Call for Presentations

The AMTA 2020 Call for presentations has now closed.

Conference theme

‘Connection: Evolving, reflecting, responding’

In the face of crisis, whether on a personal, community, or systemic level, music has the capacity to forge and sustain connection. As music therapists, we are leaders in understanding the affordances of and relationship between music and human connection. Every day across clinical practice, advocacy, and research contexts, RMTs carefully consider and harness music as a tool to address the multiple and wide-ranging needs for connection that exist in our world.

Connection is a response to isolation; it is the antithesis of barriers. As a discipline, music therapy is built on the concept of connection. Across every context, approach, or therapeutic orientation, connection is fundamental. This year’s theme lies at the heart of music therapy as a strengths-based profession: the capacity for connection is a resource we all possess and can continually build on, not only as individuals, but within and between communities.

When the conference committee decided upon this theme at the end of 2019, little did we know that it would become even more relevant, significant, and urgently important in 2020. In responding to the needs for alternative ways to connect our profession through an on-line conference this year, we have reimagined the program and opened up several new modes of presentation. We encourage you to take some time to examine each of these new categories, reflect on what you can bring as a presenter, and how you can contribute to this year’s on-line conference.

Whether you are highlighting the role of music therapy in connecting functional gains to socio-emotional goals; developing innovative tele-health practice to connect with clients in new and emerging ways; responding to the need for greater connection and collaboration in multi/trans-disciplinary teams; or passionate about highlighting the connection between structural inequalities and what are perceived to be our clients’ ‘personal problems’ – we invite you to consider your practice through the lens of this year’s theme, and how your presentation can be best brought to life across the different submission categories.

Presentation Categories

With the transition on-line, the AMTA 2020 Conference program will look a little different, featuring six new presentation categories.

These categories speak to the need for a rich and dynamic program that can bring our community together virtually. Further, this year’s on-line program will allow us to harness the opportunity to open our national conference up to international speakers and delegates.

In addition to regular paper presentations, we invite you to peruse the diverse suite of presentation categories open for your submission:

  • Masterclass
  • Panel
  • Perspectives session
  • Paper or virtual roundtable
  • PechaKucha

Click on the presentation categories below for more information.

Brief description:

An interactive ‘workshop’ style session in which presenters aim to teach a skill or demonstrate new tools and methods. These may include musical skills, clinical skills, or assessment or research/evaluation methods.

Detailed description:

Masterclasses are designed for presenters who wish to host an interactive virtual session, focusing on the exchange of information about a particular skill or technique. A Masterclass should be hosted by a maximum of two presenters, with the intention to introduce and teach a skill. Masterclasses will involve active discussion between the presenter and the participants and can include practical tasks for the attendees. Masterclass presenters should consider a specific take home message that attendees will finish the session with an understanding of, and presenters will be asked to provide their ‘take home message’ on a (provided) one-page template for all participants. Presenters can utilise virtual breakout rooms to separate participants and will have a moderator / technical assistant to provide support with allocating breakout rooms and moderating the chat thread. The timing of Masterclasses is up to the presenter; presenters are encouraged to allow for breaks as the presenter sees fit. Each Masterclass will end with a Q&A session.

Masterclass suggestions:

  • Instrumental upskilling
  • Emerging practice and techniques
  • Culturally safe/responsive practice
  • Music technology education
  • Clinical technique development (e.g. song writing, improvisation, song learning, advanced methods)
  • Assessment skills
  • Non-musical professional development (e.g. verbal counselling skills, business skills, marketing, NDIS audit process)
  • Age group or population-specific education
  • Supervision skills
  • Self-care/community-building
  • Grant writing and getting funding

Brief description:

A panel is a crafted collection of presenters speaking live on a specific topic, guided by questions from a moderator. Those wishing to submit a panel abstract should be prepared to articulate the topic of their panel as well as their proposed line-up of panellists and their moderator. Panel submissions must include their proposed presenters, though speakers can be finalised/confirmed at a later date.

Detailed description:

Panels are designed for presenters who have a desire and capacity to curate several people together to discuss their proposed topic. The conversation should be centred on a specific topic, such as a population, context, clinical issue or intervention, funding, or research idea. Panels must be guided by a moderator, but the moderator does not have to be the person proposing the panel. Panels should include two to four panellists, plus the moderator. In curating a panel, a diverse range of speakers should be selected who all have some form of experience on the topic and are interested in sharing this experience. For example, panels could involve an experienced clinician, a researcher, a new graduate, and someone with lived experience. Panels are designed to be dynamic, interactive conversation between the speakers and moderators, rather than pre-prepared presentations. The moderator’s role is to ask questions of the panellists and guide the conversation. Panels will each have a technical assistant to provide support with moderating the chat thread, and each panel will end with a Q&A session inviting questions from the audience.

Panel topic suggestions:

  • Music therapy approaches
    • Resource-Oriented Music Therapy
    • Community Music Therapy
    • Neurologic Music Therapy
    • Psychodynamic Approaches
    • Guided Imagery and Music
    • Anti-Oppressive Practice and critical approaches
  • Advocacy & advancing the profession
    • Culturally safe/responsive practice
    • Community-building and advocacy
    • Planning and policy
    • Research and evaluation
    • Supervision
    • Reflexivity
    • Collaboration / trans-disciplinary / multi-disciplinary practice
    • NDIS
    • Teaching and training
  • Justice-oriented
    • Lived experience and representation
    • Whiteness, race, colonisation
    • Gender, queerness and intersectionality
    • Disability justice, access and accessibility
    • Systemic and structural trauma
    • Pathologisation, deficit and ‘vulnerability’ discourses
  • Music therapy contexts
    • Infants
    • Paediatrics
    • Early intervention
    • Young people
    • Rehabilitation
    • Disability
    • Neurodiversity / ASD
    • Justice system
    • Interpersonal trauma
    • Aged care and dementia
    • Group work
    • Oncology
    • Mental health
    • Grief and loss
    • Palliative / End of life
  • Music therapy and technology
    • Tele-health / working online
    • Virtual reality in music therapy
    • Technological advances

Brief description:

Perspectives sessions are an opportunity for two presenters with some sort of contrasting perspective on a given topic to connect and discuss their ideas and experience. Those wishing to submit a Perspectives session should be prepared to articulate the topic of their session, the two presenters who will be speaking and their point of difference, and how they will approach constructive debate.

Detailed description:

Perspectives sessions are a new opportunity to promote rich discussion and constructive debate on a particular topic. The conversation should be centred on a specific topic, such as a population, music therapy approach, clinical context, or other issue impacting the music therapy discipline and community. The purpose of Perspectives sessions is to bring the music therapy community together by fostering rich dialogue and examining the differences that exist within the profession. The two speakers should each prepare a short presentation from their perspective (approximately 10 minutes), after which the speakers will dialogue about their differences. A feature of the Perspectives sessions is that attendees are invited to submit questions beforehand, which the speakers will then speak to during the session.

In submitting a Perspectives session, speakers should ensure they have an agreed upon topic, and a clear difference in experience or perspective between the two speakers. Some examples of differing perspectives:

  • A music therapist and a music therapy participant exploring a particular context (as an employee versus someone with lived experience).
  • A therapist and a teacher both working with children in a school context.
  • A music therapist and another therapist in an aged care context.
  • Two clinicians who work with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, one from a family centred perspective, and one from a developmental perspective.
  • Two clinicians who work with adults in mental health, one who primarily uses improvisation, one who primarily uses song writing.
  • Two researchers who explore the impacts of music therapy, one using quantitative research methods, one who uses qualitative research methods.
  • Two RMTs who are passionate advocates for music therapy with a clear difference in how they believe we can strengthen the profession.
  • Two music therapists who work in a particular context, one who is a new graduate, one who has been practicing for decades.

Perspectives sessions will each have a technical assistant to provide support with moderating the chat thread and will end with a Q&A session inviting questions from the audience.

Perspectives topic suggestions:

  • Emerging practices and approaches
  • Differing music therapy techniques
  • Theory versus practice
  • The role of technology in music therapy
  • The importance of different skills in music therapy
  • Advocacy and advancing the music therapy profession
  • Research methods in music therapy
  • Music therapy teaching and learning practices
  • Supervision in music therapy
  • Participants and clinicians
  • Interdisciplinary work and collaboration
  • Other therapeutic modalities
  • Music education
  • Justice, power, and critical practice

Brief description:

Papers are traditional oral presentations lasting 15 minutes. These will be combined into Virtual Roundtables of three Paper presentations, all on a related topic. Speakers may propose either a single Paper and be placed into a Virtual Roundtable by the conference committee, or they may propose a Virtual Roundtable of three Paper presentations.

Detailed description:

Papers are designed for presenters to individually share a detailed presentation of research, evaluation, case study, or clinical topic. There are two ways of submitting oral presentations: either as a single Paper, or as a Virtual Roundtable. The conference committee will allocate individual Papers into a Virtual Roundtable relevant to the Paper. Papers are best suited to speakers who wish to pre-prepare a presentation and speak didactically to the audience. Papers are encouraged to include some sort of visual aid, such as a PowerPoint presentation. Virtual Roundtables will consist of three Papers, with 15 minutes dedicated to questions at the end. Virtual Roundtables will each have a technical assistant to provide support with moderating the chat thread and the Q&A session at the end.

Brief description:

PechaKucha is a presentation methodology for speakers who have conducted research or evaluation to share their work in a format of 20 slides for 20 seconds each (6 minutes and 40 seconds). PechaKucha is designed to be concise and focused on the ‘story’ of the research. PechaKucha sessions are perfectly suited to researchers, graduate researchers, minor thesis presentations, student/new grads, and evaluation/quality improvement projects. All PechaKucha presentations will be allocated into a session relevant to their research.

Detailed description:

PechaKucha sessions are designed for presenters who wish to share research findings in an engaging and concise format. The PechaKucha style of presentation translates to “chit chat” in Japanese, and the purpose is to “talk less, show more”, strictly limiting the format to 20 slides for 20 seconds each. Presenters must utilise visual imagery for their presentations and should consider the most efficient way to verbally deliver their research in the 6.40 minutes timing. PechaKucha sessions are perfectly suited to researchers, graduate researchers, and minor thesis presentations, as well as evaluation projects in clinical contexts. Each presenter will then be allocated into a session of other presenters. PechaKucha sessions will have a technical assistant to provide support with preparing speakers, moderating the chat thread, and moderating the Q&A session at the end. You can learn more about PechaKucha here.

View the video below to hear Dr Elly Scrine, our Scientific Chair, share great insight into our new conference categories

Presentation Submission Templates

Each presentation category requires a specific template to be used for submission.

The presentation submission process will require the submitter to upload their presentation submission document using the below templates.

Please use the template below appropriate to your submission category.

Download the Masterclass submission template

Download the Panel submission template

Download the Perspectives submission template

Download the Papers and Roundtables submission template

Download the PechaKucha submission template

Submission criteria and review process

Each abstract will be peer reviewed by two scientific committee members and ranked according to the following selection criteria:

  • Adherence to criteria listed in the submission template
  • Relevance to the conference theme
  • Contribution of new knowledge/understanding to the music therapy profession
  • Clarity and coherence of written expression

Successful applicant terms & conditions

Successful applicants will be offered a place in the conference program. Where possible, successful applicants will be offered their first preference of presentation format at the conference. However, some may be invited to present in a different format.

All presenters will be required to formally accept the invitation by registering and paying the conference registration fee.


Abstract submissions open June 2020
Abstract submissions close Monday 24 August 2020 (new extended deadline)
Notification of Acceptance Monday 7 September 2020
Draft program available September 2020


Technical questions about submissions and program can be sent to the Scientific Chair Dr Elly Scrine, at

Please direct all other program enquiries to:

AMTA2020 Conference Secretariat
T: +61 (07) 3255 1002