Thursday, November 24, 2011


On this quiet Thanksgiving day, it seems right to reflect on the many aspects of being a music therapist for which I'm grateful. 

Since I've just returned from a trip to Atlanta where I participated in the national music therapy conference, it's one of the things that's very  much on my mind (oops! That was very "Georgia On My Mind" there, wasn't it?). To that end, I'm sending out a big thank you to all the folks at the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) as well as the conference chair-people and numerous volunteers for the huge amount of work that went into putting together a conference of this size! It was a great conference, and I truly enjoyed being there.

I'm also appreciative of the fact that I had the opportunity to meet many of the large collection of music therapists I've gotten to know through their blogs, tweets and list-serv postings in person. Even though I've been a part of this field for quite a long time, it was a comfort to be a part of an already existing online community, many of whom would be at the conference.  Now I can imagine all of your faces and voices as I read your online thoughts! Yay!

A particularly cool element of all that was having the opportunity to be a participant in a social media as music therapy advocacy tool panel, conceived by Kimberly Sena Moore, and joined by Michelle Erfurt, Michelle Strutzel, Matt Logan, Kat Fulton, Sarah Sendlbeck, Meryl Brown, Rachel Rambach, and Bill Matney. What a joy to be with this articulate and energetic group of professionals!

The renegade jam session (for those of us who can not function after 11 PM) was a lot of fun, and we sang and played our collective hearts out in a quieter corner of the giant hotel. 

As I gradually transition back to my usual hectic schedule (not to be confused with the completely crazy conference schedule! Yow!), I extend gratitude for the fact that I have a job and work with clients who, even after almost 24 years, challenge me to learn and grow and get better at serving them. And nowadays I get to add my supervisees to the list of folks who help me think and invite me to push the limits of my knowledge.

My co-workers at the developmental center also inspire my appreciation. We have struggled together to understand what might be going on when our clients try to convey their distress. At times we've sung and laughed and  at times we've cried together. We don't have an easy job, and, at this point, I don't think we'd really want one.

I'm thankful for the happiness that comes with playing music (either by myself or with other like-minded folks), and when people say, "wow, you're really lucky," I have to say, "Yes! Yes, I am!" 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. May you also feel lucky and fulfilled in your chosen profession!


Michelle Erfurt said...

It was wonderful to see you in the flesh... as opposed to in the 'text' and on the 'screen'. :)

Laura Cousins said...

A lovely post. I'm so glad you had such a good time!

Roia said...

@Michelle It sure was! Glad I got myself down there. It was also lovely to meet Ed. Please give him my best. He seems a good sport for hanging around with the music therapist crowd.

@Laura Thanks so much! It really was a good conference. Do you music worker folks have conference sorts of things as well?

Laura Cousins said...

Roia - We don't really .. there are lots of peripheral activities and get-togethers that I attend, like meetings of our local "Arts and Health" group or "Sound Sense" (a national organisation), or Life Music days (run by Rod Paton.) There was also a WONDERFUL Community Musician's Conference about three years ago, which sadly has never yet been repeated.

Perhaps I should organise something ...

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

It was awesome to meet you! Keep blogging!
I definitely am not going to stay off site* (lol) again I think.
Missed out on too much of the awesome jamming action :(

Roia said...

@bamamusic08 Likewise (re: meeting in person)! You're right- it's hard to have to stay at a different hotel. I just wish all the jam sessions would start earlier. I am NOT a night person. We decided to go with a renegade jam session at 9 PM for those of us who function better earlier. Hope you can join us next year!