Top 3 Barriers to Starting a Music Therapy Program
You’ve been interested in starting a music therapy program with your business or organization, but something is holding you back. Chances are, it’s one of these three barriers.
If you’re a business owner, budget is always at the forefront of the decisions you make. In fact, it can trump even the best services that you want to provide, because if the money isn’t there, the service can’t be either.
But when you start to think about budget in terms of how to most effectively use your resources for a desired outcome (instead of how to fit your budget into a what seems most urgent at the time), it can open your entire world and make your resources work for you instead of against you.
Stephen Covey introduces the time and resource management matrix in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. He illustrates that most people spend their time and resources in Quadrants I and III, addressing issues that are urgent: whether they are important or not.
In business this includes putting out fires and doing or paying for seemingly urgent items that need to be done in that moment. Therefore, most businesses operate in the urgency quadrants, while wishing they could put a little more attention on other items that are also important, but are not urgent (Quadrant II).
So in your organization, how much of your budget is geared toward Quadrant II?
If you’re like most organizations, not much.
The most effective organizations operate primarily in Quadrant II–those items that are important but not urgent. This is made possible by prioritizing that which is of most worth to the company, and ruling out anything that is getting in the way of that vision. This practice of prioritization often frees up resources that were previously thought to be needed, but which were simply urgent but not important.
It’s in Quadrant II that real effectiveness is born, problems are prevented, growth takes place, and new opportunities arise. And it takes a proactive and healthy business to schedule those priorities well enough to make room for the most effective resources. One such effective but often overlooked resource is music therapy.
Music therapy tends to fall into Quadrant II. It may not be urgent when it comes to making your organization work from day to day, but it is extremely important in promoting the health and effectiveness of your program.
In many cases it makes all the difference.
Having music therapy is like daily exercise or healthy eating–in the moment it may be easy to put off and justify doing something of lesser value (like a curriculum based music class or bringing in a music volunteer), but in the long run those less valuable choices will lead to declined health and other problems.
In fact just this week I talked with an organization who had been interested in music therapy, but in order to save money they decided to go with a cheaper alternative and offer music classes to their clients with a regular curriculum based music program. After a few months they realized that the clients were not progressing, needs were being overlooked, and the music ‘teacher’ was not trained in how to manage the vast needs of their clients.
So they called us to set up the program they wished they would have initiated in the first place. They realized that music therapy is a highly valuable, far reaching, and evidence based service, and as such it will elevate their company to a whole new level of health and influence.
So the question is, what are you spending money on in Quadrants III and IV that can be allocated to the most valuable Quadrant II where music therapy is waiting?
It’s a question that only your team can answer. And it’s based on what is most valuable to you.
Which leads us to the next barrier–do you see the value of music therapy?
#2 You see music therapy as an “extra” (aka don’t see the value)
We often find that one or more decision makers does not yet see the value when looking to start a music therapy program. In fact, most companies tend to see music therapy as “extra”, “fluffy”, or a “bonus” therapy, which tends to imply that it is of lesser value than other “essential” therapies.
In these cases, it’s a matter of education.
We typically recommend that decision makers observe music therapy firsthand to grasp the value of what they could be offering their patients. We provide that opportunity by offering a complimentary trial session to anyone considering designing a program. That way you can see for yourself if it’s a good fit, and you can get a sense of the impact it would have on your clients and your organization.
Because really, when one sees what music therapy can do, the difference it can make in people’s lives, and the endless benefits it brings to the table, it becomes clear that this is no “fluffy extra service”. It’s a hard core evidence based powerhouse. It’s value far exceeds what many have come to understand, and it’s just waiting for you to apply it in your space!
Research shows that music therapy produces results that are equal to or even exceed those of other services, and it does it in a way that your clients, students, or patients will LOVE. So once you bring it to your organization you’ll walk away the hero, having given something to your people that they so desperately needed, but had no idea how to get You can bring it to them.
When you offer music therapy you offer a service that is jam packed with value.
Once you get started you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.
#3 You’re unsure about Cost Effectiveness of Music Therapy (aka is it in the Budget?)
So with all of this talk about prioritizing resources to make it fit within the budget and seeing the value of music therapy, how do you know if it will actually have an impact on your patients or clients? And will that impact be significant enough to make the investment cost effective for your organization?
When answering this question it is critical to remember that measuring cost effectiveness is more than simply evaluating the dollars and cents–it is about assigning value to the outcome.
Music therapy is jam packed with value because it accesses and affects the whole human experience. When we work with a group of clients on a specific area like social skills, they will not only progress socially, but they will ALSO make valuable gains in other key areas including emotional regulation, communication, and relationship building.
Perhaps you hire a music therapist to help your clients work through difficult emotions such as grief, depression, or anxiety. In the time we work on those areas and help your clients make meaningful gains in working through emotions, they will also feel more connected to others, learn to express themselves in healthy ways, and feel more empowered in their own healing process.
In other words, the “side effects” of music therapy could be labeled as “will likely make improvements in unanticipated areas”.
So while you are investing your valuable resources to bring in music therapy to serve one purpose for your clients, they will also make gains in other areas that you may not have anticipated.
And the value with music therapy doesn’t end with your clients. It can also boost staff morale, contribute to marketing efforts, and attract new clients as they see the value in your program and that you are investing in those Quadrant II services. Music therapy will set you apart.
And you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner.
Want to learn more? Contact us today to schedule a complimentary trial session or to get all of your questions answered by our team. We’re ready to serve you!