*CORRECTION: We jumped the gun and sent out the wrong info at first! Please see corrections below. Thanks =)

Hey Music Therapists, fans and friends! Please read the letter below by Olga Samsonova-Jellison, VP of the newly formed California Association of Music Therapy (CAAMT).

And… whether you live in California or not, join us! It’s only $30 thru January 5th. On January 6th, the membership fee will be $50. Here are the pricing details:

For new members – $30 through January 31st; goes up to $50 on February 1st
For 2016/returning members – $30 through February 28th; goes up to $50 on March 1st.

Take advantage of the discount while you can! They have exciting stuff planned for 2017 that you won’t want to miss.

In order to join CAAMT, simply send an email to caamtinc@gmail.com, and you’ll receive registration details pronto.

California Association of Music Therapists, Olga Jellison  

Musings in anticipation of the Holiday Season

(A letter to music therapists practicing in the State of California)

Dear colleagues,

In anticipation of the Holiday Season, it seems appropriate to mention that 2016 is going to be remembered as the year of establishing the California Association for Music Therapy, Inc. (CAAMT). Within the last two months, CAAMT made two important steps in the way of uniting music therapists in the state: the Southern CA and Northern CA events, which took place on September 17th and October 1st, respectively.

I was looking at the pictures taken on September 17th at the very first CAAMT event at Fields Pianos in Santa Ana, CA and my mind went two months back reflecting on the time of preparation for this event. Three things became apparent to me.

California Association of Music Therapists drumming

First, when we concentrate on the power of music, we have more friends than we think we have. I was thinking with gratitude about all the non-music therapists who made the Southern CA event possible. All these people are professionally connected with music.

Mr. Gordon McNelly, the showroom manager at Fields Pianos-Home of Steinway, shared with me that he had a long time interest in music therapy for personal reasons. Mr. Carl Smelser, a professional percussionist and educator, is a trained HealthRHYTHMS facilitator. Without hesitation he agreed to donate his time and to lead the community-building drumming session for our event. After a 30-minute session led by Mr. Smelser, the group of about fifty shy people were actively discussing the future of music therapy in the state of California. Marla Joy Weisshaar, the second violin and a teaching artist from the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, happily agreed to contribute her music to the event.

Breanna Sotelo, a mother of three, eagerly represented recipients of music therapy services; hence CAAMT is an association for music therapy with music therapy clients at the center of it. The most pleasant surprise was an avid interest in music therapy from some music majors from the Irvine Valley College Music to Heal Club. I was looking at all these pictures and thought that we, music therapists practicing in the state of California, are just destined to prevail with such support.

California association of music therapists, CAAMT Second, when we concentrate on the power of music, we affirm the value of collegiality in our profession. Looking at the pictures, I realized that different generations of music therapy professionals were represented in the event. The older generations of music therapists—Mr. George J. Gilliam, Dr. Cynthia Smith, and Roberta Adler—have modeled superior musicianship on the stage of Fields Pianos.

The CAAMT regional representatives, Andrea Clark and Allie McNay, took their turns during the musical Open Mic. The IVC students from the Music to Heal Club delighted the participants with their choir singing in six different languages. The future generation of music therapists already understand the significance of cultural diversity and its relation to music. It felt wonderful to reconnect with my old clinical supervisors and catch up with my former classmates.

The third thing that occurred to me was that concentration on the power of music upholds the value of a cooperative approach as opposed to a competitive one. The common knowledge that competition works better is a traditional American value. Yet, adopting a cooperative approach, as a standard of interaction with colleagues, is historically necessary for promoting music therapy as a profession in the state of California, which is our collective professional goal. In order to understand the power of cooperation, just think of the strength of the orchestral sound compared to the sound of one guitar on the stage.

A few months ago I attended a concert at the Costa Mesa Performing Center. The Pacific Symphony Orchestra played Beatles’ songs. The audience couldn’t help but sing along. I dream that the CAAMT creates such an orchestra in the state of California that the audience will not be able to resist but sing along.

According to Dr. Buffington, research shows that cooperation is beneficial for mental and physical health. Music therapy is an allied health profession. As music therapists, we have to learn how to be healthy. However, too much of anything could be a problem. According to the same source, a possible side effect of cooperation is inappropriate conformity, a “yes-man syndrome.” That is why I hope that music therapists practicing in California will use their best clinical judgment and each finds their own part to play as our profession finds its own voice in our wonderful state.

Enjoy the music of the Holiday Season 2016!

Olga Samsonova-Jellison, MA, MT-BC, NMT
Vice President
California Association for Music Therapy

P.S. Don’t forget, your deadline is JANUARY 5TH. On January 6th, the price goes up from $30 to $50. Join now by emailing caamtinc@gmail.com, and you’ll receive registration details pronto.

Here are pricing details:
For new members – $30 through January 31st; goes up to $50 on February 1st
For 2016/returning members – $30 through February 28th; goes up to $50 on March 1st

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