I am the membership committee representative for the Western Region on the American Music Therapy Association because I am very passionate about supporting AMTA. I dedicate this post to our national association, the AMTA.

Here are my personal reasons for proudly maintaining my membership:

1. Unity and Community ~ San Diego’s population is 3 million (US Census). Imagine how lost our mere 50 San Diego music therapists would be without organizations and associations like AMTA and our local SDMTA. Our organization’s mission is to advance awareness of the benefits of music therapy. When I go out into the world to promote music therapy, I have the strength of almost 3,500 AMTA members standing right beside me. With that mind-set, I can take the bull by the horns without anxiety.

2. Collaboration ~ I continuously collaborate with other music therapists. Recently on a local level, I’ve collaborated with Dayna Koehn of  Munchkin Musik, Davida Price of  Bliss Music Therapy, and Draza Jansky of Dance, Sing, Love. Nationally, I’ve collaborated on projects with the  National Institute for Infant & Child Medical Music Therapy and Jim Pierce of  William Carey University. These partnerships are priceless, and AMTA ties us all together. Any national news about our profession gets circulated from AMTA to all of my music therapy contacts, so we’re always on the same page. This makes our interaction very fluid.

3. Networking ~ AMTA conferences provide a vibrant setting for person-to-person communication. We can tweet, blog, facebook, and get feeds all day (all of which I love), but when you meet someone in person, you take in all the non-verbal communication that helps to convey ideas, thoughts, and feelings so much clearer. Music therapists with whom I’ve maintained connection include some of our professionals leading researchers:  Dr. Jayne Standley, Dr. Melita Belgrave,  Dr. Andrea CevascoDr. Petra Kern, and more.

4. What Does the Future Hold for Music Therapy? Also, at our conferences I am able to personally meet up with and learn more about music therapist clinicians who are blazing the trails for the future. Here are three music therapists who have great blogs:  Kimberly Sena Moore at Neurosong, and Michelle Erfurt at Erfurt Music TherapyRachel Rambach at Music Therapy Connections. Without AMTA, I would never have met these amazing therapists. I continue to learn by reading their blogs and keeping up-to-date with their music therapy news across the country.

5. Research Journals ~ Thanks to my AMTA membership, I have copies of all the full text articles from the Journal of Music Therapy and Music Therapy Perspectives since I was in grad school. When I search for good research to back up my presentations, I always have those resources available without having to pay a fee to an online research archive.

6. Scholarships ~ In 2007, I was an Anne Emery Kyllo Professional Scholarship winner for an essay that I had to write for a grant anyway! Only members are invited to apply, and fortunately I had most of the content written in a document already. Perfect! There are several other scholarships for which you can apply if you are a member as well.  Check them out!

Michelle Erfurt gave a presentation about AMTA membership at the national conference in San Diego. Her presentation focused on identifying the needs of music therapists and matching up AMTA services and benefits to address those specific needs.  Feel free to peruse through her presentation.

Why am I writing about this? Because I’m leading a Western Regional campaign for our current members to Take 10 to Make 10, that is, take 10 minutes to make 10 phone calls. We have a list of current board-certified music therapists who are not members of AMTA, and we hope to increase our numbers. There is power in numbers.

First, be well, feel good, and make MUSIC, then, let’s make those phone calls!

Thanks for reading! What do you think? Is membership in your national association important to you? Why or why not?

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