SMWC professor elected President of the Great Lakes region of the American Music Therapy Association

December 16th, 2011 | SMWC

Tracy Richardson, Ph.D., MT-BC, is a music therapy advocate known not only in Terre Haute, Ind., but across the country, as well.

A typical day for Tracy Richardson, Ph.D., MT- BC, makes even superwoman look like she’s dragging her feet. Richardson is no stranger to hard work; she oversees the music therapy programs at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC), the Maple Center and in the oncology unit at Union Hospital. Now, as the president of the Great Lakes Region of the American Music Therapy Association (GLR of AMTA), Richardson is spreading the healing power of music even further.

“Music therapy is a fantastic field,” said Richardson, who holds a bachelor’s in music therapy from SMWC, a master’s in agency counseling and a doctorate in counselor education, both from Indiana State University. “I want to do my part to make sure the profession moves forward.”

Music Therapy is an established health profession where board certified professionals use music to address physical, emotional and cognitive needs of individuals, according to AMTA’s website.

As president of the GLR of AMTA, a six-year commitment, Richardson is responsible for supporting AMTA’s mission in Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan. “It’s a big job and a lot of work,” Richardson began, “but it makes me much more aware of how music therapy operates as an organization.” Coordinating 15 delegates, overseeing committees, advancing knowledge of music therapy and acting as the liaison to the national association top off a long list of her presidential duties.

“Tracy can handle complex projects with admirable calm,” said Laurette Bellamy, Ph.D., a Sister of Providence and Richardson’s mentor during her undergrad days at The Woods. “She has developed innovative educational approaches and has a deep dedication to music therapy.”

As the leader of GLR of AMTA, Richardson helps music therapists exchange ideas with each other and stay informed of current trends. Even spread across the globe, students and graduates from SMWC’s music therapy master’s program, influenced by Richardson and other faculty members, also share their voices with AMTA. “Without Tracy’s vision, we would not be who we are professionally or personally,” said Annette Whitehead-Pleaux, M.A., MT-BC, a 2003 graduate of SMWC’s master’s program and a music therapist at Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Boston, Mass. “Tracy has most definitely made an extraordinary contribution to music therapy education and the entire profession of music therapy.”

Richardson was one of the very first graduates from SMWC’s undergraduate music therapy program in 1988. From that moment on, she has used her passion for music therapy and her dedication to The Woods to make a lasting impression on the world.

“I want to bring music therapy to as many people as possible,” said Richardson. “I want to make sure that people who need music therapy get music therapy.”

SMWC’s Master of Arts in Music Therapy program is approved by the American Music Therapy Association and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. The master’s program, offered at a distance, encourages each student to embrace his or her own theory to guide practice. For more information about SMWC’s music therapy master’s program, as well as the bachelor’s or equivalency programs, please visit Therapy or call (812) 535-5154.

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