Conference Has Officially Begun!


I’m writing this blog post while in a 4-hour committee meeting, which I’m justifying because of the fact that it’s the technology committee.

I arrived in Atlanta yesterday afternoon and spent the rest of the day (and night) catching up with my music therapy colleagues. It’s funny how people I’ve met solely through social media feel like old friends, even when meeting them in person for the first time. I love it!

After my meeting is over, I’ll head over to the exhibit hall to help set up the Music Therapy Pro booth, and then I have plans to record a special guest edition of Sunday Singalong — you’ll have to stop by the blog on Sunday to find out who the special guest is ;)

The presenting fun begins tomorrow, but in the meantime, there’s a lot to look forward to: the opening session tonight, the exhibit hall spectacular, and tons of people on my must-meet list to search out.

This post will have to be short and sweet (I am in a meeting, after all) but if anything blog-worthy happens before the end of the day, I’ll be sure to post it. Oh, and don’t forget to follow the Twitter hashtag, #AMTA11, for the full play-by-play!

Up, Up and Away!

Up, Up and Away!

As I type this, I’m sitting in the airport waiting to board my plane to Atlanta. #AMTA11, baby! (That’s the American Music Therapy Association’s national conference, for those of you non-music therapists).

I already wrote about the things I’ll be doing while in Atlanta, so I thought today I’d fill you in on how I pass the time while up in the air. Isn’t that an exciting blog topic!? ;)

  • Candy is a must. I’m usually a pretty healthy eater, so I get my candy fix while traveling. Today I have a package of sour jelly bellies in my purse. Yum!
  • Good tunes. I just bought She & Him’s “Volume 1” and “Volume 2” albums and have them loaded on my iPhone to listen to during my flight.
  • Reading materials. I don’t have much time to read for fun, so I always stock up on magazines and bring whatever book I’m reading on the plane.
  • Something to work on. For this particular flight, my project will be putting together my conference schedule (better late than never, right?).

And that’s really it. I always try to sleep on planes but rarely ever succeed. I’m hoping to catch a quick nap this time, especially, because a busy week lies ahead. Oops, gotta pack up…it’s almost time to board!

Georgia On My Mind

2011 AMTA National Conference

Holy cow, it’s conference time! Well, almost. 24 hours from now, I’ll be heading to the airport and then hopping a plane to Atlanta, the destination for the 2011 American Music Therapy Association national conference. I couldn’t possibly be more excited!

This will be my third national conference — I attended my first back in 2009 in sunny San Diego, and was completely hooked. So of course I attended last year’s conference in Cleveland, where I had an absolute blast (and presented my first ever 5-hour CMTE with my music therapy colleages/BFFs, Kimberly Sena Moore and Michelle Erfurt). This year proves to be just as educational and fun.

I’ll be presenting several times throughout the week, both with others and by myself. Here are the details, so that you can add them to your conference schedule (which I have yet to put together, eek!).

  • Creating an Effective Online Presence: We Did It. You Can, Too! (Kimberly, Michelle & Rachel) Friday at 7:30 am in meeting rooms 206-207.
  • How Social Media Creates New Music Therapy Advocates (Kimberly, Michelle, Rachel, et al.) Friday at 2:00 pm in Salon B.
  • The DIY Approach to Recording and Sharing Your Music (Rachel) Sunday at 8:00 am in Salon D.

If you can’t make any or all of those sessions, fear not: you can also find me at the Music Therapy Pro booth in the exhibit hall. When I’m not presenting or attending a must-see session, you can pretty much bet that I’ll be hanging out at the booth, chatting and giving attendees the scoop on the awesome MT Pro community.

And for those of you music therapists who tweet, be sure to attend the third annual Tweet-Up on Friday at 6:00 pm in the hotel bar, Mai Tai. It keeps getting bigger every year, and we’re hoping for the best turnout yet in Atlanta.

As usual, I’ll be blogging daily…so make sure to stop by and read the latest (especially if you aren’t able to attend conference this year). Oh, and don’t forget to follow the Twitter hashtag, #AMTA11.

See you in Atlanta, either in person or through the magical powers of the internet!

Is It Too Soon for Holiday Music?

Too Soon for Holiday Music?

No,  not at all? Okay, great…glad we got that settled! At least, that’s my opinion. I consider November 1st to be the day on which I can officially start listening to holiday music without getting funny looks from my husband. Now that we’ve just about reached the middle of the month, my Christmas playlists are in heavy rotation.

Last year I wrote about my 8 favorite Christmas albums, and this year I’ve added a few more to the mix. My current favorite is one that just came out last month: A Very She & Him Christmas (I pre-ordered it on iTunes for $9.99, but you can get it on Amazon for $5 by following that link). You’ve probably heard of the actress Zooey Deschanel, who makes up one half of this duo. The other half is M. Ward, and together they have this great 60’s throwback sound that I really dig.

The sweet sounds of holiday music are already filling my studio, too. Just last Friday, one of my students recorded “O Little Town of Bethlehem” for a Christmas album we’re putting together as a gift to his parents. And I just picked up some new holiday piano books, which for some reason always motivate my students to practice much more frequently than their regular repertoire.

But I’m not skipping over Thanksgiving by any means — I’ll stick with turkey day tunes in music therapy sessions until December. The Ten Days of Thanksgiving is the perfect precursor to all the Christmas songs that I’ll be breaking out in a few short weeks.

What is your take on the official start of the holiday (listening) season? My husband just popped in and added his two cents: “No Christmas music until Thanksgiving!” Do you agree with him?

Sunday Singalong: Ten Little Turkeys

The other day while singing this song during a music therapy session, I completely blanked out when it came to singing about that 7th little turkey…oops! Isn’t it funny how the brain can fail you like that, even after singing a song year after year? Luckily I remembered that he “hid with the chicks” while recording the video.

When I sing this with my students, I like to pause before the number at the end of each verse and let them fill it in if they can. Another option is to have visual number cards available for pointing and counting down. Either way, “Ten Little Turkeys” is a November staple!

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