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.
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.
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.
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.