Sandy’s bio and interview
Sandy Pelley is an Accredited Music Therapist who owns and runs Creative Music Therapy Solutions and Music Therapy Suite as well as has a small clinical practice, working mostly with children on the autism spectrum. She graduated in 1989 with a diploma from Capilano, returning to Capilano University and receiving her degree in 1994. Sandy also has a BA in Psychology from Simon Fraser University. Sandy has been a member of both the MTABC and the CAMT since 1987. She has been the Accreditation Chair for the CAMT, and a Regional Representative, as well as currently sits on the board for the Canadian MusicTherapy trust fund.
Q: Tell us about your Music Therapy education?
A: I originally received my diploma in music from Capilano University in 1989 after studying there for two years. Then when they added the degree program, I went back and received my Music Therapy degree in 1994. I also received a B.A. in psychology from Simon Fraser University in 1992.
Q: What populations do you work with?
A: Presently, the majority of my work is with the geriatric population. Both in extended care and intermediate care. I also do some work with children and teenagers, specializing in head injuries and autism.
Q: What are the highlights of your work?
A: I love working with the elderly, they are so appreciative and eager for Music Therapy programs. As well, we can learn so much from them as they have the years of accumulated knowledge and wisdom. Another highlight is trying new programs. I recently implemented a Music Appreciation group, which I thoroughly enjoy and is very popular with the residents. One last highlight is the working with children. In this setting, I can witness first hand how they learn and relearn when it was previously thought to be next to impossible.
Q: What about Music Therapy presents the greatest challenge?
A: Educating others on what Music Therapy is and what are the benefits of it.
Q: Tell us about CMTS – What is it? How did it start?
A: Creative Music Therapy Solutions is a company about fulfilling a need that I saw within my own practice. Because I have always done contract work, whenever I would take my two weeks vacations, the RT’s would inform me that they wished that I had a replacement Music Therapist because this meant that they would have no Music Therapy for a total of three weeks, and that the residents were the one that really missed out. This planted a seed many years ago. As time went on I would jot down my ideas. Finally when we moved into our house from our apartment, I finally had the space to start my business.
Another factor was (after I had already decide upon my business name – Creative Music Therapy Solutions) I was trying to find something catchy with my phone number like 597-HELP or something like that. Well I discovered that my phone number was 534-CMTS. This felt like a sign to me, hence CMTS was born.
Q: How does it work?
A: When a Music Therapist (MT) is going away on vacation, maternity leave, taking a leave of absence or is sick, they would phone my service. I would then fill out a brief intake questionnaire, which tells me all of the pertinent information of the job (e.g. population, address, special instructions etc.). Next I would match a MT who lives in the area as well as has the experience with their population, and is available on those days and times. The contract includes a statement that the replacement MT can not take the job away from the original Music Therapist, as well as when and where the contract takes place.
The replacement MT would then (whenever possible) go out and train with the original Music Therapist. The replacement MT would then fill in for the regular Music Therapist. Afterwards I will either phone or send a questionnaire out to the original MT as a quality assurance measure.
Q: Can the facility approach you first, or does it have to be a MT?
A: I have not yet advertised my services to the facilities but I am thinking of doing so in the near future. So presently, I expect that it would be via the MT’s.
Q: It sounds great, how do I get in touch with you to get more information?
A: You can reach me by phoning 597-CMTS (2687) or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out the contact form on this page.