Over 1000 people attended the World Congress of Music Therapy, most of them practicing Music Therapists or students from all over the world. This made for a very interesting week filled with round table discussions, varied and stimulating presentations as well as many shared ideas and understandings of what music therapy is and when and where it can be used.
We were pleased to have 7 Music as Therapy International representatives attend the congress and present three papers, one poster presentation and a round table discussion. I am pleased to share the following feedback from Sarah Hadley, Nicky Haire and Cathy Rowland who have long been involved with our activities overseas and at home.
We are pleased to say that Sarah Hadley's paper, 'necesity is the mother of invention: the
inception of interactive music making' was recieved with much enthusiasm. As the leader of the largest NHS paediatric Music Therapy service in the UK, Sarah recognised how formalised skill sharing was to become an imperative in order to be able to meet the increased demand and demography of the Music Therapy caseload within the Royal London Borough of Greenwich.
This paper traces the origins of this formalised skill-sharing from a Home Programme for parents of children with Downs Syndrome (1994) and the significant contribution played by a period of time spent training Romanian practitioners on behalf of the charity Music as Therapy International to use music with children with wide ranging needs (1999), in developing a new approach now called ‘Interactive Music-Making’ (2009).
The Interactive Music-Making approach has successfully extracted two specific principles of music therapy, namely:
1.Creating a secure attachment base as the basis of achieving positive developmental outcomes
2.Using music in a way which is responsive to the children’s innate musicality
This paper explores how it has been possible to transfer these key principles into everyday practice from the traditional highly specialist context, which is rooted heavily in professional musicianship, to create a training programme which requires no formal musical skills of its students. By building instead on the students’ strong motivation to use music to support healthy early child development, this paper demonstrates how it has been possible to make effective musical activities and techniques accessible to early years practitioners. This in effect has widened the scope of practice to support the early identification of needs which may require Music Therapy or has prevented the escalation of need to a level where a clinical intervention would be indicated.
Nicky Haire, Caroline Anderson and Alexia Quin chaired a round table discussion about the role of digital Media within our activities in Rwanda. Nicky gave us the following feedback:
Nicky Haire, Caroline Anderson and Alexia Quin chaired a round table discussion about the role of digital Media within our activities. Nicky gave us the following feedback:
“It was such a fantastic time. Not only hearing other presentations from fellow MasTInt teams but mixing with lots of different music therapists from around the world and sharing views and ideas from all sorts of contexts and stances. The breadth of work was inspiring but in addition to the papers and presentations, it was the in-between conversations about music therapy with people I'd never met who perhaps worked in very different settings which made it very special.”
Cathy Rowland, our Clinical Advisor co- presented a paper about our Distance Learning Programme. Cathy fed back about World Congress:
"For me, to present about the Distance Learning Programme, a project that I’d been directly involved in developing was very exciting. To feel a buzz in the room afterwards and to hear people’s pertinent questions felt like a reward for all the hard work that had gone into the writing. I think this renewed a confidence in my writing abilities and my ability to communicate my ideas to a wider audience. It was also very interesting for me to sit in on numerous other presentations and to hear about the extraordinary range of music therapy work happening throughout the world. Some of these presentations touched on dark humanitarian subjects, (such as the holocaust, and work with Israeli soldiers suffering from PTSD). While very upsetting, I am very glad that I heard these presenters speak. Other presentations explored more expansive, spiritually connected subjects such as the role of mindfulness in clinical work and in our own lives as practitioners. I felt very inspired as I watched many people speak so articulately and with a passion about their own work"
Jane Robbie, our Projects coordinator had some interesting conversations with people who were at the poster presentations. Our poster summarised the variety of activities we are involved in around the world. Jane shared her experiences about the congress:
“I had a fantastic time at the World Congress! As Music as Therapy International’s Project Manager, it was so interesting to meet Music Therapists form all around the world; some of whom I’d had email correspondence with previously or some I’d been looking to make links with regarding future projects. The value of being able to sit down, enjoy a coffee together far outweighed the months of rather dry email correspondence. I felt privileged to be able to share experiences and find out more about the vulnerable communities we’ve been asked to support now or in the future. Since returning, I have followed up discussions with Music Therapists from Palestine, India and Italy.
Another side of the conference was being able to support and listen to our own team of Music Therapists deliver their presentations. I felt so proud! Although each presentation had a different focus, or country or project to discuss, each presenter shared the same level of passion and obvious commitment to their chosen subject.
All in all, it was a hugely valuable experience and I feel confident that so many positives will arise from a relatively short but intensely packed few days at Krems".