An Unexpected Conference

April 2, 2012

I recently attended the Southwest Region American Music Therapy Association Conference (www.wramta.org)  in Salt Lake City, UT.  To be honest, I went for one reason; to earn Continuing Music Therapy Education (CMTE) credits.  This is not, on it’s own, a poor reason to attend a professional conference;  however, I fully expected to show up, get the “check in the box,” and leave.

What a delightful surprise, then, to be fully swept up in the first session that I attended, and to remain completely engaged for the duration of the conference.  On Thursday, I went to a CMTE Course presented by Kevin Hahn, MT-BC, entitled “Structured and Spontaneous Lyric Analysis: Facilitating Effectively While Managing Clinical Realities.”  I primarily work with children on the autism spectrum and with other developmental disabilities, and with older adults who are dealing with dementia/Alzheimer’s disease.  As such, I rarely have the opportunity to engage my clients in activities such as lyric analysis.  What I appreciated about the session, though, was the opportunity to connect with therapists who ARE working with populations with which it is appropriate to lead lyric analysis, and to hear their thoughts and experiences.  I also appreciated the opportunity to shake the dust off of my own Toolbox, and to give some attention to a skill set that has been neglected.

On Friday, I attended an “Umbrella Grouping” of concurrent sessions, all related to the topics of “Entrepreneurship and Business Development.”  The Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) http://cbmt.org/, recently revised the certification guidelines for music therapists, and music therapists can now earn CMTE’s for attending a grouping of related sessions at Conference.  I love this development.  And I LOVED the grouping of sessions I attended!  Mayu Kawata’s presentation on Practical Marketing Tools was eye-opening, and the information that Sarah Sendlbeck shared on branding through social networking was challenging and inspiring.  Finally, Rachel McCauley’s presentation on the Economics of Music Therapy showed me that with proper work and planning, one CAN make a viable living in this field.  My greatest take-away from each presentation was that I need to devote time every day to the development of my business.  Whole Note Music Therapy should not just be my hobby, but something that I work on daily.

In the aftermath of the Conference, I have been brainstorming to no end.  My LinkedIn account has had more action in the last seven days than in the entire time I’ve been a member.  I am developing an awareness of the importance of social networking and the time/energy required to be an active participant in the online professional community.  I am also aware of the work I need to do to expand my client base and build my studio.  Now, I need only do it.

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