What does “assessment” mean in music therapy?

In my experience, I’ve found the word “assessment” to be a VERY broad term. In some agencies, an assessment is a process that happens prior to a person receiving any music therapy services, sort of a “test” to see if the person is eligible. In some agencies, an “assessment” is a basic form – formal paperwork designed to justify writing a check to a music therapist or to verify that funds are being spent properly. In some cases, the assessment is a process that allows the music therapist and treatment team see a snapshot of a person at a specific point in time – providing information for developing a plan to address areas of deficit/need and to enhance areas of strength. Some agencies/funding sources use the term “assessment” to indicate an annual update/progress report. Some agencies expect MT’s to use their pre-packaged assessments, and some expect music therapists to develop their own. Some want succinct check-lists, and others want detailed narratives. Some want a one-time one-hour assessment, and other want the therapist to interview families/staff/other therapists, to observe person in a variety of settings, and to spend extended time getting to know the person before submitting a report. I could write forever about even more observations I’ve made in my work and in conversations with other music therapists, but, instead, I’ll just send readers of this blog post a complimentary copy of our “Assessments Toolbox” from MusicWorksPublications.com. And I’ll be happy to send a complimentary copy – sort of a “Celebrate Summer” gift – to anyone who wants to send me an email request <CathyKnoll@MusicWorksPublications.com>