WFMT World Congress 2014 Reflections

Every time the global music therapy community is able to get together is a special time! The Congress that recently passed in Krems and Vienna, Austria was particularly enriching for me. It was the first time since working with the 2011-2014 WFMT Council that we all were able to meet together in person to have our Annual Meeting. Our other meetings during 2011-2014 took place with some council members attending in a location (generally while several are attending a conference) with other Council members Skyped in, or completely held online. It was special in that I got to know others I have worked with over the past 3 years and got to really engage in some wonderful planning and discussions regarding the WFMT. In a future President Presents blog post, I will talk more on our projects and strategic planning.The Congress itself was also so dynamic. I attended a number of excellent presentations and particularly enjoyed all of the spotlight speaker sessions. I was fortunate to present a few of my own papers and posters and to organize a roundtable on diversity in education. There is so much high quality work being done around the world. It is motivating and rewarding to be a part of the International music therapy family. Not only were the educational portions of the Congress well organized and engaging, but the cultural program was outstanding: from being able to tour a famous castle to celebrating at the opening and closing with beautiful music. The Congress team went all out in providing a truly warm welcome to Austria!At the Congress, several professional scholarships were awarded to facilitate Congress attendance. Below is an excerpt of a letter the WFMT received from a scholarship recipient.“Attending the 14th World Congress of Music Therapy 2014 in Krems/Vienna broadened my horizons about various music therapy practices. The experiences and knowledge of the music therapists from all over the world have given me a lot of insight into my job and also expanded my knowledge of helping people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. For example, one of the speakers from the US shared her successful career experiences in developing private practice. Her encouragement and advice have given me ideas of developing my career in an alternative way. Apart from the paper presentations and workshops, the cultural events that were organized every evening provided me the opportunity to learn more about Austrian culture. For example, traveling along the Blue Danube on a boat and visiting Grafenegg Castle were the most unforgettable experiences. Networking was another important part of the Congress. I was able to meet other therapists from different cultural backgrounds. It was a valuable opportunity to share my experiences, and it also let me knew more about other therapists’ works from different countries and their ways to deal with challenges.”I was so enthused about my Congress experience that upon return to Canada I wrote a blog for a Canadian journal website. I am already looking forward to the 2017 World Congress in Japan!!! Time to start saving for an amazing event.Amy Clements-Cortes, PhD, MT-BC, MTAFellow of the Association for Music and ImageryPresident, WFMT