Highlights from #AMTA11

By November 22, 2011 Ideas

Wow! What a conference! I am totally on a music therapy mountaintop, and I can’t wait to see what unfolds this next year. Here are a few highlights from my conference experience in Atlanta.

1. Idea-sharing

I was fortunate enough to get to talk with some real music therapy rock stars this year. Being a part of the panel facilitated by Kimberly Sena Moore was most definitely a highlight. It was so interesting to hear how people use social media to advocate for the field of music therapy, as well as to promote their own companies and personal brands. For a picture of the panelists, check out the link to Kimberly’s site. Links to the other stellar panelists can be found in my earlier post, Five Things I’m Going to Do at Conference 2011.

I also got to speak with some experts about my lullaby CD and got some great feedback. It’s validating to know that the concept makes sense to them.

Some foreshadowing: Rachel Rambach and I chatted about balancing the roles of music therapist and gigging musician. The conversation is going to continue, and could very well turn into a presentation… šŸ˜‰

2. The Music

Drumming seemed to predominate conference this year. I’m primarily a guitarist, but I thought this was awesome. Opening session featured Japanese Taiko drumming. It was as visually exhilarating as it was rhythmically exciting. And for the closing ceremonies, we did it all again with another drum group. There appears to be a threshold where, if the drumming gets to just the right point, people can’t resist getting up and moving. We got there many, many times.

3. Iowa Moments

I received my bachelor’s degree at the University of Iowa, and I’m currently doing graduate work there. Naturally, I felt a strong sense of pride when Dr. Adamek won the Merit award and when Dr. Gfeller won the Research award. I feel fortunate to be a part of that program, and am equally excited about what other Iowa graduates are doing.

4. Uniting and Reuniting (and it felt so good!)

It is always good to see old friends. It is true that the field is rapidly growing. However, it is still small enough that relationships are maintainable from year to year. This being my 5th national conference, I am starting to recognize some of the same characters who come each year. And because of social media and other communication forms, I arrived already having established “digital relationships” with some people. It is amazing how tools like twitter can build relationships before ever meeting someone in person!

5. Evidence of Understanding

Over the last year, the field of music therapy received quite a bit of good press. This was highlighted at #AMTA11. Jodi Picoult published Sing You Home, a book about a music therapist. The Music Never Stoppedwas featured at the Sundance Film Festival. Music therapy was credited as an integral therapy in Gabby Gifford’s continued recovery. And to top everything off, recording artist and The Sing Off judge, Ben Folds, showed up in honest curiosity about the profession. He attended presentations and graciously chatted with many music therapists, myself included.

All in all, it was an outstanding conference experience. Next year, it will be in Chicago. Also of note, it will be in OCTOBER. That means we’re less than 11 months away from #amta12.Ā  šŸ™‚

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