Friday Fave: Italy, Spain and Home Again

You’ve probably noticed that aside from my weekly song posts, the blog has been pretty quiet over the past couple of weeks. I don’t like to go without posting for long, but this time I had a good excuse: I was on vacation in Italy and Spain!

My husband and I had the time of our lives traveling through Rome, Florence, Venice and Barcelona. And while initially I had planned on keeping a daily journal, it turned out we were way too busy for that.

I’ve only been home for a few days, but I’m finally starting to get over my post-vacation blues and back into the swing of things. I’m looking forward to having a productive Labor Day weekend, followed by the beginning of the fall session here at the studio on Tuesday.

This summer was a blur of hard work (from both myself and my students!) and fun; a European vacation was the perfect ending to my favorite season. How are you spending the final weekend of summer as we know it?

Friday Fave: Making a Guest Appearance…

Guest Post at Mundana Music Therapy

…over at Mundana Music Therapy, one of my favorite blogs by two of my favorite music therapists! If you’re curious about how I organize and access my insanely huge repertoire of music therapy songs, then hop on over and check out my guest post, 5 Ways to Organize Music Therapy Repertoire.

Kimberly Thompson and Megan Resig are the owners of Mundana Music Therapy, and recently relocated their private practice from Rochester, New York all the way to Portland, Oregon.

Kim and I ended up in the same elevator at last year’s AMTA national conference in Cleveland, where she introduced herself and told me that she and Megan would be attending the CMTE presented by myself and my Music Therapy Round Table colleagues. They did, and we have been in touch ever since. In fact, Mundana Music Therapy is the newest Listen & Learn sponsor.

Kim and Megan are doing big things in the world of music therapy, and I’m honored that they invited me to make an appearance on their blog. So go check it out, and have an amazing Friday!

March Sponsor Shout-Outs!

It’s time once again to give you the run-down of all of the wonderful Listen & Learn sponsors.  There are several new additions to the list since last month — I’m honored to feature such an impressive bunch!

Involve Me Music Shout-Out

Jen Sokira started Involve Me Music just a few months ago, but it’s already making a splash in the world of music therapy and music education.  Not only does Jen offer consultations, but she also writes on important topics such as inclusion and self-contained classrooms.  Be sure to check out her creative and informative video song, The People on Your Team.

More With Music

Music therapist Amanda Ellis is the blogger and songwriter behind More With Music, one of our newest sponsors.  Amanda’s educational songs come with activity ideas and even visuals from time to time; recent gems include I Have a Dream, 7 Continents, and 4 Quarters in $1.  Amanda is one of the most creative people I know, and her blog is definitely a favorite resource of mine.

Stefanie Anderson Eckert, MM, MT-BC is the owner of A-Z Music Therapy Services, which provides services to individuals with disabilities in San Antonio and South Central Texas.  Stefanie works in many different settings, including schools for children with autism and assisted living facilities.  Her website offers additional resources and contact information for individuals interested in her services.

Music Therapy Maven Shout-Out

Kimberly Sena Moore recently celebrated the 2nd anniversary of her blog, Music Therapy Maven.  Kimberly is the go-to music therapist for all things private practice; in fact, she recently released an e-book on the topic.  The Therapy Business Blueprint is an invaluable resource for therapists of all kinds.  Kimberly also offers coaching for therapy practice owners.

Awesome Music Shout-Out

This month, you can download the songs “Blue Skies”, “Taxi, Taxi”, and “Let’s Go to the Market” for just 50 cents each.  Owner Cathy Harrison has recently started producing her own public access show in beautiful Corpus Christi, Texas, featuring performances of her children’s songs and will soon include one of her students on electric bass.  DVDs will be available on her website in mid-March for $15.

Rhythm Rings

Rhythm Ring recently took home a “Best in Show” award for small products at the Winter 2010 NAMM trade show and have seen a huge boost in sales, particularly among ukulele enthusiasts.  Pictured above is their display bin holding 32 rings.  They’re offering this at a discount to classroom/ group settings, and they’d love for you to contact them for details.  They’ve had a tremendous response from children’s music educators and therapists!  They’ll be posting more info about the bins on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Joyfull Cup

Joyfull Cup, music therapist Stephanie Shehan’s company, has lived up to its name!  Stephanie was kind enough to send a sample of her delicious and healthy Organo Gold coffee, and I’m pleased to report that it did not disappoint.  I felt thoroughly refreshed and energized after drinking it, and now I’m looking forward to trying the Organo Gold latte she sent, as well.  I know that many of you rely on coffee to help you jump-start your day…talk to Stephanie about a healthy approach.

Music Therapy Tween

Check out the Music Therapy Tween (aka Michelle Erfurt) in action, as she is highlighted in a video created by Treasure Coast Hospice.  She’s also written about topics such as songs to learn for fun, her new paper-saving gadget, and modern valentines.  Michelle will be attending and participating in several upcoming regional conferences — stay tuned for opportunities to share your music-related products and services through the Erfurt Music Resource!

Music Therapy Connections

Music Therapy Connections is getting a facelift this spring!  But more details about that later.  Until then, there are still a few spots remaining for new students, either local or long-distance (hello, Skype!).  The summer session begins in mid-June.  Children and adults of all ages and abilities are welcome to register…the sooner the better.

Are you interested in becoming a Listen & Learn sponsor? You can get the full scoop on sponsorship, including all the perks, right here.  (Psst…I’ll even create your ad graphic for you.)  Sign up and get your first shout-out in April!

2010: The Year in Review

The Year 2010 in ReviewWith just four days remaining of 2010, I’ve been thinking a lot about where this year has taken me — both professionally and personally speaking.  It seems like just yesterday I was writing my 2009 review!  But as quickly as 2010 flew, I packed a lot into the past 12 months.  I’ll post a “Top 12” list later in the week; today’s post is a reflection of the year as a whole.  Here goes.

Almost four years into my career as a music therapist, I have to say that I’m feeling more confident in my skills than ever.  At the beginning of 2010, I set out to accomplish a new professional goal: starting a music therapy internship and supervising my first intern.  I was successful in getting the internship up and running, and now my intern is halfway through her nine-month stint at The Hope Institute.  It has definitely been a wonderful learning experience, and I’m already beginning to tackle my next challenge: offering CMTE credits as a CBMT-approved provider.

I’ve also made more connections with colleagues in the professional world.  I was elected to the executive board of the Illinois Association for Music Therapy last December, and have loved becoming more involved with advocacy and continuing education in my state.  February saw the birth of the Music Therapy Round Table, a podcast with fellow music therapists Kimberly Sena Moore and Michelle Erfurt.  The three of us presented our first CMTE course this past November at AMTA’s national music therapy conference, and are already looking forward to doing it again.

Although I’ve been blogging here at Listen & Learn since 2008, this has been the year in which I feel like I’ve really hit my stride.  I ventured into the world of YouTube with my Sunday Singlong series, grew my premium membership base, and became a WordPress convert.  But there is definitely still room for growth, and I plan to explore many more avenues for Listen & Learn in 2011.

This coming year will bring some big changes.  I’m going to be stepping into some uncharted (for me, at least) territory, which I’ll share with you as the next few months unfold.  But for now, I’m looking forward to getting on with what has been a wonderful school year both in private practice and at The Hope Institute.

And personally?  2010 was a relatively low-key year in comparison with 2009.  We’ve been in our “new” house for almost two years now, and our dog Sadie is getting calmer with age (she’ll be 2 in March).  Zach and I are looking forward to traveling quite a bit in 2011, starting with our trip to south Florida in January.  We’re also excited about being in our best friends’ weddings this summer, and finding out what else the new year will bring :)

#AMTA10: Conference Recap (With Pictures!)

Well, my second national conference of the American Music Therapy Association is officially in the books.  And what an experience it was!  If you follow me on Twitter, you probably feel like you were right there with me in Cleveland — especially if you were actually there.

I used the hashtag #AMTA10 throughout conference to send updates to my Twitter friends, as did many other music therapists in attendance.  But 140-character tweets just can’t do #AMTA10 justice, so read on for the entire play-by-play.

Erfurt-Music-Resource-Booth

The Erfurt Music Resource Booth in the Exhibit Hall, manned by Michelle & Ed Erfurt.

I arrived in Cleveland early, so I had a chance to relax and unpack before meeting up with the rest of the Music Therapy Round Table (Michelle & Kimberly) later that evening.  We had a little bit of business to take care of before our CMTE the next day, but mostly we were just ready to catch up in person again for the first time in an entire year.

On Thursday morning, I met Michelle and her husband, Ed, in the exhibit hall to help set up the Erfurt Music Resource booth (see the pictures above).  Not only did I have my products on display, but so did a few of my awesome music therapist friends, like Kat Fulton and Wade Richards.

That afternoon, Michelle, Kimberly & I presented our very first CMTE (continuing music therapy education) course, which was all about using the web for music therapy advocacy and marketing.  5 hours of Facebook, Twitter, and blog talk — my idea of a good time!  Luckily, the participants agreed; they asked tons of questions and left excited to build and grow their own online presences.

Thursday evening was spent socializing with other conference-goers in the exhibit hall and giving the lowdown on my songbook and CD.  I must say, the EMR booth was one of the most hoppin’ in the whole hall!

Friday was a bit more relaxed now that our CMTE was over.  The keynote, presented by Alan Solomon and Ken Medema, was absolutely amazing.  I don’t think there was a dry eye in the entire ballroom by the time it was finished.  The rest of the morning was spent at the exhibit hall, in an excellent session by Tim Ringgold, and having lunch with Michelle and Kat.  Later than evening, I joined Illinois State University students, alumni, and faculty for our annual conference dinner.  That was followed by the 2nd-ever Tweet-Up, which boasted over 20 participants.  Yay, music therapists on Twitter!

AMTA-Music-Therapy-Round-Table

The Music Therapy Round Table, hard at work recording and promoting our podcast.

A big part of Saturday was spent, once again, at the EMR booth in the exhibit hall.  The MTRT recorded episode 10 right there at the “round table” where I’m sitting in the picture above, and we had the opportunity to interview quite a few fellow music therapists (both professionals and students).  In fact, we had so much great material that we ended up splitting the episode into two parts — the first of which will be up on our website and on iTunes soon!

AMTA-Conference-Social

The Tweet-Up gang, Kat & Kimberly, and the State Task Force Reception.

Saturday evening, Michelle and I took a break to blog in the hotel lobby, after which we headed to the State Task Force reception to socialize with other music therapists who, like us, are advocating for recognition in their states.  As much fun as we were having at the reception, we had to jet out of there at 8:30 in order to make it to our final dinner of the week…

AMTA-2010-Conference-Dinner

Delicious food, wine, and wonderful company at Crop, an amazing Cleveland eatery.

Ed, Michelle’s husband, has officially gained the title of honorary 4th member of the Music Therapy Round Table, because not only did he do an amazing job representing us at the booth all week, but he also organized our farewell dinner on Saturday evening.

The four of us sat at the chef’s table at Crop, where we were treated to an 8-course feast complete with wine pairings at each course.  We had heard good things about it, but we were not at all prepared for the deliciousness we experienced that night.  Kimberly and I were guilty of tweeting our plates and making the rest of our Twitter friends jealous :)

I was a little sad to say goodbye to Cleveland early Sunday morning, but I left with plenty of new friends, memories, and photos.  Michelle Erfurt started a Flickr group for pictures taken at the AMTA conference, which you can view here.  Better yet, if you were there and took pictures, you can add them!

I’d love to hear about your own #AMTA10 experiences and highlights, so leave them in the comments.  Or if you weren’t there this year, let me know that you WILL be in Atlanta for #AMTA11!

Handout: Social Media & Marketing Tips

Social Media and Marketing TipsGreetings from Cleveland!  I’ve had quite an eventful few days, but now that our CMTE is over, we’ve recorded the podcast, and the exhibit hall has closed, it’s time to relax.  I’ll be back soon with a full recap of my conference experience, but first, a little gift for you.

Michelle, Kimberly and I each put together a one-page handout of our favorite online resources as well as social media and marketing tips.  We handed them out to the participants at our CMTE, and mine was available at the Erfurt Music Resource booth in the exhibit hall (along with my CD and songbook).  So naturally, I must also share it with you:

PDF Download: Social Media & Marketing Tips

Our CMTE was all about music therapy marketing and advocacy using the wonderful powers of the internet (social media, blogging, etc.). Now that we’ve given it once, we are looking forward to doing it again soon…stay tuned for more info on this!

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