Spotlight Panel Speakers

Voices of South-East Asian Music Therapy

This session is sponsored by The University of Melbourne.

Throughout history, Southeast Asia has been a melting pot of cultures, religions, food heritages, along with spiritual, healing, and music traditions. The few qualified SEA music therapists face unique opportunities and challenges as they juggle numerous professional plates. This special platform will bring together unique perspectives of how music therapists are bridging larger intersectional themes of healing, amplifying indigenous music roots, and advocating for the profession within their own east-west situatedness in clinical practice, across the intersections of Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore.

Melanie Kwan

Surviving and thriving with scarce resources: A music therapy microcosm of modern Singapore

Music therapists in Singapore face unique opportunities and challenges, as creative professionals with the skills to problem-solve or support relational, familial, healthcare, or societal issues through music. Our collective experiences amplify the demands of articulating our core contributions, showcase how we have integrated our east-west strengths, and orchestrate how we continue to evolve, adapt, and remain professionally relevant within and beyond our borders.

Gurpreet Kaur Kalsi

Respecting Indigenous Worldview

Music therapy in Malaysia is multicultural and cross cultural. This presentation will give a window specifically into how music therapy in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo navigates Western clinical practice with indigenous worldview and the importance of respecting the people and the land to which they belong.

Napak Pakdeesatitwara

Music Therapy in Thailand: Integrating Western training into practice in Thailand

Music therapy in Thailand is currently in its pioneering stage. As pioneers, we bring back music therapy knowledge and experience from overseas, especially from western-culture countries (e.g., US, UK, Australia) to practice and teach in Thailand. Napak will share the perspectives of music therapists and students in Thailand, discussing how Thai culture informs music therapy practice, and sharing students’ perspectives on learning music therapy in Thailand.

Jessica Hariwijaya

Establishing Music Therapy in Indonesia through Prevailing Cultural, Societal, Religious, and Education Accessibility Challenges

Music varies from nation to nation and culture to culture. How music is utilized is an important consideration in the music therapy process. This presentation describes music therapy practice and its challenges situated in Indonesia– a society consisting of people from hundreds of ethnic groups with diverse cultural backgrounds spreading among its thousands of islands.


The Evolving Symphonies of Life: Conducting Music Therapy in Cancer and Palliative Care across the Lifespan

Being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness is life-changing for the individual and their family. Music therapy can do much in this space, integrating moments of peace and comfort into treatment and care, amplifying voices of stability and familiarity, strengthening bonds and connection, and transforming experiences of fear and sadness into moments of joy and fun. The Panel will explore how music therapy can amplify and evolve the resilience and strengths of the patient and family, support wellbeing and living fully, facilitate moments of sharing and support, and provide enduring legacies.

Brian Schreck

Amplified Cardio-Pulmonary Recordings (ACPR) —A Music Therapy Legacy Intervention with Adult Oncology Patients and their Families

Brian will discuss using Amplified Cardio-Pulmonary Recording with Adult Oncology Patients. The intervention consists of recording the patient’s heart/lungs, then combining it with either original or pre-recorded music that has special meaning for the patient and their family. This intervention technique results in a recording that the patient and family can use to maintain connection. Amplified Cardio-Pulmonary Recordings (ACPR) accentuate the potential for life rhythms and meaningful melodies that highlight direct or subtle aspects of a lived experience through preservation of vital sounds and live and recorded music.

Roxanne McLeod

“Adding life to a child’s years…”: The role of music therapy in promoting life, growth and joy for a paediatric palliative care patient and family.

The Paediatric Palliative Care (PPC) service is often viewed with fear and apprehension given the common misconception that a referral to PPC signifies ‘giving up’ on a child and their treatment. Instead, PPC clinicians work alongside treating medical teams to enhance the quality of life of the child with a life-limiting condition and their family. Music therapy plays an important role in providing holistic care that promotes well-being, and helps a child to live their best life. This presentation will chronicle the journey of a PPC patient and family thus far, demonstrating how music therapy, in conjunction with other PPC allied health disciplines, continues to provide opportunities for growth, self-expression, and enjoyment, even during a pandemic.

Maggie James (nee Leung)

Evolving Perspectives of Music Therapy in Paediatric Palliative Care within the Intensive Care Unit

This presentation explores music therapist Maggie James' evolving role and journey in paediatric palliative care in the intensive care unit over 18 years. From working in a Paediatric Palliative Care Unit (PICU) in Brisbane Australia as a new graduate, to managing an Allied Health Team in an acute care hospital, to working with orphans in paediatric palliative care in China.  Maggie will reflect on the professional and personal music therapy experiences that have shaped her journey and amplified her voice as a clinician, team leader and advocate for music therapy.


Amplifying the Voices of Older Adults and their Carers in Music Therapy

Globally, the number of older persons is growing faster than the number of people in any other age group. Older adults face changing healthcare needs, as well as changing social roles, responsibilities and relationships. The carers of older adults also represent a diverse and growing group, with their own unique needs and roles. The Panel will explore how music therapy can give voice to and support the evolving needs of older adults and their carers, helping them to live and age well; enhancing quality of life; and enabling them to create, connect, learn and grow through ageing.

Fiona Sham

Amplifying the voices of older adults in the hospital setting.

Fiona will share her work with older adults in a rehabilitation hospital. She will talk about the role of music therapy in supporting the patients’ recovery, adjustment and well-being collaboratively with the multi-disciplinary team. 

Angela Delaney

Amplifying the voices of older adults in residential aged care.

This presentation will explore how music therapy enhances a sense of connection and community for older adults, veterans in particular living with dementia. With a reflective lens Angela will explore group music therapy interventions that have been conducted as part of a larger study exploring non pharmacological interventions in residential aged care.

Claire Molyneux

Amplifying the voices of older adults and their companions in a music therapy project in the community.  

Together in Sound is a partnership project between the Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research at Anglia Ruskin University and Saffron Hall Trust, a community-focused arts charity in rural Essex, UK. Claire will share extracts of a film about the project, contextualise this within her practice-based PhD research, and focus on the benefits of collaboration that enable dementia to be viewed as a community concern.

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters throughout Australia, and pay respect to the Elders past, present and emerging. We recognise the importance of connection to culture, land, kinship and community to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander families. We acknowledge the cultural practices and traditions still carried out today and being passed down to future generations.