Two weeks ago I flew from the palm tree-lined streets of Miami to frigid, snowy Minneapolis for the National Music Therapy Conference.

Although the temperature change was a bit of a shock, even for me who grew up in Pennsylvania (and has lived in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey), I am so glad I went.

There are three main reasons why I think it’s critical to attend the National Conference as often as possible (I’ve attended seven in total!):

1.We get to connect with “our people.” We can jump right into a conversation about rhythmic auditory stimulation or proprioceptive input without missing a beat. We can “talk shop” about best practices for our business or how to improve our banjolele skills (yes, that’s a thing!)

2. It keeps us on the forefront of the latest research and newest, innovative tools for our clinical practice and business. I learned how to use visual aids on an interactive wipe board for school-age students who are non-verbal. I watched demos of a variety of DJ apps for teens with severe and profound intellectual disability. The technology available to us now is incredible and offers a variety of ways to engage our clients regardless of their level.

3.It reminds us to keep learning for the benefit of our clients. So often I hear from MTs that we kind of get in the rut of doing the same thing in our sessions over and over. Going to conference reminds us that there is a world of creative possibilities out there! New apps, new techniques, new strategies for engagement. I am here for it all.

In the next post, I’ll talk about how to absorb all this wonderful information that we learn at conference.

It can kind of feel like we’re drinking from a fire hose, am I right? But, there are several ways to ensure we absorb the information and put it into practice for the benefit of our clients.

Although I enjoyed the cold weather in Minnesota for a short while, I’m happy to be back in sunny South Florida, where our average winter temperature is around 75 degrees.