Another year, another national conference in the books. Now that I’m starting to settle back in to reality (which mostly means catching up on laundry), it’s time for my yearly recap of the conference experience from my perspective.
As I mentioned in my conference preview post last week, this year was particularly exciting because it was the first in 5 years where I wasn’t either pregnant or bringing along a baby. This translated to more time spent in the conference center, more hours of sleep, and (just a few) more glasses of wine :)
Most of the conference was spent in the exhibit hall, since Music Therapy Connections hosted a booth where we sold our songbooks, courses, and Bear Paw Creek movement props.
Exhibiting is the BEST way to meet everyone at conference, although it can be a bit overwhelming (especially when you’re an introvert like me). But I powered through and made lots of new friends, many of whom were already Listen & Learn readers/customers or podcast listeners.
Another plus to hosting a booth is making friends with fellow exhibitors and getting the lowdown on all of their goodies. Katey and I took full advantage of this, and we have the photos to prove it.
When we weren’t sitting in Tibetan singing bowls or laying on sound vibration beds, we were talking to other music therapists about their biggest fears about our profession — the question we had everyone answer in order to enter our CMTE giveaway — and spreading the word about our music resources.
We also did a fair amount of demonstrating the Bear Paw Creek props which Janet Stephens was so kind to let us sell AND give away in another drawing.
I did attend a few sessions as well as the Music Therapy Business Owners’ meeting, which is always inspiring. I love hearing about the innovating things other MTBOs are doing, and Katey and I were able to talk about our new business-focused podcast.
Other conference highlights included: quality time with 2 of my Music Therapy Round Table besties (Kimberly Sena Moore and Matt Logan), making a new friend and having her join us at dinner (hi Melissa!), a great conversation with the self-care expert herself (Ami Kunimura), and many hours spent in the car with my MTC crew. I couldn’t have asked for better company during our very long roadtrip to Sandusky, Ohio.
And as it turns out, we’ll be roadtripping again next year — to St. Louis! That’s practically down the street for us, so maybe I’ll even have my husband bring the kids for a couple hours. I learned during conference that Parker and Mia are actually more well-known than I am, and quite a few people were disappointed that I didn’t bring them along. Next year, friends!
November is an exciting month for us music therapists. Every year, we head to our national music therapy conference for several days of professional development, continuing education, and networking with colleagues from all over the country. It’s kind of like our version of Disney World, except with less kids and more guitars.
I attended my very first AMTA conference way back in 2009, and I haven’t missed one since. This year is special, though, because not only is it lucky number 8, but it’s also the first conference in 4 years when I haven’t either been pregnant or accompanied by a tiny baby. Look out, Sandusky, Ohio! ;)
It’s interesting to think about how my personal definition of success has changed and evolved over the years. In my early to mid twenties, just starting my career and becoming a newlywed, success meant a great job, a nice house, and enough disposable income to buy what I wanted and travel often.
All of that came fairly quickly and easily, which of course meant taking my definition of success to the next level. My late twenties were all about achieving freedom in my career, which I did by leaving my full-time job and becoming completely self-employed. Those few years were magical — I built a thriving business while working from home, we vacationed several times a year, and never had to worry about money.
And then we entered our thirties. Three days later, I had a baby, and everything changed.
This time of year always hits like a ton of bricks. You know it’s coming, but there’s little more you can do to prepare than fill out all the forms that land in your hands, respond to all the emails, send out the information, and take a deep breath.
That has never been more true than this year, with a preschooler, a toddler starting part-time daycare, and a business undergoing some huge changes. I’ve spent these last few weeks making sure I’m covering all my bases where all of those things are concerned, so unfortunately the creative stuff has fallen to the wayside.
I was feeling pretty buried under ALL THE THNIGS this past weekend, despite my efforts to get it all into my calendar, Trello boards, and paper planner. So during naptime, I sat down with a journal and some pretty pens my business partner Katey had given me for my birthday. And I started writing.
Today was a big day. I called it D-Day in my latest podcast episode — the day Mia started daycare. After 15 months at home with my baby, today was the first weekday during which I wasn’t her primary caregiver.
I talked on the podcast all about the mixed feelings I’ve been experiencing related to this day: excitement, anticipation, sadness, guilt…you know, the usual emotions that most moms cycle through on a daily basis. I’ve been looking forward to and counting down until this day for months now, but when the time actually came, so did the tears.