Profile of Community Music Therapists in North America: A Survey


  • Sandra L. Curtis Concordia University



community music therapists, profiles, professional identity, lives, practices, Canada and the United States of America, survey research


This study surveyed music therapists (682 respondents from 1,890 survey recipients) to examine their experiences in terms of reported perceptions of their situations, their practices, their approaches, and their personal, work, and family concerns. A first report from this survey (Curtis, 2013) looked at the experiences of present-day music therapists in Canada and the United States. This follow-up report examines the experiences of those survey respondents who self-identify as community music therapists (103 of the 682 survey respondents). Of those respondents, 13.6% were men and 86.4% were women. Canadians accounted for 18.4% and respondents from the US accounted for 81.6%. From among the entire 682 respondents, significantly more Canadians (55.4%) self-identified as community music therapists in comparison with their US counterparts (15.3%; p<.05). Quantitative and qualitative analyses provided information concerning Canadian and US Community Music Therapy respondents in terms of their: demographic information; education and work situations; personal, family, and work concerns; perceptions of discrimination; and theoretical orientations. Emerged themes from the qualitative analysis of respondents’ thoughts on Community Music Therapy included: firm identification; identification with a caveat; community building/belonging; drawing from Community Music Therapy principles; formal track record; reducing stigma; and working with groups. A need for future research (e.g., surveys, interviews, auto-ethnographies, etc.) into the profiles of community music therapists practicing in other parts of the world was highlighted.

Author Biography

Sandra L. Curtis, Concordia University

Sandra Curtis, PhD, MT-BC, MTA, is Professor, Graduate Music Therapy Program Director, and founder of the music therapy programs at Concordia University. She is an internationally-trained music therapist with more than 25 years’ experience in clinical practice, education, and research. Dr. Curtis specializes in work with survivors of violence, people with differing abilities, and in palliative care, with current research interests in Feminist Music Therapy and Community Music Therapy. She is recipient of a Social Justice Person Award (University of Windsor).




How to Cite

Curtis, S. L. (2015). Profile of Community Music Therapists in North America: A Survey. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 15(1).