Sunday, March 24, 2013
Well, my turn to be on the road this past week. I had the honor and privilege of giving the keynote at the annual conference of the SER-AMTA, which is the Southeastern Region of the American Music Therapy Association. The Association is divided into 6 regions and each region holds its own conference in the spring, while the association as a whole gets together for our annual conference in the fall. There were 289 music therapists, interns, and students from the 10 Southeastern states. That's Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina for those who are curious.
My talk centered on our journey with Bella, and how we used music and VERO to not only survive, but transform the experience into one that has left a lasting powerful legacy.
I've talked about how we used music before on stage, but this was the first time I have laid out my VERO model other than on here many moons ago. I can't even tell you how many times I gave the talk in my office, timing it every time, to sculpt and sculpt and sculpt. It was quite the process. Nothing like having a deadline to push my creativity though. I am SO GRATEFUL that I was given this opportunity for a couple of reasons. First, it MADE me finally carve this concept into a real deliverable. Now that it is a key note, I can expand it into a seminar and a book. Second, I love providing inspiration to young music therapists and students, and this conference was largely attended by that group specifically. When I looked out over the crowd, I felt like a minority in that most of the attendees were younger than me!
This was also my first regional conference outside of the Western Region, where I went to school and completed my internship. National conference is HUGE, and it's challenging to make time to meet new people there. Regional conferences are more intimate, so you can connect on more than one occasion with people. So, after delivering the keynote, the region was kind enough to let me stay for the rest of conference! I had so.many.wonderful.conversations with so many people over the ensuing days. I already knew a handful of MTs from the region, and was able to deepen my friendships with them as well. It would be a dream come true if the other regions asked me to speak as well, and I could have the same type of experience. Inspiring others makes me happiest of all, so to inspire my fellow music therapists...
On a side note, we drove through Ringgold, GA on the way to Chattanooga! It happens to be just over the state line from Chattanooga in fact, and there are pictures of my dad holding me in front of either the town line or the bank in town, so I asked my driver to pull off the road so we could get a shot like that 38 years later. It was cool, because it linked me to my dad, much like my trip to New Orleans and Preservation Hall last winter. I don't get to cross paths with my dad's footprints anymore since I live in an area where he didn't, so this little moment really made me feel connected to him again in its own little way.
On the home front, Ali won tickets to Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach at school and took grandma today (and Julian), and that gave us the amazing opportunity to go to Del Mar and meet up with PUCK Relationship Manager and all around EB Advocate Christie Zink, her husband, Matt, and Team PUCK - California member Sara Cooper for breakfast! Matt had a business trip in San Diego, and Christie came along, and we all managed to connect this morning. It was GREAT to see them again as we only get to see Christie and Matt once a year when we travel to MN for our annual TIME TO FLY race hosted by our parent charity, Children's Cancer Research Fund. Plus, Sara and Christie have truly become friends over the past couple of years online, and this was the first time where they finally got to meet! It was so great to see them connect at long last.
Speaking of Time To Fly, registration is OPEN! Team PUCK has BIG PLANS for this year's race! Each year, we learn a little more about how to make the event even more fun, and this year we are throwing a serious party! We have also DOUBLED our fundraising goal! Uff da! So, if you are interested in finding out more, donating, or registering, cruise on by our team page by clicking HERE!
I am really excited about how much FUN we are going to have this year! We even have child care at our Team tent this year provided by two licensed early childhood specialists... and did I mention a masseuse as well? Good times will be had FOR SURE. Please join us as a team member or contributor, won't you? Once again, CLICK HERE to find out more.
Alright, off to bed. Have a great week.