When you hear the words “Hill Day”, what images come to mind? A celebration of rolling green hills? Marching up an incline with great conviction? To be honest, when I heard about Music Therapy Hill Day a couple months ago, I didn’t have much of a clue either.
Simply put, Music Therapy Hill Day is when music therapists and music therapy advocates come together to represent music therapy and the current needs of the profession.
More importantly, we come together at the state capitol to converse in person with our house representatives and senators. The relationships that are built with those in office have been instrumental in not only having our voices heard, but also in shaping future legislation that could provide greater access to music therapy services for the public from qualified music therapists.
The day before Hill Day finally came around, and here I was, not really sure what to do or what to expect. Having been told to contact my senators and state representatives, I located my district, called my senator from my local district, and within minutes got a call back from his staffer notifying me that my senator carved out time in his schedule to talk with me about music therapy.
With a meeting scheduled with my senator and my fellow MTC music therapists to accompany me to the capitol, I felt a greater sense of resolve and looked forward to what the next day would bring.
As I walked into the capitol building the next morning, I got the chance to meet other music therapists, student music therapists, and music therapy educators who had traveled to Springfield. To me, it was amazing to see so many different individuals from all points in their careers passionately representing music therapy. There were even several, like me, who were attending Hill Day for the first time.
The day was packed with hand-delivering folders of information to Illinois state representatives and senators, personally meeting with Senators about a bill that would implement licensure for music therapists in Illinois, and getting to know other seasoned professionals who were at the forefront of music therapy advocacy and education.
Before I knew it, my small part in laying the groundwork for greater awareness for music therapy in Illinois had come and gone. Rachel, Katey, Alisabeth, and I all had opportunities to share not just about the frequently asked questions regarding music therapy, but specifically how our local Springfield community has benefited from the services we provide here at Music Therapy Connections.
As we all ended the day eating lunch together, I felt a great sense of privilege for being a part of a workplace that cares about its community, the laws that protect our clients, and the future of the music therapy profession in our state.
I learned that advocating for music therapy can just be as simple as making a phone call to those with influence, and that I’m a part of a greater community of music therapists who love what they do!
This time next year when you hear about Hill Day in your state, take the time to reach out to your music therapy community, ask them questions, and see how you can be involved. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn.