#AMTA13 and Beyond: 4 Ways to Make Your Mark at Your First MT Conference

25 Nov
photo-43

Downtown Jacksonville, FL

All you #musictherapy ists out there: can you believe that national conference is over already?! It feels like the weekend went by in an absolute blur… but the (extremely) cold Maryland weather and my still unpacked bag filled to the brim with business cards, free goodies and music books (woo hoo!) are a reminder that I really was in sunny Florida just over a day ago. Because this was my first time experiencing a national conference, I’m really excited to share some of the things I learned to help all those other conference newbies out there feel confident and successful when navigating through the world of music therapy networking. It doesn’t matter if you’re at a national conference, regional conference, or just talking to a random person out there in the world—you can leave a positive impression in just a few short minutes  and feel empowered while doing it.

1. Make it rain with your business cards! Give everyone you meet a business card, and be sure to get theirs too. I was really nervous about this at first but once I got the hang of it, it just felt natural to trade contact info.

  • Start or end every conversation with someone new by exchanging business cards.
  • Leave a business card on your seat after you leave a session—you never know who might be the next person to sit there and take your card!
  •  Make your business card stand out with bright colors, interesting text or a unique logo.
My first official business card!

My first official business card!

2. Don’t be afraid to walk up to someone and introduce yourself—especially if it’s someone you admire!

  • My favorite conversations of the weekend started simply by approaching different people and just saying, “Hi, I’m Kerry! Are you ____?!” Be genuine and I can guarantee that you’ll leave these conversations feeling on top of the world.
    • Some of my most “OH MY GOSH I CAN’T BELIEVE WHO I’M TALKING TO!” moments this weekend were with:
      • Ryan Judd (The Rhythm Tree)
      • Kat Fulton and Julie Palmieri (Music Therapy Ed)
      • Michelle Eurfurt (Music Therapy Tween)
      • Rachel See (Music Therapy Services of Austin)
      • Joann Jordan (Music Sparks)

These amazing bloggers spent so much time talking to me about my blog, networking and starting a practice. They really made me feel like a totally #awesomeMT in training and I know they’ll make you feel the same way. Shout outs to all these awesome and inspiring people! If you haven’t checked out their blogs…DO IT RIGHT NOW!

Me trying not to be TOO starstruck with Kat and Julie :)

Me trying not to be TOO starstruck with Kat and Julie 🙂

3. Attend a range of concurrent sessions—don’t just stick to one population!

  • I’m currently working with individuals with autism, so I made sure to attend some sessions that I thought would be helpful and directly applicable to my practice (like CJ Shiloh’s exciting presentation about neurodiversity and Sensory Friendly Concerts!) But I also made sure to attend some sessions about topics that were unfamiliar or new (like using rap/punk/metal in clinical settings: rock on!)
  • Plan out what sessions you want to attend in advance! This will maximize your time during the day and give you extra opportunities to network, snack and relax between sessions.

4. Social networking is really important.

  • I’m now officially a blog baby and a twitter baby. I’m learning that it’s a great way to share resources and connect with other music therapists online. Some of the sessions I attended even encouraged live tweeting!
  • I also talked a lot about the wonders of Pinterest. Every time I see a blog post or intervention idea that I like, I pin it onto my music therapy board.  It’s so nice to have all these ideas in one place when I’m looking for some session planning inspiration.
  • If you’re interested, check out my pages:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SongsForSuccess

Pinterest Music Therapy Board: http://www.pinterest.com/kcorne4/music-therapy/

Do you have any extra helpful tips for first time conference goers? Leave a comment below or tweet it at me and I’ll add your words of wisdom to my blog post! Don’t forget to sign up for e-mail updates for additional resources, songs and downloads from Songs for Success—all you have to do is enter your e-mail address on the right side bar. Thanks for stopping by!

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3 Responses to “#AMTA13 and Beyond: 4 Ways to Make Your Mark at Your First MT Conference”

  1. Rachel See, MA, MT-BC November 26, 2013 at 1:14 am #

    I LOVED meeting you – thanks for coming to my session and for introducing yourself – I have your lovely card in my bag and I am putting your site in my bookmarked folder!

    • Songs For Success November 26, 2013 at 1:21 am #

      THANK YOU! It was amazing meeting you too! Let’s please keep in touch…sending hugs from Baltimore!

  2. Ryan Judd November 27, 2013 at 1:54 am #

    Hey Kerry, great blog post! You are a natural. Keep it rolling! 🙂

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