10 Ways for Music Therapists to Start the Year Off Right

Get Organized Each year, there are several things I like to do to get my year started off right. These things help me to stay on top of some tasks that don’t need much attention throughout the year, but do need attention at least once per year. So each January, there are certain things I make sure are checked off my “to-do” list by the end of the month.

1. Update your resume/CV. I am not looking for a job, but you never know when you will have to! Plus, many applications for grants or scholarships or awards ask for your resume. It’s not as big a task if I take care of updating it each year to send it out when I need to.

2. Review the Music Therapy Scope of Practice, Certification Board for Music Therapy Board Certification Domains and Code of Professional Practice and the American Music Therapy Association Standards of Practice, Professional Competencies, and Code of Ethics. Often, these are updated at national conference (at least the AMTA documents are) and it’s a good idea to review these annually so that you can keep these in your mind as you work with your clients. When I review these, I often get some new ideas that I can incorporate into my business or my practice, too.

3. Clean your instruments. JoAnn Jordan suggested this on her site and it’s a great idea to clean all your instruments, take an inventory, and reorganize your supplies. This helps me refresh my session planning and try incorporating new ideas into my sessions.

4. Change your guitar strings. I probably don’t change my guitar strings as often as I should, so I use the new year as a reminder to take care of this task.

5. Clean off your desk. I can think better when my desk is clear. Plus, it helps me find things I meant to take care of that got buried under other papers. I cleaned out my email inboxes too!

6. Update your mileage trackers. Now is the time to prepare for the new tax year, too, by closing out the mileage calculations from last year and beginning your mileage tracking system for this year.

7. Submit your continuing education credits to CBMT. It’s easier to remember what continuing education events you participated in last year, than it is over 5 years when your recertification is due. And now you can do it online.

8. Review the CBMT Recertification Manual. JoAnn’s article on New Year’s Cleaning also suggested assessing what continuing education needs you have. After turning in my credits for the year, I like to review the manual so that I know what documentation will be required if I’m audited and so that I can pick some new ways to get credits.

9. Set professional goals. I like to challenge myself by reading new books or presenting or planning new marketing ideas. So take some time to set some attainable goals and schedule time to address them.

10. Review your work routines. Do you have them? Are they still working for you? Identify areas of your business that you can “automate” by creating routines.

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