I typically think of myself as someone who is pretty good with words. I might not always hit the nail on the head verbally, but I mostly get my reader or listener in the general area.
There are no words for my first experience of National Conference.
I’m going to post my recap in sections, because I know of no other way to maintain your attention and say all of the things I want to say. I have no idea how many sections this will have, but for today: the people.
You may not be aware, but I can be kind of socially awkward. I remember not knowing anyone at the first conference I ever attended. As a result, I spent a good deal of time alone. This conference was the opposite of that, and it is all thanks to the wonderful connections I’ve made sitting right here in front of my computer.
Conference began nearly 6 months ago when my dear friend Kat Fulton invited me to stay with her at her sister’s house in Atlanta. Kat and I had never met face to face, so conference was already going to have a lot of connections that way. Add into the mix a former member of my own region and recent transplant to the west, Jessy Rushing, and we had a great arrangement.
Thanks to twitter and facebook, I also had a dinner, lunch, or coffee buddy at all times. The majority of the people that I hung out with were people I had never actually met before! It was AWESOME and always different! I didn’t really have much in the way of a ‘core’ group, unless my ‘core’ group was the 50+ tweeters and facebookers I have had the pleasure of meeting.
The opportunity to meet people in similar situations to mine and to share our ideas ( Tim Ringgold , we are DOING THIS THING) was inspiring. The ability to meet the names I have been reading for years was breathtaking (and embarrassing at times!). The realization that my little blog over here is making an impact with my colleagues was humbling.
And lastly, the ability to be a part of the 5 rocking ladies who “twittered [Ben Folds] to death” was phenomenal. It made me realize and appreciate (again) the power of social media, and also just amazed that I could be a part of something so big in my first national conference. For those of you who are curious, Ben and his manager, Sharon, were both amazingly intelligent, incredibly funny, and genuine, wonderful people who are excited about our field! I am so excited about the future possibilities with Ben and music therapy.
Thanks to Meryl Brown at Developing Melodies for her phenomenal photos! The less phenomenal are from my phone.