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Red River Valley                                                                Summer 2017
A publication of the Southwestern Region of the American Music Therapy Association  

The Red River Valley presents ...
A Music Therapy Biography: Jacqueline Schmidt Peters

by ChihChen Sophia Lee

Jackie grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and received bachelor’s degrees in music therapy and music education from The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. While a student at UW-M, Jackie was secretary and parliamentarian for the meeting that formed The National Association for Music Therapy Students at the 1976 NAMT conference in Milwaukee.  After completing her internship at Essex County Hospital Center, a psychiatric hospital in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, Jackie worked in Chicago, Illinois, for two years as a music therapist at a residential skilled care facility for children with severe and profound multiple disabilities.

Jackie came to the Southwestern Region in August, 1981, when she moved to Dallas to pursue a Master of Music Therapy Degree at SMU, where she was also a graduate teaching and clinical assistant.  After receiving her MMT degree in May, 1983, Jackie worked at a nursing home for two years. From 1985-2002, she was a contract music therapist/music therapy consultant in the greater Dallas area, serving a wide variety of populations.  She also served as an adjunct instructor in music therapy at SMU in 1987 and 1988, and provided observation and field work/practicum experiences for music therapy students from SMU and TWU from 1983-1996.

Jackie gave numerous presentations at the local, regional, and national levels from 1981-2000, including guest lectures at colleges and universities, presentations and CMTE workshops at regional and national music therapy conferences, and staff development workshops for professional and paraprofessional groups.  She has had articles published in Music Therapy Perspectives, Music Therapy (the former journal for the American Association for Music Therapy), The Red River Valley, and The Voice of the Lakes.  Her textbook, Music Therapy: An Introduction (1st edition, 1987; 2nd edition, 2000), was used in music therapy programs across the country for many years.

Jackie served as President of the Southwestern Region from 1997-1999, during the unification of NAMT and AAMT.  Thus, she was the last regional president under NAMT and the first regional president under AMTA. Jackie was a representative to the Assembly of Delegates for many years, also serving the Assembly as parliamentarian in 1999.  In addition, she served on the regional and national Continuing Education Committees and on the Editorial Board of Music Therapy Perspectives.  In 2002, Jackie received the AMTA Award of Merit. In 2004, she received an AMTA Commendation for Outstanding Service to the Assembly of Delegates and the Music Therapy Profession and was also awarded Honorary Life Membership in the Southwestern Region.

When it became clear to Jackie that her lingering deficits from a series of stroke-like events would preclude a return to active music therapy practice, she gave a farewell presentation at the November, 2004, AMTA conference in Austin, Texas, sharing how her experiences dealing with personal neuro-motor, neuro-cognitive, and communication impairments provided new insights into clients, challenged her conceptions of most effective music therapy approaches, and suggested new ideas for music therapy practice and research. It was her hope that the information given in this presentation would result in some benefits for other patients experiencing neurological difficulties and provide a springboard of ideas for the further development of the use of music therapy in the treatment of patients with neurological challenges.

Since 2004, Jackie has disseminated books, music, and instruments she accumulated over her years of music therapy practice to former colleagues and to the music therapy departments at TWU and SMU.  She has tried to remain a friend to former colleagues and provide a listening ear or an encouraging word as needed.  She maintains a deep love of our profession and continues to extol and promote the benefits of music therapy whenever opportunities arise.

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