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The following information is in reference to Chapter 19, page 255 of The Power Of Sound.

Forget the Funding. Let’s Do it Anyway!

In the Fall of 2007, Lisa Rafel and I thought we could raise $10,000 to host a conference in a lovely retreat setting to discuss our concerns with esteemed colleagues, and set action plans for the creation of some kind of professional entity that could help guide the growth of our field. Would we be a guild, a union of sorts, a professional association? We didn’t know . . . but with intent hearts we sent out letters of inquiry to fifteen peers, requesting their presence. Our selection criterion was a demonstrated commitment to the field of soundwork, the ability to work collaboratively, and the willingness to check egos at the door.

We had a great response from program creators, authors, philosophers, clinicians, product creators, and educators. However, the grant we had hoped for did not materialize. Lisa and I re-contacted our initial invitees with the news. We re-invited them to meet at Lisa’s lovely home in Oakland, California. Everyone would have to cover their own transportation and hotel expenses. We were concerned that people would not come, but what a wonderful surprise. Everyone still came! They believed, like Lisa and me, that the time was overdue for a professional association that would inspire it’s members, educate the public, and keep the field of soundwork integral to its sacred roots.

Here is a copy of the original invitation letter.

December 29, 2007

Dear Soundwork Colleague,

During the past year, the growing interest in the field of Sound, and its many manifestations, has become obvious. As evidenced in multiple national conferences, there is enthusiastic excitement as people promote new thoughts, science, research, and technology, add venues to demonstrate and teach their discoveries, and release products of every stripe into the marketplace. As any field develops and expands there is a need to self-organize and create a roadmap that elevates to greater levels of professionalism and legitimacy. We believe that the time for us to shape this conversation is at hand.

Movement is underway to create a professional association. Now more than ever, there is the need to address different elements (i.e. schools, therapeutic professionals, products), and create appropriate ethical guidelines and standards.

We are convening a facilitated group of Soundwork leaders to formally discuss and set the basis of this association. For maximum efficiency, only twelve are being invited to create an organizing committee. The date is Feb 29-March 2, 2008. We will meet in a lovely private home in the SF Bay Area. Our hosts are going to coordinate housing in local friend’s guestrooms (or you can spend your own dollars in a local hotel, if you prefer). Home-cooked meals will be provided. What we need from you is a desire to participate and to cover your own transportation to the event.

We would love to have you be a part of this convening of elders. We all have a legacy to pass forward and want to make sure that our decades of work do not become regulated or dishonestly exploited by forces outside of our community.

Are you interested? Would you be available? We’d love to have you attend. If not, your input will be invaluable. If you cannot make this first organizing meeting, there will be other opportunities later in the year.

Drop us a line at your earliest convenience and let us know . . .

And hopefully ink in these dates of Friday evening, 2/29, through Sunday evening, 3/2.

All best wishes for your happy and healthy New Year.

-Joshua Leeds and Lisa Rafel

SAMA Founders

The March ’08 organizing meeting was held and greatly successful. In a facilitated setting led by Dr. David Surrenda, an organizational theorist and psychologist, we accomplished much. Over the course of 72 hours, we certainly slept little. We met in small and large working groups, thought and discussed until we couldn’t anymore, and reveled in the awareness that we were doing something of a historic nature.

In attendance were eleven SAMA founders:

• Donna Carey, LAc, Co-Creator of Acutonics®

• Pat Moffit Cook, Ph.D., Director, Open Ear Center

• Barbara J. Crowe, MT-BC, Director of Music Therapy at Arizona State University

• Ellen Franklin, CEO, Kairos Institute of Sound Healing

• Melinda Gardiner, RN, Director, Music for Healing and Transitions Program

• Arthur Harvey, DMA, Educator, Sound Pioneer

• Joshua Leeds, Author, Music producer

• Lisa Rafel, Sound healer, spiritual teacher

• Therese Schroeder-Sheker, Founder, Chalice of Repose Project

• David Surrenda, Ph.D., Founder & Dean, JFKU’s Graduate School of Holistic Studies

• Christina Tourin, Founder, International Harp Therapy Program

At the conclusion of this first organizing meeting, we left with abundant committee tasks ahead and agreed to meet every six months. Oh yes, and after three days, we had a name with an auspicious abbreviation–SAMA!

By 2009, a board of directors and governance procedures were in place. We appointed a board of advisors and filed for not-for-profit tax status, as a 501(c )6 membership organization. The SAMA board of directors continues to be an active working board (including many advisory board members) with a dozen committees. We continue to meet in person bi-annually with multiple weekly committee teleconferences, and monthly board of directors teleconference meetings.

Commitment for Professional Ethics

The Sound and Music Alliance has placed a high priority on crafting an inclusive Code of Professional Ethics that all members will embrace.  The Code can be found on the SAMA website. The underlying principles are reflected below.

SAMA was formed for the purpose of promoting and supporting the professional use of sound and music throughout the entire spectrum of life, and in every possible setting and application. To further this goal, and in order to honor the diversity of our respective fields, we recognize the need for an inclusive Code of Professional Ethics that encompasses all aspects of the field—including clinical practice, education, research standards, product claims, and more.

The Ethics Committee of SAMA has worked to formulate a code that encompasses the traditional tenants of professional behavior, while also approaching ethical issues from a place of vision and intention. SAMA is in a unique position to incorporate the principles and standards of practice from many diverse fields that utilize the transformative power of sound and music. SAMA also chooses to develop this code in light of newer, emerging approaches that avoid sterile legalism and instead, highlight the potential and subtlety of relationship, exchange, interconnectedness, holism, and so forth.

The SAMA Code of Ethics is a work in progress that integrates a variety of approaches to ethics and ethical behavior to create a new synergy that supports the basic intention of “do no harm.” To date, the Code addresses issues of professional behavior in a number of areas, including but not limited to:

• Professional competence and responsibilities

• Relationships and boundaries

• Truthful representation and communication

• Social awareness

• Integrity in practice

• Education and training

• Research

• Announcement of services

• Product claims

• Implementation of the Code


Options for joining SAMA have been crafted to honor the diversity of the respective fields and the growing interest and support of the various professional competencies. There are three levels of SAMA Membership from which to choose. Professional Membership is offered to qualified individuals and organizations incorporating the intentional use of sound and music in their work. Allied members are individuals and organizations not primarily focusing on sound and music and are interested in these fields. Student Members are studying to become professionals in the field. SAMA also welcomes those who choose to become friends of our association. All members agree to abide by and uphold the SAMA Code of Ethics.

Editor’s note: In 2011, SAMA was closed by it’s board of directors. While a noble effort of good intention, the time was apparently not right for this organization, as envisioned above.

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