One of the best parts of any student organization is getting to connect with students with similar passions and different perspectives. As we look forward to Passages, our national student conference, we’re also looking back at all the exciting things that happened at the regional student conferences this year!
Great Lakes Region
The Great Lakes Region held their Passages conference on March 16th and had over 50 students in attendance. Six students from the region presented on a variety of topics ranging from how to choose what sessions to attend at conference to enhancing your functional piano skills. Their keynote speaker was John Hartman, NMT, MT-BC who discussed the importance of diagnostic differentiation and motivated students to continue to strive for the best quality therapeutic knowledge.
I’m from the Mid-Atlantic Region, so I was excited to hear what a successful student conference they had. Nazareth College was bustling with students waiting to attend sessions from fellow students. There were presentations about Music Together trainings, perspectives on transitioning into internship, and the role of story-telling and fantasy play in music therapy. After an exhibit hall and a break for lunch, Lara Anat Grabois gave a plenary session for all conference attendees titled “Dreamers on Air: The Story of My Autism Journey Told Through Music.” Three more concurrent sessions followed focusing on approaching musical mutuality through guided client compositions within adult inpatient psychiatry and the role vulnerability plays in music therapy for music therapists and their clients. There were three case studies presented at the conference, all focusing on different populations and approaches with clients. The conference wrapped up with a closing ceremony and some collective music making, but many of the Passages presenters went on to give their presentations again during special concurrent session times at the MAR Conference in Rochester, NY.
The Midwestern Region also had a lot of student participation in their Passages Conference this year. Presenters addressed important topics like self-care, an international student perspective, music therapy with children who have experienced domestic violence/sexual assault, multicultural music therapy, and the AMTA Archives. They were also excited to have Piper Laird, MM, MT-BC as their keynote speaker.
New England Region
The New England Region hosted their 17th Annual Student and New Professional Music Therapy Conference (aka Passages) and made a super cool video to go with it! Something new and exciting this year was that they welcomed non-music therapy students, specifically, their medical colleagues from neighboring schools. They had 117 in attendance, which consisted of students and professionals from the three NER schools, Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, Boston University, Westfield State University, and some local High school students. I love seeing this great advocacy work in the regions! You can check out their sweet Passages video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NQppanlwk0&t=8s
Southwestern, Western, and Southeastern
Southwestern Region combined their student and regional conference, and had a great time in Fort Worth, Texas. They started the conference with their second annual student social. This gave students from all seven schools a chance to interact with one another, play games and chat. Friday they had a successful student passages with multiple student therapists presenting on everything from advocacy to practicum experiences to research they were conducting. The Western Region also hosted their (very first!) Passages session in conjunction with their regional conference. Students presented on various topics and educated their peers on different techniques and results. The Southeastern region also got their students together at their regional conference, where several students presented.
Diversity, Unity, and National Conference
The diversity in presenters and presentations across the regions truly highlighted just how diverse our field is. I think it’s pretty cool that we also see some themes and unity in presentations. I think a lot of the topics show a real focus on mindfulness and the student experience. Speaking of mindfulness, did you know that “A Mindful Approach to Music Therapy” is the theme for the upcoming 2017 AMTA National Conference? The conference is November 16-19, so register soon at www.musictherapy.org. You may want to try using your regional organizations to find travel buddies and roommates.
Spotlight on: Megan Sindeldecker
Megan attends Ohio University and is a flute primary. Megan is also a superstar as our AMTAS vice-president. She runs our social media accounts and gave our website a complete makeover. One of Megan’s new projects is #MusicTherapyMonday where she posts facts about different populations we work with. I wanted to highlight Megan because she’s been up to some really cool stuff. She was traveling Eastern Europe from May-July in the country of Slovenia and did things like hike a 5,000 foot mountain in the Alps and ride a gondola in Italy. She’s obviously pretty adventurous. She even went skydiving for her 20th birthday! Be sure to follow AMTAS (and Megan's fun posts) on Instagram @_amtas_ and Twitter @AMTAS.
Before I wrap up, are there any sessions mentioned that you’re interested in? If you comment one, I’ll try to let you know who presented it to make getting in touch a little easier. Don’t be afraid to forge connections with all the amazing go-getters we have in AMTAS!
Best of luck with the coming semester, and I hope to see you all at national conference!