MWAMTA 2011 Conference Recap

I just completed a great weekend conference with the Midwestern Region of the American Music Therapy Association, here in Overland Park, Kansas. These annual regional conferences are a wonderful opportunity to connect with music therapy colleagues working in the heartland and to share valuable information and experiences. In fact, I learned so much that I will have separate blog posts coming up on a few topics addressed at the conference, but for now, here are a few of the highlights:

Dr. Alicia Clair of the University of Kansas gave our keynote address, in which she encouraged music therapists to be flexible to adapt to changes in the music therapy profession and the wider worlds of healthcare and education that we serve. In particular, this reminded me of the need to adapt music therapy services to meet the needs of the aging population, especially as people live longer and aim to age in place as long as possible. Until recently, music therapists typically have served older adults in institutional settings; I believe that in coming years, more music therapy services will be needed for people living in their own homes. This is just one example of how music therapists will need to be open to changes in the profession.

Another highlight of the conference was the performance by Forever Young, the senior rock group based at the Landon Center on Aging. Inspired by the movieYoung@Heart,” these seniors have partnered with music therapy students at the University of Missouri in Kansas City to provide quite the entertaining program!

Conference attendees also enjoyed a lunch and learn program about copyright law as it affects music therapists, presented by Donald Simon, a lawyer and adjunct faculty member at the Art Institutes International. Mr. Simon presented a shorter version of the presentation on copyright law I attended last fall. You can read my posts on copyright basics, work-for-hire, and fair use and licensing issues for a review of the information covered.

Other fascinating sessions I attended included sessions on grief rituals by Dr. Natalie Wlodarczk, MT-BC; intergenerational music therapy programs by Dr. Melita Belgrave, MT-BC; creativity in dementia by Amy Wilson, MA, MT-BC; and documentation of functional decline in hospice patients by Joey Walker, MA, MT-BC. I am still mulling over the information presented in these sessions and considering how to integrate what I learned into my practice.

All in all, it was a successful conference. Now, back to work for me!

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