Monday, January 14, 2013

Advocacy: The Student Edition

Last year, one of the best posts to come out of Social Media Advocacy Month was Top 10 Times You're an Advocate and You Don't Even Know It by the fantastic Kimberly Sena Moore. Music therapy students, if you don't know who she is, I suggest you start following her on Twitter and reading her blog, Music Therapy Maven. She's an advocacy rock star!

Since a student's involvement with music therapy is a little different than that of a working professional, I offer you all the best ways I have found to advocate as a student!

1. Educate Mom & Dad (and your siblings, and grandparents, and cousins, and nieces and nephews, and great aunt Sally)
Don't be afraid to take a few minutes at the next family dinner and chat with your family about what you are going to school for. Most people are naturally fascinated by the idea of music therapy, so go ahead and ask your family what they already know and fill in any major gaps in their knowledge. The coolest thing happened to me over the holidays. A friend of the family asked what music therapy was all about, and before I could open my mouth, my parents started explaining it like advocacy pros!

2. Social Media
Our generation was practically born with Facebook and Twitter accounts. Use that knowledge of social media to share music therapy news with your family and friends. Follow music therapists on Twitter, and like music therapy businesses on Facebook. Check out the AMTA News page for ideas of what to share using social media.

3. Practice Your "Elevator Speeches"
The question, "What is music therapy?" will be with you like a birthmark until music therapy becomes so mainstream that it would be laughable not to know about it. Until that day, people will ask you this in restaurants, grocery stores, in lines, in the park, you name it. The challenge for you is answering this question in less than 2 minutes! Practice answering the most common questions you hear and see how concise you can get your answer while still giving the most important points.

4. Wear It Out Loud
Does your music therapy student organization have t-shirts or hoodies? Do you have any AMTA apparel? Don't save it for lazy Saturdays in the house. Instead, wear your music therapy clothing out to run errands and be prepared to answer "What is music therapy?" yet again.

5. Gig In the Name of Music Therapy
Every time I perform for anything, when someone compliments a performance, my response goes something like this. "Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed it. I am actually majoring in music therapy, so I would hope my education is paying off." And again, I answer, "What is music therapy?"

6. Start a Music Therapy Blog
It's not hard, and even as a student, you will have valuable things to share. I promise.

7. Join Your CBMT State Task Force
If you really want to be involved with advocacy, this is the way to go. I'm not kidding. I did it, and so did a fellow Drury student. We have gotten to participate in conference calls and be "in the know" with the process of state recognition in Missouri. If there is anything students can do along the way, I want to know about it and help. Check out the CBMT State Recognition page and brainstorm ways you could be involved with the process. Contact your state task force to offer your services.

I didn't quite make 10, but I bet you have some more ideas! Share them in the comments below.

No comments:

Post a Comment