First off, let me apologize.  That first post, had it continued, would have been way too long for any of you to handle.  So here, part two in the “Top Ten Highlights of #AMTA11”. For Part 1, go Here! (Thanks for the idea to offer several posts, Natalie Mullis).  Again, in no particular order, the remaining items on my top ten Conference Highlights.

6. Tim Ringgold’s Session

This session was the perfect way to end conference.  Tim had mentioned that having a session on Sunday morning was probably not his favorite choice in times, but I think it was perfectly placed.  We spend the whole weekend learning new ideas and new ways to make ourselves better therapists and in some cases better business owners and professionals.  His session focused on taking all of your long and short term goals and prioritizing them so that you can come out fulfilled.  It really was a great way to learn to focus on the new ideas and which needed completing right away and which ones can wait a little bit.  And it made me focus on what was important right now.  Perfect ending Tim, Thank You!  Check out more about Tim and Sonic Divinity Music Therapy Services here.

7. Dinner with Ben Folds

You thought I forgot didn’t you?!  That’s right friends, we had dinner together along with Rachel See Smith, Ginny Driscoll, Natalie Mullis, Kat Fulton, Jamie George, Jamie’s husband and Sharon (without whom Ben might never have come!).  A few weeks ago we “tweeted him to death” and sure enough, following several invitations to #AMTA11, Ben Folds arrived and participated and learned about music therapy.  During the non session times, we rocked out in the taxi to some awesome new music (apparently a friend of the cabby), and ate dinner at a really wonderful Thai place, Nan.  Ben is personable, funny and eager to learn new things.  We spent much of the dinner discussing research, and threw in several laughs here throughout the night.  Thanks so much for coming, Ben.  It was absolutely wonderful meeting and talking with you.

The Lovely "MT BFF's"

8. Segway Tour

This is something that happened before conference even started.  My roommate, Becky Wellman, and I arrived at conference early (she was presenting an institute pre-conference) and on Thursday we decided to see the sights.  There is no better way to sight-see than to jump on a segway and zip around the city.  It was perfect (albeit a bit cold).  We saw several of the sights including Centennial Olympic Park, Luckie Street, Atlanta Underground, The Varsity, Georgia State, Georgia Tech and several other places.  In the end, we wrote a jingle (what else do musicians do???).  Thanks for being my buddy, Becky!

Watch out for Angry Birds!

9. Beth Schwartz

I would like to say that I took this conference to follow Beth around.  Seriously, I believe that I went to pretty much every one of her sessions!  She is an early childhood guru (ranking up high with several others in our field).  A few years ago she wrote a book, Music Therapy and Early Childhood Development, which I reference constantly when I’m planning and researching ideas and outcomes.  She also has a lovely voice and writes several songs (rumor has it a book is on the way) and so I attended a session focusing on just that. Modes, Meter, and Meaning: Composing Therapeutic Songs in Early Childhood. She, along with her colleagues Lee Morris and Suzanne Willoughby, presented on the importance of changing it up a it musically and why.  I am really excited to get some new material written for all of my kiddos!  Visit Climb Music Therapy for more information about these three ladies.

10. Drum Circle

I have never missed a conference drum circle.  The hidden drummer in me just flips out with excitement every time.  For me, there is nothing like a room full of musicians, music therapists and music educators making music together.  Drum circles are powerful things and I am happy to have been involved in several (both facilitating and participating).  This year, our circle was to be facilitated by Mickey Hart, of the Grateful Dead, but illness took over and he was unable to attend.  We hope you feel better soon!  Needless to say, Christine Stevens, a facilitator by trade, jumped in without a worry.  She and several other facilitators brought our circle to laughter, some to tears and always to the music.  We even had a special surprise guest (for which half of me is super embarrassed for practically attacking him), Dave Holland, author of Drumagination and more recently Interactive Rhythm.


In the end, #AMTARocks!  Thank you for all that you do to bring Music Therapists together from across the globe!  A week of seeing friends new and old, amazing learning, opportunities and some great advocacy! See you next year in Chicagoland!