Often, I come into contact with educators who both celebrate and bemoan the creation of Google. Proponents of Google may point to the Google search engine and Google’s many associated products such as Google Maps, Google Docs and Google+ as evidence of the positive nature of the entity known simply as “Google”.
Critics, however, point to the “popularity” contest that puts more popular results at the top of the list. Indeed, a whole industry know as “Search Engine Optimization (SEO)” has been built around the idea of using specific words to place your content higher in the search results of a search engine such as Google. Others criticize search engines, and the result loss of “memory and retention of information” as discussed in a recent post by Kirsten Winkler. Some secondary and post-secondary academic institutions go as far as banning student use of Google when seeking answers and bibliographic source material. Finally, others point to the fact that students have lost the ability to research information for themselves and rely on search engines such as Google to “find the answer”.
Finding the answer is only part of the equation and it is probably the wrong question to be asking. More important are the questions: How do I find the most relevant information in my quest for further information? (in a literal sea of results) and How do you know if the information is trustworthy or correct? As we know, anyone, from anywhere, can post something on the Internet that may be the full truth, the half-truth or nothing but a fully-baked, outright lie. As well, we are finding out that it is quite literally impossible to “take down” an artifact from the internet once it has been published, even if it has been proven to be a pure fabrication of the truth.
JUST FOR FUN: Try “Googling” yourself and see what comes up in the results! Are the results relevant and accurate or do they present an overall image of you that you would rather others not see?
So what, if any, trustworthy sources of information are available regarding the profession and practice of music therapy?
1. AMTA website – This past week saw the introduction of a brand-new, redesigned, website for the American Music Therapy Association. This organization has long been a pre-eminent source for information and news concerning music therapy and it is the oldest organization representing music therapists and music therapy practice in the world. Revision of the website was long overdue and for the most part it is now more friendly, intuitive, and allows you to view the latest multimedia and social networking updates. (AMTAInc can also be found on Facebook, @AMTAInc on Twitter, and AMTAmusictherapy’s Channel on YouTube).
NOTE: Regarding the later (the YouTube channel) – be cautious because I am not sure how many of the videos have been actually vetted by AMTA and what videos have been included because they mention “music therapy”.
2. WFMT website – The website of the World Federation of Music Therapy is also a great resource for individuals seeking more information about music therapy across the globe. Dr. Petra Kern and her colleagues at WFMT have done a wonderful job of providing an up-to-date, and informative website. Special mention goes to the Regional Liason Blog Archive and the Publication Center.
3. Voices e-journal – this free online journal is published three times a year. However, don’t let the price fool you – this is a top-notch, quality journal. In addition to the journal articles, you can also find regular columns about music therapy, the “country of the month” feature and non-moderated and moderated discussions about music therapy. I particularly like the insights into music therapy practice in various undeveloped countries, and the aspect of social justice that permeates many of the articles/discussions.
I’ll be continuing this discussion in a few days. In the meantime let me know what you consider to be your most favorite, and/or trusted sites for information concerning music therapy and the practice of music therapy.