What I learned from OCMT2011

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Image by yum9me via Flickr

This past weekend I took part in OCMT 2011: On-line Conference for Music Therapy  2011. It was a great way to attend a conference – no travel, no hotels, lots of interaction, and lots of opportunities to learn.  Just like most conferences, I didn’t “attend” all the sessions but unlike most conferences I will be able to listen to recordings of those I missed.  We also were able to write comments, questions,and resources with each other during the presentations.

Using Elluminate, presenters shared slides, audio clips, videos and spoke to the group. Learning technology is a process. I know it will go even better in future online conferences given the improvements as we learned to use what was available to us.

Here are a few of the items I learned:

  • There are an amazing number of music therapist around the world.  Though our training,certification, and  cultures may vary, we all use the wonderful modality of music to assist those with whom we work.
  • I had a wonderful refresher on music and movement in child development.
  • Multi-tasking with computers, listening, and taking notes is a little more difficult after this many years out of the classroom. Yet, I still love to learn and have information refreshed.  Maybe I can open a score take notes, and listen to a music excerpt like I did in college, but that’s okay. I know like other things, it just takes practice.
  • My reading list (books & journal articles) to further my knowledge grew by leaps and bounds.  Now I need to find the time to DO more reading.
  • I gained the perspective of viewing music therapy as the meeting of math, arts, behavioral/social sciences, and natural science.
  • I was exposed to the concept of chakras each have a rhythmic pulsation.  In theory this is part of why music can help when a deficit or weakness presents.
  • Skyping and other technological means of connecting are being explored for appropriateness and efficacy as treatment options with some clients and other related fields such as speech therapy.
  • Took part in a lively discussion regarding the role of specialization in Music Therapy.
  • Learned the average lifetime costs for treatment and care for Autism in the US is $3.5 to $5 million.
  • I gained useful information about Augmenative and Alternative Communication devices.  What was considered “high-tech” when I went to college is now “low tech”.
  • Rachelle Norman provided a  definition for “clinification”. I imagine it is an issue for many creative arts therapist and educators.  (As an aside, if you are interested in more information on music therapy & seniors, I encourage you to visit her blog: Soundscape Music Therapy.  Rachelle has some great entries.)
  • I had a refresher & reminders about the Web & social media in my work.
  • I now have better insights of the process music therapy plays in hospice.
  • I know the history behind The Music Therapy Show with Janice Harris on Blog Talk Radio.  If you want to know more about music therapy, this is a great resource.  Her show can also be downloaded from iTunes.

For me the highlight of the conference was connecting with others across the globe.  My follow list for Twitter and blogs has increased  as have my Facebook friends.  Having an increased circle of colleagues to enrich my knowledge, to share resources, and to bounce ideas,  enhances what I am able to share with my clients.

If you have an opportunity to participate in an online conference, I recommend giving it a try.


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