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Musician honored for lifetime achievement

Feb. 3, 2010

KALAMAZOO--The American Music Therapy Association has presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to a member of the Western Michigan University faculty.

Dr. David S. Smith, professor of music, received the honor during the association's 2009 national conference this past November in San Diego, Calif. The AMTA's first president, Smith guided the new organization in 1998 as it developed out of a merger of the National Association for Music Therapy and American Association for Music Therapy.

These were often strenuous times, the AMTA said, but Smith handled them with professionalism, enthusiasm and purpose, never losing sight of the goals of the unification agreement and working tirelessly to make them become a reality.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is the AMTA's most prestigious honor. It recognizes a lifetime of commitment and dedication to the profession of music therapy and is bestowed by the AMTA Board of Directors on individuals to signify their having a primary role in the establishment and continued growth of the profession.

Smith served as vice president and president-elect of the National Association for Music Therapy from 1994 to 1997, and in 1997 chaired the merger transition team.

The AMTA also has presented him with such national honors as the Presidential Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions, Outstanding Service Award, Spirit of Unification Award and Presidential Leadership Award. In addition, he is the recipient of the Southeastern Region's Service and Research awards.

A WMU faculty member since 1995, Smith serves as his department's graduate studies advisor. He is a specialist in secondary general music education and special learners. His research has appeared in a range of peer-reviewed publications, including the Journal of Music Therapy, General Music Today, Music Therapy Perspectives and Journal of the International Association of Music for the Handicapped.

Smith came to WMU from the University of Georgia, having taught previously at Florida State University and public schools in Florida and Michigan. He has served as the senior researcher on a program for the U.S. Administration on Aging Title IV.

He earned a bachelor's degree in music education from Greenville College in 1973, a master's degree in the same discipline from Michigan State University in 1979, and a doctoral degree in music therapy from Florida State University in 1987.

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Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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