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October 2021
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Thursday, October 14, 2021 - Sunday, October 17, 2021

AMTA 2021 Conference

All Day Event

Download a PDF of the full 2021 AMTA Conference Program


Message from Conference Chair Wendy Woolsey:

American Music Therapy Association looks forward to welcoming you to our Virtual 2021 Annual Conference, October 14-17, 2021. With more sessions than in 2020, increased opportunities for networking, top-notch educational content presenting by leaders in the profession and more, this year’s event will not disappoint. Based on member and conference feedback, an added focus to improve safety and accessibility has been incorporated into the overall conference experience. With content organized by the conference team led by Vice President Wendy Woolsey and Vice President-Elect Andrea Dalton, AMTA looks forward to welcoming the music therapy community to the 2021 Virtual Annual Conference. CMTE and LCAT credit opportunities available. Revisit this page for updates as they become available.


Featured Guests

Opening Session Guest Speaker

Nick van BlossNick van Bloss is the only acclaimed concert pianist in the world who suffers from severe, non-swearing Tourette Syndrome, a condition that causes him some 70,000 bodily tics per day.  However, once he touches a piano, his tics dissipate. Not only does this give Nick respite from an exhausting condition, it seems that the neuro and muscular activity that would normally cause uncontrollable tics allows Nick to harness this energy to the piano and music. Oliver Sacks, who wrote a chapter of his book Musicophilia about Nick, firmly believed that his Tourette’s enhances his musical ability.

At the age of 26, Nick played a televised concert in Poland, a concert that proved to be his last public appearance for 15 years - a time in which he effectively retired from music. During these years Nick rarely touched a piano, but he did write his autobiographical memoir about living with Tourette’s  ‘Busy Body’, which was published to much acclaim in 2006. The following year he presented a BBC television documentary in which he interviewed several people with differing neurological conditions who are helped, and also fuelled, by creative endeavours. This led to public interest in his piano playing and, in 2008, he restarted his performing and recording career, with a London ‘comeback’ concert hailed internationally as a ’Triumph’. Since then he has continued making recordings and has performed extensively all over the world.

Sharing his story of triumph over adversity, the obstacles that living with Tourette’s has presented personally and professionally, and how music has been the antidote to a debilitating condition, Nick has been featured as a guest speaker in multiple countries and in many different institutions including, UCLA, Yale, Royal College of Music, and the Miami International Festival. Interviews with Nick and features on him have been featured in media outlets internationally.

Keynote Address: Transforming Trauma – How to Do this Work and Sustain

Laura van Dernoot LipskyLaura van Dernoot Lipsky is the founder and director of The Trauma Stewardship Institute and author of Trauma Stewardship and The Age of Overwhelm. Widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of trauma exposure, she has worked locally, nationally, and internationally for more than three decades. Much of her work is being invited to assist in the aftermath of community catastrophes - whether they are fatal storms or mass shootings. Simultaneously, she has long been active in community organizing and movements for social and environmental justice and has taught on issues surrounding systematic oppression, structural supremacy, and liberation theory. Laura is on the advisory board of ZGiRLS, an organization that supports young girls in sports. She is a founding member of the International Transformational Resilience Network, which supports the development of capacity to address climate change. Laura also served as an associate producer of the award-winning film A Lot Like You, and was given a Yo! Mama award in recognition of her work as a community-activist mother.


Your Conference Registration includes:

  • 120 Concurrent Educational Sessions
  • 50 Research Posters and Sessions
    • Discover current and new areas of research; find how the research relates to your practice.
  • 23 Add-on Sessions for Even More CMTE Opportunities
  • 10 Special Sessions
    • Special sessions on social justice, trauma, resilience, global perspectives, and more!
    • 7 Networking Events
    • AMTAS Passages Event for Students with educational sessions designed just for students
    • Internship Fair
    • Clinical Practice Networking Sessions
    • Drum Circle
    • Affinity Groups
    • Latin American Music Therapy Dance Party
    • Pop-up Networking Chats You Design
  • 6 Months Access to Recorded Sessions in the Virtual Vault
    • Access all available 2021 virtual conference content when convenient for you; no missing out on competing sessions like in-person conferences. View every single session if you wish!
  • 2 Keynote Addresses
    • Keynote Address “Transforming Trauma — How to Do this Work and Sustain” with Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, Founder and Director of The Trauma Stewardship Institute
    • Closing Session Spectacular Featuring Sound Health Network with Special Guests Dr. Julene Johnson, Dr. Sheri Robb, and Music from Jill Colucci
  • 1 Online Exhibit Spectacular
    • 24 hours access to the hottest vendors, see what they offer the music therapy community, ask questions.
  • $0 in Travel, Hotel, and Food Expense
  • And So Much Music!

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