Danny Allen, MTA
How did you find out about music therapy as a profession?
“I first learned about music therapy during my final year of high school. I attended a university fair hosted at my school and Wilfrid Laurier University had a booth. I told them about my interest in studying music at post secondary, and they encouraged me to look up the WLU music therapy program. I did some research and was really intrigued at the concept. At the time I had been pursuing the music education stream but had been feeling slightly discouraged. Music therapy seemed like a new and innovative way to use my musical abilities to reach and connect with all different types of individuals. I applied/auditioned for the program, got accepted, and things progressed from there!
What really solidified my choice was the “Intro to Music Therapy” class I took in my second year, as well as my first clinical placement in third year. Those courses helped to demonstrate how a session could be facilitated, and reinforced my desire to complete the program and become a certified music therapist."
What are your hopes for music therapy in terms of equity, diversity, and cultural humility?
"First and foremost, I hope music therapists continue to grow as professionals but also as humans. We never stop learning and should strive to constantly develop our abilities in order to better connect with our clients.
I hope that music therapists going forward will work to respectfully learn and educate themselves on music from other cultures. During my undergraduate training I was taught how to use primarily Western Tonal music through structured songs and improvisation. Part of my training did spend some time studying music from other cultures, however it mostly revolved around learning one specific scale or skill. I do recognize that this is based on my perspective of the training, however it felt like there was a lack of balance. It is important to consider music from other cultures when facilitating sessions, but it is also important to spend the time and energy to learn and fully appreciate this music properly, just like we do with our classical music training. You cannot assume one type of music will carry you through your entire career.
I also hope music therapists continue to be mindful of the power and privilege we have, both clinically and musically. We are trained to use music to the highest level possible to help our clients, however have received that training based on the privilege of being able to attend university/college, receive music lessons, and have the unimpeded ability.”
- Danny Allen (@dannyallen)
Submitted in December 2020
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