Leaders in Conversation

Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson, AM and Asami Koike (RMT)

in conversation on the topic of Indigenous and Diasporic Perspectives on Trauma

Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson AM

Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson is a Jiman (central west Queensland) and Bundjalung (northern New South Wales) woman, with Anglo-Celtic and German heritage. Her academic contributions to the understanding of trauma related issues stemming from the violence of colonisation and the healing/recovery of Indigenous peoples from such trauma has won her the Carrick Neville Bonner Award in 2006 for her curriculum development and innovative teaching practice. In 2011 she was awarded the Fritz Redlick Memorial Award for Human Rights and Mental Health from the Harvard University program for refugee trauma. Her book ‘Trauma Trails – Recreating Songlines: The transgenerational effects of trauma in Indigenous Australia’, provides context to the life stories of people who have been moved from their country in a process that has created trauma trails, and the changes that can occur in the lives of people as they make connection with each other and share their stories of healing.

Asami Koike (RMT)

Asami Koike is a registered music therapist and yoga teacher with experience in working with young people affected by trauma. In 2015, she successfully introduced and implemented a music therapy program at Melbourne City Mission's Frontyard Youth Services, and in 2019, developed a broader trauma-informed, sensory-interventions program as part of Frontyard's world leading youth homelessness accommodation program. Currently, Asami works for Aardvark Music which is a non-profit organisation that supports young people living with adversity through 14 week, group song-writing programs. This program was adapted to successfully operate as an online program during Covid-19. Asami is a first-generation immigrant from Japan and also runs Shapes and Sounds, which is an online platform to talk about Asian Australian mental health.


Dr Dale Taylor and Professor Jörg Fachner

in conversation on the topic of International Dialogues in Music and Neuroscience

Dr Dale Taylor

Dr Dale Taylor is an American Board Certified Music Therapist, Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Allied Health Professions at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and has held academic appointments at Augsburg University, Alverno College, Mount Senario College, Carroll University, Saint Mary of the Woods College, the University of Western Sydney, Australia and has presented advanced course work at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina and the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, member of the American Music Therapy Association Music Therapy Informed Music Listening Work Group and past Chair of the International Relations Committee, former member of the Assembly of Delegates of AMTA and the National Association for Music Therapy, past Chair of the NAMT Certification-Registration and International Activities Committees and National Coordinator of Student Affairs, past Chair of the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Board on Aging and Long Term Care, past Editor of the International Journal of Arts Medicine, Secretary-Treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of the International Arts Medicine Association, and past member of the Wisconsin Public Health Leadership Institute, served as President and Vice-President of the Great Lakes Region of NAMT, chaired the founding meetings of the Wisconsin Chapter for Music Therapy, served on the boards of Music Education for the Handicapped and the International Association of Music for the Handicapped and is a member of the Music Therapy Neurology Network and Neuroscience Informed Music Therapists.

Dr Taylor’s presentations of his Biomedical Theory of Music Therapy have been made at conferences and academic institutions throughout the world at such locations as Japan, New Zealand and Hawaii. His speaking appearances include the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine in New York, the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center, the Rush Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center of Chicago, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the University of South Africa at Pretoria, the First Symposium of American/Japanese Leaders of Arts Medicine 1993 meeting in Tokyo and World Federation of Music Therapy meetings in Washington DC, Brisbane Australia and Seoul Korea. He spoke during the Music Therapy Neurology Network Seminar at the University of El Salvador in Buenos Aires, the International Society for Music Education (ISME) World Conference in Seoul, Korea, the ISME Commission on Music Therapy and Music in Special Education Research Seminars in Tallin, Estonia and Melbourne, International Music Medicine Symposia in Melbourne and Minneapolis Minnesota, the European Music Therapy Congress in the Netherlands, he was the opening speaker at the 2008 Mozart & Science Conference in Vienna, Austria and he presented the opening Keynote Address at the 2016 Worldwide Online Conference for Music Therapy. He is author of Biomedical Foundations of Music as Therapy and his papers appear in the Journal of Music Therapy, Music Therapy Perspectives, International Journal of Arts Medicine, Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy and he has authored numerous chapters appearing in books edited by colleagues.

Professor Jörg Fachner

Dr. Jörg Fachner (Doctor of Medical Science and MSc in Education) is Professor of Music, Health and the Brain and Co-Director of the Cambridge Institute of Music Therapy Research at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge,UK. Working over 25 years in music therapy research, doing psychology and medical research projects in Germany and Finland, he is a specialist for interdisciplinary research topics in the social, medical and music sciences. He is keen to use technology to investigate social interaction in music. He is PI of RADIOME, a UK Engineering and Physical Research Council (EPRSC) 4-year project that focuses on an AI and biomarker driven music recommendation system for a BBC piloted personalised dementia radio station. Fachner is PI of social neuroscience research projects in the UK and Austria investigating dyadic brain activity of therapists and patients in music therapy with EEG hyperscanning. His research with Dr. Maidhof has been featured in a 2019 BBC One documentary My Dementia Choir and is requested as a music and science presenter around the world.


Dr Helen Shoemark and Priscilla Pek

in conversation on the topic of Music Therapy with Children and their Families in Hospitals

Dr Helen Shoemark

Helen Shoemark PhD is Associate Professor of Music Therapy at Temple University, Philadelphia. Her current research interest is the systematic development of service delivery models for creative arts therapies in acute health settings. Her other research focus continues to be the pre-vocal expressive capability of hospitalized infants and the role of parental voice to support infant neurodevelopment and attachment. Helen has more than 30 years’ experience as a clinical music therapist. Moving from special education and early intervention into pediatrics, she pioneered NICU music therapy research and practice in Australia.

Priscilla Pek

Priscilla Pek (MMthpy, B Arts Hons.) is a Melbourne-based Registered Music Therapist who has worked at Monash Children’s Hospital, Monash Health since 2012. She has extensive experience working within the acute medical model in public health, having started as a new graduate in General Paediatrics. Priscilla is currently working full-time, predominantly across Adolescent Medicine (Eating Disorders) and Paediatric Oncology. Over the years she has had the privilege to be involved in service expansion at Monash Health, and has most recently implemented a new inpatient Music Therapy service for Early in Life Mental Health (ELMHS) in partnership with the Monash Children’s Hospital School (MCHS). The ELMHS service consists of two units; ‘Oasis’ provides specialist care to primary school aged children with complex psychiatric and neurodevelopmental needs, while ‘Stepping Stones’ is an adolescent mental health inpatient unit. Alongside clinical work, Priscilla has been involved in a number of portfolios and committees at Monash Health, including Allied Health Ward Governance, Education Portfolio, and EMR (Electronic Medical Record) Portfolio. She has also previously worked with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) at Austin Health, and worked in research at the University of Melbourne investigating music for wellbeing in schools and the sustainability of these programs and initiatives. Priscilla is passionate about the use of music to improve the coping and health outcomes of young people experiencing medical or mental health challenges. In the context of our new COVID world where coping strategies are limited, this passion remains very much alive as she believes music can have an important role in maintaining connectedness, facilitate coping, and create opportunities for mindfulness.


Allison Davies and Dr Vicky Abad

in conversation on the topic of Advocacy in Music Therapy

Allison Davies (RMT)

Allison Davies has been an RMT since 2006, working in private practice in Tasmania until 2016. She now creates online resources for parents and teachers seeking guidance around how to use music therapeutically in their own lives, and to reclaim their inherent musicality along the way.

Working within a solid neurodiversity framework that favours regulation over intervention Allison empowers others to use music as a tool for neuro-regulation at home and in the classroom. Her programs, workshops and speaking events have received international acclaim for their ability to enthral an audience, deliver lightbulb moments and shift paradigms away from behavioural management and towards Brain Care.

Dr Vicky Abad (RMT)

Dr Vicky Abad is a Registered Music Therapist, researcher, entrepreneur, business owner, President of the Australian Music Therapy Association, World Congress Convenor, music therapy educator, mother and wife.

Vicky has been advocating for music therapy since her first day of graduation, and quite possibly even earlier than that. As the first student to study a Post Graduate degree in Music Therapy in Queensland, there were very limited clinical placements and she had to advocate for new placements. One of these remains a funded position today 27 years later. In addition to this placement, she has established more than 30 positions and created employment for hundreds of clinicians, in the areas of aged care, paediatric care and community music therapy.

Vicky has been an advocate for music therapy in community, medical and political settings. She grew the Sing & Grow program, taking it from a small program to an ongoing nationally funded program. This required a great deal of advocacy in the early years in both the community and government sector at local, state and federal levels. Sing & Grow continues to provide valuable services to thousands of Australian families twenty years on.

Vicky is also an advocate for music therapy businesses and is the Founding and Managing Director of Music Beat Australia, a multi-faceted business that provides community music, music early learning, education and therapy programs for children and adults of all abilities to support them to develop every day. She edited a book on the Economics of Therapy with Dan Thomas, and continues to work with creative arts therapists to help them develop and grow their own businesses.

Vicky is an internationally regarded researcher, presenter and speaker. She has presented many papers, including keynote and invited presentations, at a number of national and international conferences and events. She has achieved international recognition for her clinical work and research in the area of music therapy parent-child intervention and the impact of music early learning on family health and well-being.