Hi, AMTAS! On November 14th I hopped on a plane in Pittsburgh and hopped off in St. Louis for the 2017 Annual AMTA Conference. Conference was a whirlwind with the AMTAS 40th Anniversary celebration, our two AMTAS business meetings, meeting with the student representatives from the regions, and Passages, which is our national student and young professional conference. Here’s a rundown of what we learned from the regions and everything that happened!
We started our national passages with an internship panel featuring current interns, young professionals, and internship supervisors. Audience members were able to submit anonymous questions via text. They asked some important questions like how their theoretical orientation could influence their chances of getting an internship and which time management strategies current interns suggested.
The rest of our passages presentations covered a variety of topics including diversity in the profession, the importance of interprofessional work, sensory processing with neurological disorders, music therapy with incarcerated adults, and so much more. As a presenter, I loved how supportive and interactive the audiences were, and I hope more people take this opportunity to get experience presenting at a national level. Passages presenters also have access to some incredible mentors, and our presenter mentor program will continue to grow in future years.
We wrapped up our 2017 Passages with a time for socializing and “danced through the decades” with Zumba, a raffle, and a riff off.
Hearing From the Regions
Being a part of the AMTAS executive board at conference gave me insight into the way AMTAS functions and the large number of people it takes to support the organization. National conference is the only time we get to meet as a large group with the regional presidents and advisors who make up the Student Affairs Advisory Board (SAAB) and the AMTAS Board of Directors. It gave us an opportunity to brainstorm about what the direction of AMTAS should be and to celebrate all the amazing things you all do at the regional and school level.
The Southeastern Region provided its first national scholarship, and their president, Lauren Viljamaa, presented at Passages and helped lead our “Dancing Through the Decades” Zumba break. The Northeastern Region had been busy as they held their 18th Annual Student and New Professional Passages Conference, updated their logo, began to put together a “Standard Procedures and Operations” guide, and supported a benefit concert at the Community Music School in Eastbrook, CT. The Great Lakes Region was also active this year as they worked towards planning their regional Passages conference, brainstorming new ideas for a logo, and launching their annual Gift of Music Grant for private practice in the area!
Social media was a theme at this year’s conference. The Southwestern Region was no exception and held a challenge where each month the universities were encouraged to take a picture of students completing a specific activity. Highlights from this year’s #SWAMTASchallenge include Southern Methodist University’s semiannual music therapy advocacy drumming event and members of the West Texas A&M University Music Therapy Organization singing at local nursing homes for the holiday season. The SWAMTAS board is also preparing for the Southwestern region’s music therapy conference (April 4th to April 7th 2018), and at national conference they confirmed a guest speaker who will speak about diversity and multiculturalism at one of their student business meetings.
The Mid-Atlantic Region has also been up to some exciting new things! They created a new officer position for Public Relations, began drafting a Mission Statement and Values, and put together this year’s regional project called the “MARntor Program,” which is a mentoring program for students and professionals in the region. They are also challenging schools to raise as much money as they can for the Momentum Choir of Western NY. This choir is run by Music Therapist Dr. Joni Milgram-Luterman and is in its third year. For other updates on what the MAR is up to, you can find them on social media. Their Twitter and Instagram accounts are @MAR_AMTS! Stay tuned to see their #MARCrushMonday and #ThrowbackThursday posts!
The Midwestern region organized the second national Cadenza 5K. The students were able to get sponsors from Remo, Louson Drums, and Alvarez Guitars to fund the event and provide great prizes for the winners. They had a great turn out of over 60 students, MT-BCs, and community members and raised over $2,000 for scholarships. This was actually the first race I ever ran, and I managed to finish with a solid 27’52” thanks to some supportive friends. Keep an eye out for Cadenza at next year’s conference!
AMTAS 40th Anniversary
As students, we are usually looking forward. So much is exciting and new and progress is the focus. However, the 40th anniversary of AMTAS was an opportunity to look back and appreciate all the work that went into forming this organization. At the AMTA Award Ceremony Dr. Carol Shultis and Dennis Carrocio were honored for their lifetime contributions to AMTAS. Dr. Carol Shultis led AMTAS as Student Affairs Advisory Board Chair from 1985–1998 and in 2003, and Dennis Carrocio led the Florida State University music therapy students to organize the first national organization, Alpha Mu, in 1966.
We also celebrated the 40th Anniversary with a cake and party following the conference’s opening ceremony. The cake, Snapchat filter, AMTAS timeline, and photo booth were all a hit. Even AMTA President Jennifer Geiger joined in the fun!
You can find the rundown of our business in the minutes that will be posted to the AMTAS website, but some real highlights were the adoption of a new logo, another reworking of our bylaws, and the distribution of scholarships to some deserving individuals.
Experiencing the national conference as part of the AMTAS executive board was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. It was a pleasure to meet so many of you and learn about all the hard work you’re doing all year long. On behalf of the national executive board, I’d like to thank anyone reading this for your continued support of students and the future of the profession. I’m so excited to see the great things students continue to do!
2017 American Music Therapy Association Students Secretary
Hello, AMTAS! My name is Grace Ham, and I’m your secretary for the 2018-2019 year. One of my jobs include taking all the great stuff the regions are doing and publishing it in our blog. Hopefully this can serve as a source of inspiration that your own schools and regions can utilize or adapt. If you have any great ideas or events, email me at email@example.com. I would love to hear from you all!