It's been an extraordinary year here at The George Center, and we wanted to take a moment and reflect back on the last 12 months before tackling 2013. Take a look at our top 10 moments of 2012!
1. Georgia Senate Bill 414 PASSED!
After many months of advocating for state recognition of the MT-BC credential (Music Therapist-Board Certified) as part of our state’s music therapy task force, Georgia Senate Bill 414 for Music Therapy Licensure passed on March 30, 2012! It was signed into law by Governor Deal on May 1, 2012 and became law on July 1, 2012. Our task force journey was long, but not as long as many other surrounding states. After several years of advocacy, we hope to see North Carolina and South Carolina licensure legislation drop in 2013. We could never have passed this bill without the grassroots effort of many music therapists, families, patients, and advocates across the state. We hope that the passage of this bill will increase access to quality music therapy services for the residents of Georgia. A Special THANK YOU to Rachel Coon-Arnott, Kirby Carruth, and the rest of the task force for their diligent work!
2. South Eastern Regional American Music Therapy Association Conference
What is a bill passage without a celebration? The best part about passing a law recognizing music therapists in Georgia was that we literally found out that the bill had passed as we were pulling into the parking lot of our hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina for the South Eastern Regional American Music Therapy Association Conference. We were greeted by congratulations and well wishes from music therapists from across our region! Music Therapy conferences are always a great time to learn, refresh our skills, network, and celebrate our profession. But this conference was extra special. To say we were on ecstatic would be an understatement. We even had a party at our state meeting of the Music Therapy Association of Georgia, complete with party hats and noise makers.
3. Arts Advocacy Day
I was extremely lucky to be able to travel to Washington DC with representatives from the American Music Therapy Association and the Certification Board for Music Therapists as part of Arts Advocacy Day at the Capitol. This was an opportunity to take what I learned about advocacy at the state level and apply it at our nation’s capital. In addition to meeting with congressmen and congresswomen and discussing the importance of arts in healthcare, I got to hang out with Ben Folds AGAIN! Ben has been an incredible advocate and supporter of our profession since he attended the American Music Therapy Association National Conference in Atlanta in 2011.If all of that excitement weren’t enough, I was able to meet goo people at Terra Rising Records. See below for that little nugget! Arts Advocacy Day will continue to stand out as one of the highlights of my career.
4. Summer Camps
As many of our clients know, we have to cancel sessions periodically over the summer so that we can provide music therapy at summer camps across the state for a variety of populations. This summer was no exception. We were honored to provide music therapy services for Camp Hollywood and Camp Infinity with FOCUS and Camp Twin Lakes, Camp Krazy Legs with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Camp Cadi with Safe Girls Strong Girls, and Camp Good Mourning with Kate’s Club. WE love offering music therapy and creating special memories with our clients at summer camp!
5. Music Therapy Ed.Com
There is this really great music therapist in San Diego, CA that is making waves, forging the path for music therapy across the nation! Her name is Kat Fulton. In addition to running her practice, Sound Health Music and her blog, Rhythm for Good, Kat just launched www.MusicTherapyEd.com. Music Therapy Ed.com is a website where music therapists can take required continuing education credits in an online forum. In addition to excellent class options, MT’s have access to forums where they can discuss the literature and ask the instructor questions. I was honored to be asked to teach a music therapy reimbursement course for this esteemed site, which launched in July. Keep your eyes peeled… our own Andrew Littlefield will be contributing to the site in the very near future!
6. Terra Rising Records and The Case for Music
Where do I begin? These incredible people named Mike Ricucci and Michelle Murphy Akaras decided to make a movie. They have traveled across the country and back interviewing music therapists, observing sessions, documenting the magic that music therapy provides, and providing overall support for the profession. Their movie is about the power of music therapy and we had the opportunity to be a part of that project. I could wax poetic about the great people at Terra Rising Records, but suffice it to say, we made music, provided a therapeutic outlet, laughed, cried, saw Ben Folds (AGAIN!), ate Thai food, told stories, and shared our lives. I can’t wait to cross their paths again. And I can’t wait to see the movie! If you have not already done so, you can check out the trailer here!
7. The American Music Therapy National Conference in St. Charles, IL
This year’s conference was enlightening and busy! It was the first time that our entire team of music therapists traveled together…. which made for some everlasting inside jokes and team building opportunities (what happens in St. Charles stays in St. Charles, right?). We were all able to take the 4-day long, intensive, Neurological Music Therapy training and become certified to provide NMT to our patients. I was able to attend some excellent reimbursement sessions and learn a little more about how the affordable care act may affect our practice. I presented on advocacy and employment issues. In addition, I was honored to receive the Change Maker Award from the American Music Therapy Association for my part in advocating for music therapy legislation in Georgia.
8. Moving to Our Brand New Clinic
On October 28, 2012 we FINALLY moved into our new clinic space with Cobblestone Therapy Group in Sweet Apple Village at the corner of Etris Rd. and Crabapple Rd. Our new clinic is a beautiful, open, clean, space where we can spread out and provide even better services to our patients. We have plenty of room for our one on one sessions, our Any Dream Will Do Performing Arts Group, and our Kindermusik classes. If you haven’t been able to stop by and see our new digs, you can check out our GCMTV Cribs Tour here!
In August 2012, we launched our new and MUCH improved website and blog thanks to Andrew Littlefield, MM, MT-BC. The site is now easy to navigate, offers many more resources and options for our families, and is mobile optimized. Not to mention easy on the eyes! In addition, we added this blog that you are reading now! We update the blog 3 times a week with articles, ideas, activities, and resources for our patients and their families. Make sure you check in periodically or signup for our mailing list to stay in the know on GCMT happenings and blogs!
10. Growing and Hiring!
I am quite fond of #10. GCMT has grown tremendously in 2012. This time last year it was just me and Laurie Peebles, MT-BC (music therapist extraordinaire) working it, pounding the pavement (for many miles), and providing music therapy all over Atlanta. In January, Andrea Johnson, MT-BC joined our team and started filling her caseload of clients. Andrea is a gentle soul, and a warm and talented musician and therapist. We are extremely lucky to have her on the team! In April, I hired Christy Deneau as our Billing Manager. Christy has brought so much (sanity) to our company and continues to be a life saver for us all on almost a daily basis. Her laugh is infectious and her work ethic is unmatched. In August, Andrew Littlefield came on as Assistant Director and literally changed the face of GCMT. His technical prowess, talent, and personality have rounded out our team beautifully. And last bit not least, in November, Tasia Dockery joined our team. Tasia is a fun, charismatic, and energetic therapist. Her musicianship and therapeutic style are easy and natural. She is a perfect piece in our puzzle. I am thankful every day for this awesome team of therapists surrounding me and motivating me to be