CONFERENCE IS HERE...

...and so am I.

I am in the current mecca for US Music Therapists, eating food court chinese food and watching television. This is the life, hunh? I arrived after my very first full-body scan at the first airport. Both of my flights came in early, and my bag arrived with me! This is starting to be a banner conference year for me. My early conferences were not so easy. Should I be worried?? Nah.
I think I have finally arrived.

As a therapist/clinician/researcher/student of music therapy, I have enjoyed being involved with music therapists throughout my profession. The first conference I attended was in 1989. We gathered in Kansas City, and it was my first experience as a music therapist. I was a sophomore at a local university, and a bunch of us went to the conference together. I signed up to proctor several sessions, including a memorable session about how to write questions for the Board Certification examination. After that, the seniors took pity on me and took me to a bar. It was my first bar. I had a Sprite, walked out of the bar, and promptly slipped and broke my left elbow. Conference mishap #1. (Coincidentally, that was the only thing that my sophomore peers remembered about me two years later at the end of our education.

My second session was in San Diego in 1991. The person who arranged our housing told me that we were staying in "the airport Travelodge." There are 12 "airport Travelodges." I went to 8 of them before breaking down in tears in one of the lobbies. The man took pity on me and called the other ones until we found the correct Travelodge. When I got there, my schoolmate had not put my name on the reservation, so I couldn't get into the room. Later that conference, I was chastised for "breathing too heavily" while I was sleeping (after a 36-hour train trip, a 2.5-hour drive and being all scuzzy during the opening session. No one cared about the "scuzzy" part except me).

I went to Houston next. I think this was in 1994 or 1995. I made it through the thickest fog I have ever seen, on standby. I made it to Houston, my bags did not. Scuzzy attendance at the opening session again. I tried to hide behind a potted plant. It did not work. My professor found me and stood next to me for the entire session. This was also the first conference where I presented at the conference. The same friend who arranged the San Diego housing asked me to present with her. She told me that she had the whole thing planned, and I didn't have to do a thing. We were presenting on things to do with persons with developmental disabilities - one of my favorite things to talk about. We went into the presentation, and she started a loud political diatribe. I sat in shock and did not join in. We had presentation evaluations at that conference, and participants reamed her up and down. I still have those slips of paper. I read them sometimes for an insane giggle.

Nashville followed. I did my first solo presentation and planned for about 30 people. More arrived - 150 folks crammed into a room about songwriting and breaking out of creative slumps. I was shocked, but it taught me an important lesson - therapists are in need of creativity and things to do with clients.

Oooh - more to think about, but I'm jet-lagged and Friends is on...

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