Music Therapy Licensure. The following is a brief overview excerpted from upcoming presentations for the Online Conference for Music Therapy, February 18, 2012 at 06:15 GMT and the Western Region Conference in Salt Lake City, March 23, 2012 at 5pm.

Legislative Bills

As a result of teamwork, five music therapy licensure bills were introduced to the Nevada Legislature between 2007-2011. Two passed, one failed, one was written into the successful bill, and one bill converted to the other successful bill.  It sounds complicated even though in the moment everything seems perfectly clear – or not.  Immersing ourselves into the state legislative process with courage and commitment to finding out how it works – or doesn’t work – allowed us to fully blend with the myriad of pathways to successful legislation.  I urge you to connect with your district’s legislators from both houses so that they come to know and trust you. Relationships are so important for successful legislation.

  • Familiarize legislators with music therapy that connects to their personal interests.
  • Introduce legislators to music therapy resources within their district that may be outside their personal interest, but connects them to constituents.
  • Follow up constantly with legislators who are interested in pursuing state recognition music therapy licensure . Remember – it’s not about getting a job, but rather providing greater access to services, protecting the public, avoiding confusion, and regulating service provision by requiring credentials.

Success depends on your backbone, not your wishbone.” ~Unknown


Be willing to fail as you advocate for state recognition: we built success with final music therapy licensure passage from past failures. And remember – it’s easier to apologize if a mis-step is made: claim ignorance then move on.

“A successful man is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him.” ~David Brinkley

A federal music therapy grant I submitted for $1.6 million was scored high and recommended for funding, but national disasters re-routed funding to other areas. Medicaid approved then rescinded music therapy provider approval. The military mental health network declined music therapy provider status due to lack of a state license. State recognition was divided between north and south for reimbursing music therapy for children with Autism. Senate Bill SB558 (2007) appeared dead but was actually added to Senate Bill SB579 for passage in the “nth hour.” Assembly Bill AB445 (2009) failed miserably.

“Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”  ~Henry Ford

Music Therapy Licensure Successes in Nevada

  1. Senate Bill SB 579 for Music Therapy Equipment Statewide (2007) $109,590
  2. Fund for a Healthy Nevada music therapy programs (2008-10) $305,798
  3. University of Nevada, Las Vegas adding a music therapy degree program to their strategic plan with the first class taught (Fall, 2009)
  4. Senate Bill SB190 for Music Therapy State Licensure (2011)

Final Thoughts

If you don’t understand fully what state recognition means, I humbly share that I didn’t understand it either when I began the journey in 2004  nor when I scheduled two legislative events with only 30 days notice in 2007.  So *you* too can grow your personal advocacy journey, spreading your passion, to achieve state music therapy licensure recognition! Your journey will be different than Nevada’s journey because your state has different governance, advocates, opposition, and funding. I accept the best for your path as we grow our music therapy profession together!

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”  ~Vince Lombardi


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