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MTAM Service Award

Jessica De Villers, MT-BC

Jessica De Villers, MT-BC 2021 MTAM Service Award Recipient
Nominated by Michelle Doree and Peter Meyer

Some of Ms. De Villers contributions to music therapy include being a clinician, author, instructor, and serving the music therapy community in multiple capacities. Ms. De Villers has worked as a music therapist for fourteen years. She has demonstrated nothing but care and compassion for her patients. This was evidenced not only through first-person observations but in conversation with her peers and her supervisors. During her time in long term care, she created innovative programming designed to bring living into end-of-life care.

In clinical work, Jessica has supervised practicum students and interns for more than ten years. She began the internship program at Woodbury Health Care Center and has supervised interns in long term care and with Allina Hospice. As a former practicum student of Jessica, I can personally speak to her style of supervision which is incredibly supportive allowing students the space for creativity but also providing the structure needed to feel secure in early clinical work.

She serves as an instructor at Augsburg University teaching functional music skills to the undergraduate students in their music therapy program. In 2010 she co-authored the book, Guitar Skills for Music Therapists and Music Educators which has become a standard text for students all over the nation.

Outside of educational and clinical work, Jessica has served the MN Music Therapy community as President-Elect, President, and Past President and as a member at large. Jessica was the GLR Conference Co-chair for the 2015 conference and served on the instrument committee for the National Conference in 2019. She has also served as the GLR Representative on the Professional Advocacy Committee.

Becky Pansch- Spring 2017
From Nomination Letter
Becky served a voluntary position for 11 years on the Minnesota Hospice and Palliative Care Education and Training Committee. Becky’s involvement with this committee has been greatly important to the increased awareness of music therapy and growth of jobs, thus increasing access of services to hospice patients and families. Through advocacy and education she gained the support of MNHPC and music therapy has become increasingly visible in conference presentations and educational materials.
Becky also had the support of MNHPC to recruit volunteer music therapists at their yearly conferences to play improvised music 15 minutes before each presentation. Conference attendees were able to experience music themselves and notice the physiological and mental effects. The presence of music therapists became instantly popular and has been requested each year. The yearly conference occurred earlier this month and many Minnesota music therapists were present to provide music and represent the field. MNHPC allows volunteer music therapists to attend for free. In past conferences she included a list of hospices that provided music therapy in the folders given to all attendees. MNHPC also now offers CMTE credits to music therapists.
Through Becky’s tireless efforts our Minnesota hospice community has become well educated on music therapy, and many job have been created. In fact, there are very few hospices in the metro area who do not offer music therapy. It has become the “norm” in service provision. As a result, many hospice patients and family’s lives have been touched by the involvement of music therapists on their care teams, powerfully providing meaningful support in a time of grief and loss.