Recap: National Conference

Has it really been two whole weeks since I returned from the AMTA conference in San Diego? According to my calendar, it has, but it feels like just yesterday. My first national conference was an experience I won’t soon forget, and I’m already thinking ahead to next year. You can read some of the highlights I shared early on during my stay, but more important, in my opinion were the lessons I learned not only about my profession, but about myself, as well. (I know…how cheesy am I?)

Yes, there are actually others like me out there! Ok, so I knew this already, but it’s easy to forget that there are plenty of other music therapists out there, with jobs very similar to mine, when I am on my own in good ol’ Springfield. Having face-to-face contact and trading stories and advice was worth the price of admission, in my opinion.

The internet really is a good place to meet people. Of course, I mean that only in the most professional sense :) I’ve made quite a few online connections with fellow MTs over the last couple of years, and I was thrilled to have a chance to meet many of them IRL (that’s “in real life” for those of you who don’t speak internet!) at conference. Several of us joked that we felt like old friends already, but it really was true. And let me tell you, hanging out with music therapists in person is much more fun than sending tweets and writing on Facebook walls!

I’m on the right track. Having been in the field for only 2.5 years, I tend to question my knowledge, professional abilities, and the decisions I make as a therapist from time to time. I had this false notion that every other MT knew exactly what he or she was doing every step of the way, but I quickly learned from the vets at conference that those question marks are normal. Based on the feedback I received regarding my career, I came home with a brand-new sense of confidence and even clearer vision for my future path.

Public speaking is actually fun. This was probably one of the most valuable lessons of the bunch. In submitting my presentation proposal, I basically forced myself to face one of my biggest fears: public speaking. Little did I know that the key to this art is finding the right topic, which I definitely had by presenting “Music Therapy in the Blogosphere”. I enjoyed myself so much that I couldn’t wait to give another presentation two days later. I’m officially hooked on public speaking!

Good ideas lead to big things. I knew that I would finally get to see and hold the new Listen & Learn Songbook once I arrived in San Diego, but it wasn’t until it was actually in my hand that I was able to grasp the reality of it. What began as an idea was now, after lots of hard work, a product that people were buying! The picture above shows Michelle Erfurt (my wonderful publisher, on the left) and I at our booth in the exhibit hall.

I could spend another hour telling you all about the specifics: the presentations and workshops I attended, the people I met, and the conversations that were had, but I have a feeling those will unfold over time as I put them to good use. This conference was just what I needed to recharge my battery, so to speak. Do I really have to wait an entire year for the next one?

A Day For Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I’m thrilled to be writing my second “I’m thankful for…” post (you can read last year’s here) and it seems that this year, the list has grown. It has been a truly amazing year full of new experiences, opportunities, friends, and additions to my family. So without further ado, these are the things for which I’m giving thanks today:

1. My Family
Zach and I are celebrating our second Thanksgiving as a married couple, and Sadie, our puppy, is having her first one ever! We are lucky to have most our family right here in Springfield, and they are our biggest supporters in all that we do. We’ve both been blessed with an amazing family.

2. My Career
I was hired at The Hope Institute before my internship even ended, and I am so grateful to have been there for the past 2.5 years. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to have built my own private practice, along with all the other music-related projects in which I’ve taken part over the last year.

3. Our New Home
Although our old house will always be our “first home” as a couple, we are still counting our blessings that we were able to buy our current home last winter. It is perfect for us: I have a dedicated music studio, Sadie has a huge, fenced in backyard, Zach has his “man cave” basement, and there is plenty of room for when our family starts to grow.

4. The Internet
No, really! I have made countless new friends and connections (including YOU!) through Listen & Learn, Facebook, and Twitter, and many of the opportunities I’ve had have come as a result of my online presence. I fully admit that I am a proud internet geek, and for that, I am thankful.

There are so many more reasons to be thankful, but I’d better stop there. I’m off to help my mom make Thanksgiving dinner, after which we’ll hit up Zach’s parents’ house and my uncle’s. Busy day, and I’m already loving every minute of it. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Listen & Learn: Thanksgiving

Okay, everyone…the final countdown has begun! We are only three days away from Thanksgiving, and if your students are anything like mine, they are probably getting restless in anticipation of the holiday and having a mini-break. Maybe you are even experiencing some of this restlessness – I know I am!

But there are still two school days to go before the fun begins, which provides an opportunity to squeeze in just a few more Thanksgiving songs. So with that in mind, I thought I’d recap the songs that I’ve written and have been singing with my students all month long.

<a href="">Thanksgiving by Listen &amp; Learn Music</a>

Read the original post for each of these songs, including lyrics, here. Also, check out the Songs For Teaching blog (I am one of the bloggers!) for some great songs and ideas. What last-minute Thanksgiving activities are you introducing to your students this week?

Music Therapy Connections Newsletter

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Here at Listen & Learn, I post songs, activities, videos, and resources on a regular basis.  But if you want even more helpful content every month, then sign up for my free newsletter.  Along with delivering tips, giveaways, and other goodies, it will:

  1. Keep you up-to-date with the latest happenings at Music Therapy Connections and Listen & Learn Music.
  2. Introduce new strategies for helping children learn and grow through music.

Weather AlbumAs a subscriber, you will receive the resources listed above, plus a free download of my new album, What’s the Weather Like? (otherwise available for $10). So take a few seconds to sign up in the space below:

Easy enough, right? Shortly, you will receive an email asking you to confirm your free subscription, which you can do with just one click. Thank you for joining hundreds of others who are already receiving and benefiting from my newsletter!

Just a Few Things…

Happy weekend, everyone! I had an early start to mine, as I spent yesterday in St. Louis celebrating my sister-in-law’s successful doctoral thesis defense. I’m just taking a little time to relax this morning before I head to the WBDR Cares for Kids Radiothon, which I wrote about here a few days ago. In fact, it just happens to be Thing #1…

1. 100% of the proceeds raised during the Radiothon benefit the Children’s Miracle Network and St. John’s Children’s Hospital. You can make a donation by calling 217-544-KIDS (and I might even answer the phone this afternoon!) and listen live, either at 103.7 FM in Springfield or online. I wrote and recorded two songs for the families of the Children’s Miracle Network, which will be playing throughout the day. Also, I’m getting interviewed on the air at 12:45 CST.

2. The conference rate for my new Listen & Learn Songbook ends tomorrow. Take advantage of this deal (book + supplemental CD = $25) because beginning Monday, the CD is an additional $10 cost. Follow the link above to read more and order your copy!

3. Now that my conferences are over and the holidays are upon us, I have some serious songwriting sessions planned. My arsenal of seasonal tunes is ready for an upgrade, so if you have any topics you’d LOVE to sing about, don’t keep them to yourself! Send your suggestions my way and prepare for some holiday cheer in my favorite form: music, of course :)

4. If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to connect with me and your fellow readers! There a few different options, including Twitter, Facebook, and becoming a blog follower (see the box in the left-hand sidebar). I also have something new in the works to increase blogger-bloggee (is that a word? if not, it is now!) communication, so look for that announcement soon.

And that’s all I’ve got. Enjoy your Saturday and I’ll seeya soon!