iTunes Match: Music in the Cloud

iTunes Match

As I type this blog post, iTunes is currently uploading my music library into the cloud. Actually, it’s uploading the songs that aren’t available in the iTunes store — about half of my 8,741 song collection.

With that much music in my library, it’s always been a struggle to decide which songs to sync with my devices (iPod, iPhone, and iPad) and which ones to leave off. Inevitably, the song or album I’m looking for on a given day hasn’t been synced, so I can’t listen to it unless I’m at my computer.

That’s why I was so excited for the launch of iTunes Match, which makes my entire song collection available across all of my devices. For $24.99 a year, it’s a pretty sweet deal.

So now I’m utilizing two paid music services: iTunes Match and Spotify (for which I’m paying $10 a month). Spotify allows me hear songs I don’t already own, which comes in handy during lessons and music therapy sessions or just listening for pleasure. I can access them on my computer as well as on my iOS devices, whether I’m online or not. iTunes Match lets me do the same, only with the songs I already own. And since they’re stored in the cloud, I now have more space available on my devices.

I’ve also been reading about Google Music lately, which is similar to iTunes match except for the fact that it’s free. Have you tried any of these services?

#AMTA11: Conference Recap (With Pictures!)

#AMTA11 Tweet-Up

This picture perfectly sums up #AMTA11: an amazing experience surrounded by amazing people. Jamie George, Michelle Erfurt, Stephanie Shehan, Michelle Kennemer, and Andrew Littlefield are just a few of the many music therapists with whom I had the honor of connecting in Atlanta.

I would have to say that my 3rd American Music Therapy Association national conference has been the best of the three by far. Not only was I much more involved this year — I presented not once but three times and served on AMTA’s technology committee — but I also had more friends there than ever before. The funny thing is that almost all of those friendships began via Facebook, Twitter, or this blog.

I always had a coffee buddy, lunch mate or dinner date, which made for many fun and inspiring conversations. On the plane ride home, I told Meryl Brown that I got almost as many ideas from our convos alone as I did from the entire conference!

I had too many wonderful conversations to count at the 3rd annual Tweet-Up, an informal get-together we organized for all of the music therapists on Twitter. Upwards of 50 tweeps showed up, and I got to finally meet the people I only knew by their Twitter handles. I felt like I had 50 new BFFs after that evening.

But conference wasn’t all about good times with good friends. It was also about getting up early to attend sessions and presenting them myself, too. On Friday, Kimberly Sena Moore, Michelle E. and I presented on building an online presence (I wrote about that here), and later that day the three of us served on a panel with several other bloggers discussing the role of social media in advocacy.

Kimberly, Michelle and I spent a whole lot of time together, actually. In addition to presenting, we also ran the Music Therapy Pro booth in the exhibit hall, where we gave the low-down on our online service for music therapy students and professionals. Okay, I should say Michelle’s awesome husband Ed (and honorary 4th member of the Music Therapy Round Table) ran the booth, and we stopped in to help between sessions and meetings.

Music Therapy Pro

The three of us also recorded an episode of the Music Therapy Round Table podcast while at conference, and had the pleasure of several guests joining us. We had such a great time talking about our conference experiences and hearing so many different viewpoints.

Round Table

On Sunday morning, I led a session called “The DIY Approach to Recording & Sharing Your Music” and was thrilled to have over 50 people in attendance (not bad for 8:00 am on the last day of conference!). It was so exciting to hear many of them say that they were going to start applying what they learned from my session.

DIY Recording

A truly wonderful and educational five days that I will not soon forget. In fact, nobody will forget #AMTA11, because it was the year Ben Folds (yes, that Ben Folds) came to conference and voiced his support for our profession. Rachel See Smith and her MT BFF crew made it happen through the power of Twitter.


A big thank you goes out to my afore-mentioned friend Meryl for letting me borrow several of her photos for this blog post. Additional shout-outs go to Kimberly, who is always an awesome roommate; Michelle and Ed, who let me tag along with them throughout conference every year; Matt Logan, with whom I’m making some plans for #AMTA12; and all of the other people who helped make #AMTA11 such a fantastic experience.

Oh, and thank YOU for reading this insanely long recap. I truly did not intend for it to be a novel. That is all.


Countdown to Thanksgiving

The Ten Days of Thanksgiving

November is one of my very favorite months as far as music therapy goes, because I have all sorts of fun Thanksgiving-related songs to use with my students. And as excited as I am about the holiday, I’m a little bummed that it is here so soon — because that means I’ll have to stop singing about it.

This month has honestly been a whirlwind, between my trip to Minnesota, preparing for conference, and spending the last 5 days in Atlanta (more on that soon). I feel like I barely had an opportunity to do the Turkey Dinner Dance or break out my favorite Thanksgiving tune of all: The Ten Days of Thanksgiving.


I only have two days with students this week before the holiday break, so I’ll be getting as much use out of it as possible in between today and tomorrow. By Thursday I’ll be more than ready for turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and all the yummy foods I’ve been singing about! Yum. What songs and activities are you using in the last few days before Thanksgiving?

Sunday Singalong: The Sneezy Scarecrow

There are lots of reasons I love attending the national music therapy conference, but today I’m adding a new one to the list: the opportunity to record my first-ever guest edition of Sunday Singalong!

Actually, it’s kind of funny that I had to come all the way to Atlanta to see Meryl Brown, who lives an hour north of me in Bloomington, Illinois. Meryl and I were in the graduate program at Illinois State University at the same time, and have since kept in touch via our state association and social media. She runs a successful private practice, Developing Melodies, and always has excellent professional advice to share with me.

When she told me about her scarecrow song on the first night of conference, I immediately asked her if she would mind sharing it in a video. She agreed, and Andrew Littlefield volunteered his guitar for her use. I must say, us music therapists are excellent team players!

Be sure to check out Meryl’s website and follow her on Twitter. I happen to know that she has many more fun songs like this one up her sleeve, and you never know…she just might be making another guest appearance here in the future.

Friday Fave: Building An Online Presence

MT Pro

“We did it…you can, too!” That was the tagline for our session, Building an Online Presence, which we presented this morning at 7:30 am. And to our happy surprise, we had a room full of people who were so interested in learning from us that they braved the ridiculously early start time!

Kimberly, Michelle and I (known collectively as the Music Therapy Round Table) chose to take a very informal route when it came to planning our presentation. We wanted to make sure we were answering participants’ questions, so the first thing we did was ask what they wanted to get out of our session. We touched on those topics as we shared our own experiences, and then had a bit of a Q&A towards the end of the session.

We didn’t prepare official handouts or a PowerPoint presentation, but I will take this opportunity to re-share a handout I put together for last year’s conference. Here are my favorite online resources and social media tips:

Download: Building An Online Presence

I do have a PowerPoint presentation prepared for Sunday’s session, entitled The DIY Approach to Recording & Sharing Your Music. I’m flying solo on that one — come back tomorrow for more info! Happy Friday!

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