Author: admin

We’re hiring!

Music Heals has been awarded a Canada Summer Jobs grant for 2017, and we’re looking for THREE rockstars to join our team for the summer.

To qualify, the Canada Summer Jobs program necessitates that you must be under age 30, a Canadian citizen, and intending to go back to school full time this September.

If you or someone you know is the perfect addition to the Music Heals team, email [email protected] with a resume and cover letter. Deadline for applications is May 1st.

There are three positions available:


Job title: Administrative Assistant
Reports to: Executive Director and Community Outreach Specialist
Timing: June 5 – August 13, 2017 (10 weeks – dates flexible)


Job purpose: To support the charity’s fundraising efforts and promotional campaigns. Research new funding opportunities. Conduct promotional and stewardship mail-outs. Provide additional support for our Outreach Coordinators.


Duties and responsibilities

●      Data prep and entry using Excel, Google sheets, and possibly Salesforce

●      Database maintenance

●      Collect media contact information and organize

●      Conduct promotional and stewardship mail-outs

●      Documentation, and reporting assistance

●      Weekly mail-outs of merchandise orders, and inventory counts

●      Attend music festivals on weekends with multiple events



·       This position is made possible by funding from the Canada Summer Jobs Program. To qualify, applicants must be a Canadian citizen, under age 30, and enrolled for full-time studies in September 2017.

·       Own laptop



·       Attention to detail

·       Self-motivated

·       Strong research skills

·       Highly organized

·       Proficient with Word and Google Applications. Familiarity with Mail Merge an asset.

·       Experience with CRMs and asset, Salesforce experience a bonus.

·       Able to work alone and manage their own time, as needed

·       Strong written communications

·       Handwriting skills an asset

·       Knowledge in Excel

·       Available on some weekends and evenings for events

·       High-level interpersonal skills

·       Quick with technology


Job title: Outreach and Fundraising Assistant
Reports to: Executive Director and Community Outreach Specialist
Timing: June 5 – August 13, 2017 (10 weeks – dates flexible)


Job purpose: To solicit retail donations for the Strike A Chord gala silent auction, coordinating all logistics, outreach, collection, and acknowledgement (both public and personal). To provide additional support on weekends where we have multiple activations.


Duties and responsibilities

●      Collecting contact information of leads as needed

●      Generate content: Collect and organize music quotes from websites provided, and create social media schedules

●      Assist with logistics and outreach with business donors for events

●      Support in stewardship development as needed

●      Maintain Google Doc database of items and conversations

●      Administration tasks as needed to fulfil outreach and fundraising tasks



·       This position is made possible by funding from the Canada Summer Jobs Program. To qualify, applicants must be a Canadian citizen, under age 30, and enrolled for full-time studies in September 2017.



·       Own vehicle is an asset

·       Outgoing and confident personality

·       Access to vehicle an asset

·       Self-motivated and passionate

·       Interpersonal skills

·       Experience with public speaking, and presentations an asset

·       Background in social media use, etiquette and strategies

·       Experience with sales and communications an asset

·       Strong written communications

·       Available on weekends and evenings for outreach events


Job title: Festival Outreach Assistant
Reports to: Community Outreach Specialist
Timing: June 2 – August 11, 2017 (weekends) *


Job purpose: To be the lead on-site for activations at music festivals. Oversee and train new volunteers. Manage merchandise levels and oversee floats and on-site sales. Attend weekly music festivals and coordinate all setup and teardown. Interact with the public to spread awareness and build donor confidence. Create and upload social media content from each event.


Duties and responsibilities

●      Set up and teardown Music Heals activations at music festivals throughout the summer

●      Transport all Music Heals event materials, including 10×10 tent

●      Work with Community Outreach Specialist to train new volunteers

●      Manage cash float at each event

●      Maintain fully-equipped weekend kits with all support materials needed

●      Conduct inventory counts before and after each event

●      Update Google doc with inventory level updates after each event

●      Liaise with event promoters and producers on site

●      Oversee social media content creation and sharing from each festival



·       This position is made possible by funding from the Canada Summer Jobs Program. To qualify, applicants must be a Canadian citizen, under age 30, and enrolled for full-time studies in September 2017.

·       Hours and days per week will fluctuate, but expect to be working Thursday through Sunday on event sites, and partial Mondays as administrative/reporting day.

·       Event times vary, from 6AM call times to 1AM wrap times.

·       Must have a vehicle large enough to transport festival materials

·       Must be able to work weekends throughout the summer

·       Smartphone for sharing social media content



·       Outgoing and confident personality

·       Self-motivated and passionate

·       Interpersonal skills

·       Experience with public speaking, and presentations an asset

·       Background in social media use, etiquette and strategies

·       Experience with sales and communications an asset

·       Strong written communications

·       Attention to detail

* It will be advantageous if the candidate can join us on Sunday, May 28 for Shuck It Forward, to observe set up + execution of a full booth activation before they start.)

Happy Music Therapy Awareness Month!

Tuesday, Mar 15, 2016

Incase you weren’t aware, March has officially been deemed Music Therapy Awareness Month by Health Canada!  The team here at Music Heals has been working hard to make this a reality and it’s finally paid off!  This is a HUGE step in helping music therapy gain momentum in the public eye!  To celebrate this, I’ve been putting together some music therapy terms for you.  I didn’t coin or define any of them myself.  These are all official terms which have been taken from the International Dictionary of Music Therapy, edited by Kevin Kirkland.

Advocacy of this profession has been important to me since I discovered it in 2010.  That was the year that I started my travels to get where I am today.  Now, I am in the last few months of my internship and almost at the point of being a certified music therapist and I couldn’t be more excited!

Over the years, I have learned that one of the most frequently asked questions of this job is, “What is music therapy?”.  So to answer this question, I’ve asked a few of the MTs I know to help me tell you!

Check out the video —–>

Hopefully this post has given you some new information and will inspire you to learn more 🙂  Enjoy!

Alexina’s Music Therapy Terms of the Day!  One for every day in March:

Music Therapy is the clinical use of music and the relationship between a therapist and client to help promote personal growth.

Music therapist: A musician who is trained in the use of music as a therapeutic tool. The music therapist supports the client throughout this process and creates a personalized plan with things such as improvisation, song writing, pre-composed music or a number of other interventions.

Intake: The initial meeting of a client and therapist to share info, give an overview of services and discuss some desired outcomes of therapy.

Assessment: An information gathering process.  This information is then used to create goals, objectives and treatment interventions.  The three primary assessments are:

  1. Initial assessment – Done at the beginning of treatment to assess areas of strength and challenge and create goals
  2. Comprehensive assessment – More in depth process used when client is only referred to music therapy instead of as part of a treatment team (E.g. along with occupational therapy, , speech therapy, etc)
  3. Ongoing assessment – Completed frequently to assess evaluate the process.

Areas of assessment can include behavioural, musical, cognitive, social, physical, emotional, spiritual, educational and communicative.

Goals: The desired outcome of a music therapy intervention. They are often long term but can also be in a session to session basis. They can range from emotional, physical, cognitive, spiritual, social, behavioural, musical or communication areas and can be addressed in a number of ways.

Objectives: The measurable desired outcomes of a treatment intervention in terms of leading towards a specific goal.  They clearly identify what the therapist is tracking. For example, “when prompted, client will maintain eye contact for three seconds.”


Intervention: A strategic action plan which the therapist used to facilitate positive change in a client. These actions can include musical, verbal and non-verbal strategies. For example: song writing, improvisation, verbal counselling, etc.

Documentation: Clinical notes reflecting the progress of sessions.  This data includes evidence of change or maintenance of abilities.

Circle seating: The physical set up of space is important aspect of sessions, so circle seating is often used.  This allows everyone to see and hear each other equally, which encourages group participation.  This set up also eliminates one person as being the focal point and allows all group members to be “co-participants”.

Contact song: Typically at the beginning of session, it says “hello”, sets the tone and provides a secure base for the client. It often will become a ritual for group members as a point of building trust within sessions.


Musicking: The verb of making music. It’s a social activity where one takes a part in a musical performance, by performing, listening, rehearsing, composing or dancing. It exists where people get together to communicate. (And yes, this is a real word :p)


Free play: Improvisation without guidelines.  This can offer clients a sense of freedom by the acknowledging and respecting the client’s music but may not be conducive for those who benefit from structure and boundaries.  Through this free expression, often an individual’s creativity is discovered and it may allow them to open up more so than speaking.  This often will lead to a follow-up discussion and may provide another level of awareness in the client about their situation.

Song parody: Therapeutic song writing approach where the lyrics of a pre-composed song are replaced by the client’s own words. This can be done in individual or group settings.

Music life plan:  a form of advanced music directive, which is written when a person is healthy, in order to articulate wishes that may be implemented in the event of a life change (such as terminal diagnosis). For example, the client chooses music aimed toward optimal states of relaxation, energy, etc, and then designs treatment plans for its use. It is then relayed to the medical team or family for later use.

Song circle (aka soulsong circle): An a cappella vocal improvisation used to playfully explore sounds, feelings, role relationships and much more! Musical elements (pitch, rhythm, tempo, meter, etc) are layered and manipulated over a repeated rhythmic pattern.

Lining out: Therapist leaves out the words/melody/rhythm at the end of a phrase in hopes to cue a client to fill them in.  (E.g. Mary had a little…..”)  This technique is used to support clients in the areas of memory, vocalization and participation.

Song Collage: The use of words and phrases from prewritten songs as part of creating new lyrics in therapeutic songs.  MT assists clients in assessing existing lyrics and finding ideas for including in their own song.  These ideas may represent experiences, feelings or ideas they’ve had.  All of these choose lyric fragments are put together along with original words, if desired, to form a new song.

Play by numbers: Ordering notes or instruments with numbers or coloured stickers to assist those who cannot read traditional notation.  (I have also used this for colour recognition, learning sign language, spelling, etc)

Drum play: Use of percussion for both musical and non musical experience. The physical, tactics and visual aspects are the focus for these activities.

Crossing the midline:  Looking, reaching or stepping across the midline of the body.  This movement is very important for body-scheme development, bilateral and hand-eye coordination.  This is usually achieved by the age of eight or nine.  Midline inhibition is most often seen in children with Autism and individuals over the age of 65. Music therapy can address coordination goals through numerous activities such as playing the drum with one had as it moves across the body in the opposite direction, playing the xylophone from right to left, tossing a bean bag with your left hand to someone on your right, etc.

Musical sedation: The use of live music tuned to someone’s vital signs with the intension of transitioning them from being awake to sleeping.

Goodbye song: Usually the last song of a session. It is used to provide closure and often eases transitions for some clients. It is usually the same song each session to create stability.

ISO principle: Mood or music of client matched by therapist to bring awareness to their state.  After rapport is built, this state is either maintained to continue exploring or a therapeutic shift is guided by the therapist.

Entrainment: The synchronization of two things.  In music therapy, this refers to the coming together of music & client (E.g. slow music creating relaxed heart rate).

Psychoanalytical music therapy: A form of music centred psychotherapy; it is a client and therapist exchange through improvisation or listening. It uses the psychoanalytical framework which is based on theories from old school analysts like Freud.

Reframing: Changing the musical background or environment to alter client’s playing. The MT does this when a client’s music is stuck or static.

Empathy: Interpersonal process of common emotion unaffected by rational thought. Ability to understand another’s feelings

Resistance: The (often unconscious) behaviour which undermines a client’s goals.  Usually surfaces as a defense against unwanted, unpleasant emotions and experiences associated with difficult times in the past.

Music Therapists for Peace: A vision of the great, Edith Boxill. This idea came from a desire to expand her philosophy of a global awareness and belief that Music Therapists can use their skills to make contributions to world peace.

Supervision: Intensive relationship in which the supervisor promotes and facilitates the development of therapeutic skills. This process often goes well beyond the student phase and continues through ones professional lifespan.

Success oriented: Focusses on the client’s strengths rather than challenges. The music therapist will set challenging but attainable objectives so then client can reach their goal. This often helps clients focus on their abilities, which builds confidence with the hope of generalizing to other areas of their lives.

Are you a music therapist, music therapy intern, or a professional in a field related to Music Therapy that has something to share on the Music Heals blog?

Submissions should include to links to your website and any social media channels you would like included in the article.
Submissions may be edited for length and photos for publication will require a waiver, which will be provided.Submissions should be sent to Alexina Davis: [email protected]

Music Education and Music Therapy are not the same thing

Music Therapy Awareness Month Image

Monday, Oct 10, 2016
It’s important to know the difference. One of the greatest challenges facing music therapy is the confusion that often arises in the eyes of the public between various other musical pursuits and music therapy.

So what is the difference? Music therapy, by definition, is only music therapy when it is performed by an acredited music therapist. Music therapy is a university degree, and includes hundreds of hours of training. If a non-music therapist were to bring a guitar into a hospital, it might be entertaining, and it might even be therapeutic, but it would not be music therapy.

We applaud the work of our friends at wonderful organizations who endeavour to increase funding for music in schools or live performances for senior’s homes and other care facilities. We all share an appreciation for the power of music, that is clear. However, it is important to make the distinction as it can effect support, and even funding, for music therapy. This is why Music Therapy Awareness Month is so important – to clear up the confusion and create a conversation about the role and effectiveness of music therapy.

Thank you for helping us raise awarness this month for music therapy.


Chris Brandt

Executive Director

Music Heals

Are you a music therapist, music therapy intern, or a professional in a field related to Music Therapy that has something to share on the Music Heals blog?

Submissions should include to links to your website and any social media channels you would like included in the article.
Submissions may be edited for length and photos for publication will require a waiver, which will be provided.Submissions should be sent to Alexina Davis: [email protected]

Music Therapy in Oncology

Music Therapist

Monday, Jan 13, 2014

Written by Andrew Rossetti, MMT, MT-BC

Music Heals is pleased to welcome a contribution by music therapist, Andrew Rossetti. He is currently on staff at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City and is chair for an upcoming oncology conference being hosted by the Louis Armstrong Center. (If this name sounds familiar, we have already had a post written by, John Mondanaro, the clinical director of the Louis & Lucille Armstrong Music Therapy Program at Beth Israel Medical Center.) For more information about the conference, see attached poster and brochure. Music therapy has been shown to work effectively in oncology and if you want to know a little more about how or why, keep reading! Andrew, we appreciate the work that you do in sharing your knowledge and in bringing music therapy to those who are being affected by cancer. Thank you!




Patients and families that face cancer are often exposed to life-altering challenges. Issues associated with cancer

diagnosis and treatment may include pain, physical changes, treatment side-effects and end-of life considerations

among others. In addition, a diagnosis of cancer can be particularly stressful and anxiety associated with

vulnerabiliy, isolation, depression, feelings of grief, poor body image, pervade with fears related to impending

death, and uncertainty about the future.


The Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine provides support services to individuals, family members and

staff on the inpatient units of Beth Israel Medical Center and St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, and BI Brooklyn, as

well as in outpatient clinics designated for Radiation and Chemotherapy. Music therapy can support the physical,

psychological, spiritual, and psychosocial needs of patients and families who are dealing with cancer during

outpatient treatment. Music therapy may alleviate pain, ease treatment side-effects, support immune system

functioning, enhance coping and reduce physical and emotional stress. Music therapists with advanced training in

music psychotherapy techniques provide individual bedside sessions that are tailored to each patient’s need and



The Louis Armstrong Center will be hosting a 2-day international symposium, entitled Converging Disciplines

at the Crossroads of Cancer Care on Monday January 27th and Tuesday January 28th at Beth Israel Medical

Center’s Phillips Ambulatory Care Center, located at 10 Union Square East in Manhattan. Attached is the program.

Electronic registration is available currently: Please contact Marie Grippo at 212-

420-2704 with questions-or to register by phone. We hope to see you there!


To see the brochure for this event, please follow the link below:


Written by Andrew Rossetti, MMT, MT-BC




Disclaimer: This post is used with permission from the author and does not necessarily represent the views of Music Heals Canada. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. Music Heals Canada makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at anytime and without notice.

Are you a music therapist, music therapy intern, or a professional in a field related to Music Therapy that has something to share on the Music Heals blog?

Submissions should include to links to your website and any social media channels you would like included in the article.
Submissions may be edited for length and photos for publication will require a waiver, which will be provided.Submissions should be sent to Alexina Davis: [email protected]

Music Therapy and Social Media

Music Heals Blog Writer

Tuesday, Jan 12, 2016

Happy New Year!  I hope that all of you got some well deserved rest over the last few weeks and you’re ready to rock this upcoming year! 

I’m not much for resolutions.  I don’t like doing something “life changing” just because it’s what people do around this time of year.  Most likely, I’m not going to stick to it and then, like many others, I’ll feel disappointed.  I prefer to take some time over the first few weeks of the year to reflect on the previous one and see if there’s anything I’d like to adapt, adopt or maintain.  If things are going pretty good, I don’t pressure myself to think of something just for the sake of it.  Now that I think of it, that sounds pretty similar to resolutions, doesn’t it?  Oh well.  MTs are all about the re-frames, aren’t we? 😉

This year, as I’m stepping into the second half of my internship, I want to continue growing my network within the music therapy community and a large part of this (for me) is Social Media, which can be a large beast to tackle if you don’t know where to start.  Not only can it be overwhelming, it can also be a bit scary to know what to share from an ethics stand point.  I met Natalie Jack at the Toronto CAMT Conference in 2014, just as I was beginning to dip my toe into the VERY shallow end of the networking pool, and I’m so grateful that she was there to give some guidance.  I have been in touch with her several times since then and she is always up to helping to clear up muddy waters around ethics in Social Media.  

Here is a post from her blog about some “Do’s and Don’ts” for Social Media and how to navigate the grey areas in between.  As she mention, it’s a bit long, but if you’re looking at boosting your Social Media presence, it’s a good starting point.  

Check out her website and Facebook for more information about her practice and details about her professional supervision services and good luck with whatever you decide (or not) to adapt over the coming months!

~Alexina 🙂


Natalie Jack, RMT MTA NMT – Music Therapy Bento

Natalie has been a music therapist since 1999. She has worked with kids in hospital, adults & children who have disabilities, people in rehab, and has found her passion in working with adult offenders who have mental illness. Natalie has worked with mentally disordered offenders since 2004, in both Canada and Australia.

Natalie has a special interest in professional supervision and coaching, and believes that it is the single most important  professional development activity and financial commitment any health professional can undertake. She is an experienced and trained supervisor who offers her services through Music Therapy Bento.

To see Natalie’s full bio, qualifications, experience and affiliations head over to There you will also find useful information about music therapy, and a great real life client story.



Social or Un-Social Media?

Over the last ten years, social media has exploded into our lives. Along with all the wonderful positive benefits such as personal connectivity and professional networking, supporting good causes and keeping in touch with loved ones far away, there has developed a dark side to being connected – bullying, internet based crime and worse have spilled over from the online realm into our real lives.

As health professionals we must carefully consider how we want to present ourselves online, how much information we share and how we speak about our work in cyberspace. However, just because there are risks involved in having a presence online, doesn’t mean we need to become un-social and withdraw from our favourite social media sites. After all, social media is THE way to promote large and small businesses, charities and personal events. All we need is a little guidance – from our professional associations’ ethics guidelines, and from Music Therapy Bento! Below are the social media guidelines I wrote when I was involved with the Victorian Branch of the Australian Music Therapy Association . The branch did not end up using the guidelines, but have generously allowed me to share them with you, in a slightly modified format, so you can be confident in your online adventures, safe in the knowledge you are doing your best to keep yourself, your clients and your online contacts safe. It’s quite long, so grab a cup of green tea, find a quiet place and go for it. I would love to hear your feedback on these tips – what would you add? Change?

Music Therapy Bento’s Social Media Guidelines for Health Professional


In this guide, the terms ‘social media’, ‘online services’ and ‘internet-based services’ will be used to mean a range of services available on the internet that include, but are not limited to – social media (eg. Facebook, twitter and google+), professional networking (eg. LinkedIn), media sharing (ie. videos, photos and music, eg. YouTube, Pinterest, SoundCloud), blogging, email, forums, websites, text messages and other services that encourage the sharing of information, ideas and opinions in the public domain or online.

Potential Risks

There are risks involved in using social media. These risks can be minimized by educating yourself about how each online service operates, knowing what their privacy policies are and thinking carefully about what information you want to share. Risks can become apparent in many situations and may result in loss of personal privacy, the public identification of a client, upsetting a friend or colleague, or a complaint against you for displaying unprofessional conduct. Think before you post.

General Responsibilities

As with any form of communication, you have a responsibility to behave in a way that does not encroach on the rights of others. Here are some general responsibilities to consider…

You are not only representing yourself as a private person when posting online, you are representing any other group of people, either personal or professional, that you belong to. For example, your profession, the local yoga studio you belong to, or your child’s school community.

You are responsible for the information you share. Think carefully about posting information about others.

Be honest in your online world – don’t post anonymously or hide behind a pseudonym.

Be mindful of local and national laws, for example, copyright or privacy laws.

Use your own judgment. Just because you’ve seen someone else post something, it doesn’t mean it’s right or that you should do it too. Before you post anything, think to yourself – “If this were to be broadcast on the six o’clock news, would I be ok with that?”. Technology and security experts contend that once something has been posted online, even if is deleted afterwards, it is still there, and potentially retrievable forever. Something else to think about is – “Would I be comfortable saying this to the person’s face?” If the answer is ‘no’, then you probably shouldn’t post it. We all understand the need to occasionally vent our personal or professional frustrations, however, consideration needs to be given to the consequences of doing so in the public domain.

Responsibilities to Self

You have responsibilities to yourself, your friends and your family when using online services. Think about the consequences of sharing information about yourself, your spouse, parents, friends or children online. Are your photos safe? Are your personal contact details (phone number, email address, home address) accessible by the public? Do you want everyone to know where you work? Read the privacy policies of the services you use and understand how much of your information can be shared with third parties.

Responsibilities to Other Health Professionals and Colleagues

Respecting others’ freedoms and opinions is central to being responsible to others in our community. Actively engage with other other professionals in discussion and debate in a respectful manner, pay genuine compliments and give positive feedback online, offer your help and be transparent in your dealings with others. If you have an issue with an individual, raise it in private. It is not ok to post your upset at a fellow health practitioner anywhere online. Professional organizations have grievance procedures and support in place to deal with conflicts that cannot be resolved privately between individuals.

Responsibilities to Clients

It is a very clear expectation that all health professionals maintain client confidentiality at all times. This is just as true online as it is in real life. In this case, it is imperative to consult your professional organization’s Code of Ethics to understand how to protect clients. A good starting point is to never post about specific clients, and be exceptionally general and intentionally vague when asking for advice about a certain client/group/population, so that there is no possibility of your client being recognized and identified because of the information you have shared. Never share song recordings, videos of sessions or other clinical artifacts online unless you have the express written permission from the client to do so. If you are unsure whether you should post a particular item, consult with your professional organization’s ethics representative.

Responsibilities to Organizations

When you identify in your profile or elsewhere online that you are, for example, a Registered Music Therapist, you are then representing the community of Australian (and international) music therapists and the AMTA. You are required to act in a way that upholds the AMTA’s mission, philosophies and purpose.

Likewise, when you identify anywhere online that you are the employee of a particular company or facility, you are then bound to act as a representative of that organization. Consult your workplace’s policies on social media and use of internet based services to ensure you are complying with their requirements.

Responsibilities to General Public

The general public deserves to have accurate and reliable information about your profession and the health professions themselves deserve to be represented accurately. Be factual in your provision of information about your profession when online and be clear when you are providing your professional or a purely personal opinion. Engage in appropriate and ethical referral provision; again, refer to your professional organization’s Code of Ethics for guidelines.


Here are some (fictional and somewhat lighthearted!) examples of good and not-so-good posts from our favourite social media sites. I know you will learn something, and maybe have a laugh too.

YES!  Had a challenging day today. Would love to hear from other music therapists who have great creative ideas about how to deal with kids with challenging behaviours   #learningeveryday

NO!  I just can’t believe John’s terrible behaviour today in my session at Top Town Special School. Can anyone help me with ways I can stop him being so aggressive?   #naughtykids


YES! Thanks @JaneSmithRMT for the great inservice you gave today to our allied health department at #HighStreetHospital. Everyone really appreciated your time and effort 🙂


YES!  I think I need to learn more about how to communicate better with my colleagues. Can anyone recommend a great professional development workshop or some self-study materials on this topic? Thanks!

NO!   I really wish doctors and nurses would learn to take advice from other health professionals!! I am so sick of being made to feel like I have nothing to offer our patients


YES!  #MusicTherapy can be a great way to assist with coping and living with #cancer. Contact me via private message if you would like further information on the services I provide.

NO! #MusicTherapy can #curecancer. Call me on 555 5555 now to see how!!


YES! We’re off on our annual holiday soon, so excited! Call me if you’d like to join us for a drink!

NO! Goodbye Essendon, we’re heading off today to Rye for two weeks. Text me on 555 5555 to let me know when you’re coming over for a BBQ and drinks!


YES! @marylou I found your comments about the use of music therapy in palliative care interesting, however I have a different opinion on the role of recorded music with this population. I believe….

NO! @marylou I can’t believe you could say something so insensitive and stupid! As if anyone would believe the nonsense you are spouting! You should keep your misinformed rubbish TO YOURSELF!!!


There you have it! Congratulations for getting to the end. I look forward to your comments and also to engaging with you onfacebook!

Are you a music therapist, music therapy intern, or a professional in a field related to Music Therapy that has something to share on the Music Heals blog?

Submissions should include to links to your website and any social media channels you would like included in the article.
Submissions may be edited for length and photos for publication will require a waiver, which will be provided.Submissions should be sent to Alexina Davis: [email protected]

Music Therapy & iPods

Music Heals Blog Writer

Tuesday, Dec 1, 2015

Happy Holidays, everyone!  Welcome to December!  I hope that you all are enjoying the lead up to the holidays and that you all get some time to relax and enjoy time with your loved ones.

If you haven’t heard about a little film called, “Alive Inside”, then I’m not sure where you’ve been the last few years!  It sparked a lot of talk about using iPods, especially with clients with dementia, and the fact that it often this gets confused with music therapy.  They both have potential benefits, but there needs to be considerations when choosing which route to go.  This topic has resurfaced recently in our local music therapy community because of a panel discussion at our annual BC conference in October.  This is why I felt compelled to focus on it for this month’s post.

Mallory Even is the owner of Metro Music Therapy in Atlanta and she recently did a presentation about music therapy at the Georgia Health Care Association’s Annual Social Worker’s Meeting.  Below, is a post from her blog about the experience. 

If you’d like to know more about Mallory and her team at Metro Music Therapy, check out their website:

~Alexina 🙂


Mallory Even, Owner of Metro Music Therapy, is originally from the Orlando, FL area, and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy from the Florida State University.  She remained in Tallahassee to complete her internship with Leon County Public Schools and upon graduation from FSU, Mallory and her husband moved to the Atlanta, GA area.  For two years before starting her practice, and for three years after, Mallory also worked as a music therapist in an adult and geriatric inpatient psychiatric unit located in Snellville, GA.

Mallory is a Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC), Licensed Professional Music Therapist (LPMT), and a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Music Therapist (NICU MT). She has completed the 30-hour training in Counseling Skills for Music Therapists, the 50-hour Griel & Loss Music Therapy Institute, and is once course away from earning her specialty certification in Hospice and Palliative Care Music Therapy. She has been a member of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) since 2002, and is also a member of the Music Therapy Association of Georgia (MTAG).

Since starting the practice in late 2007, Mallory has provided individual and group music therapy services in specialized schools and a wide variety of healthcare settings in the Metro Atlanta area.  She has started new music therapy programs for The Governess School, Breakthrough Recovery Outreach, VITAS Innovative  Hospice Care, The Bridge of Georgia, The Covenant House Georgia and The Center for Children and Young Adults. 

Mallory’s most recent accomplishments include the launching of a new Music Therapy marketing program called MMT PayPer, the Metro Music Therapy expansion to Orlando, FL, and Mallory and her team opened the MMT Academy – a music therapy continuing education academy for professional music therapists that is approved by the Certification Board for Music Therapists.

Mallory’s principal instrument is the French horn, but she is also proficient in guitar and voice.  She enjoys composing music for both children and adults, and has written, recorded and copyrighted an original CD entitled, “Favorite Day.”   She has presented at National AMTA conferences, was invited to be a panelist on the Careers in Counseling & Therapy panel at the University of Georgia, and also leads music therapy wellness sessions for the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta staff retreats.


Music Therapy & iPods


A few weeks ago, Sam and I had the honor of traveling to St. Simons Island to attend the Georgia Health Care Association’s Annual Social Worker’s Meeting. We were invited to this conference to view the film, Alive Inside, with the conference attendees, and we presented immediately after about the benefits of music therapy for patients and residents in long-term residential care. I want to tell you what we observed, learned, and have taken away from this experience!

First and Foremost, let’s address the elephant in the room: Why do Music Therapists get so fired up about the film, “Alive Inside,” and the hype surrounding it? If you are a music therapist, you know what I mean. If you are not a music therapist, you might be confused as to why our field is a little on edge about this film. I think our collective defensiveness is based off of this simple idea: the common public perception is that the Music & Memory program IS Music Therapy. Many friends and family members have been thrilled to share the news of the film with us, saying, “This reminded me of you and of the work you do!” — and while that should be a compliment, we get defensive because our field is often misunderstood.

During our presentation, I told the room of social workers that as a musician, I was excited to see the seniors in the film receive access to their favorite music. As a music therapist, however, I saw missed opportunities to address clinical goals such as reducing isolation, increasing opportunities for socialization, memory recall, verbal processing, making emotional connections with family members, life review, and improving overall quality of life. This is why the iPod program is not a replacement for music therapy services.

One example of this “missed opportunity” involved Henry, the elderly gentleman with Alzheimer’s. The facility staff described him as being confused and isolated most of the time, a very typical description of any individual with dementia or Alzheimer’s. When the staff placed the headphones on Henry’s ears and began playing his favorite music, Henry became “alive” – he truly lit up. His affect became bright and his eyes flew wide open. He began singing (beautifully), and then recalled memories about the music he was hearing. So why would I call this a missed opportunity? If you watch the room while Henry is having this experience, you see other residents sitting around him, craning their necks with genuine interest to see what Henry is doing. You see Henry, a man who is typically isolated, becoming even more isolated while he closes out the world to listen to his music, completely by himself. I saw this moment as an opportunity to send in a board-certified music therapist to facilitate a group session which would incorporate everyone in the room in any capacity. Henry would then be able to share his memories and experiences with his peers – something that is nearly impossible for him to do when his memory is not livened by the music.

So, Music Therapists should be defensive then, right? I don’t believe so. This film shows us the positive power that music holds over our minds and memories. I wholeheartedly believe that every human should have access to their favorite music, and should be able to listen to it whenever they want. I also believe that Music Therapy is an effective clinical treatment option and – hear me – should not be implemented in a unit or facility all day every day. We work on clinical treatment goals and our patients and clients get exhausted. They need a mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual break. Just as a physical therapist shouldn’t be with a patient all day every day in order to let the body rest and restore before the next session, we can’t be with a patient 24/7. Music Therapists listen to me carefully: we cannot have it both ways. Let’s be very careful not to contradict ourselves. We can’t ask the world to view our services as something different than music entertainment (which it is!) and also get upset or offended when a facility brings someone or something in to act as entertainment. So we shouldn’t be defensive when a facility with whom we work brings in an iPod program, as long as that program isn’t meant to replace music therapy services (if it is, we need to better educate on the differences between the two, and the exclusive benefits of both).

This is why I believe every facility will benefit from having a music entertainment program (be it iPods, live musicians, etc) AND a music therapy program. People need to listen to music leisurely and for entertainment, and in a separate time and place, patients and clients with any diagnosis should have access to music therapy services to address their treatment goals. It shouldn’t be a choice between one or the other – it should be both.

Music Therapists, we have come a long way in the past 60-70 years. Think about how much further we can go if we were to view music entertainment programs as allies, and not enemies!


Note: This post is used with permission from the author.

Are you a music therapist, music therapy intern, or a professional in a field related to Music Therapy that has something to share on the Music Heals blog?

Submissions should include to links to your website and any social media channels you would like included in the article.
Submissions may be edited for length and photos for publication will require a waiver, which will be provided.Submissions should be sent to Alexina Davis: [email protected]

Growing Music Therapy Around the Globe

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending a conference with the theme of “Deepening Relationships”.  Since then, it’s been on my mind a lot.  Those of you who know me, know that I am very involved with advocacy and take every opportunity I can to try to connect with people about what we do as music therapists.

In light of this, I am so pleased today to offer  you all a submission by Amy Clements-Cortes.  She has definitely helped to deepen and expand the relationship between music therapy and the public on a global scale.  I was lucky enough to meet her during the conference in Toronto in 2014, when I was in between my third and fourth year of the music therapy program, and I have been watching her ever since (wow, do I sound creepy or what?!? :P).  Seriously though, keep and eye on this lady.  She’s doing wonderful things.  Check out her website , her Facebook and also follow her on Twitter @DrDiva33

Amy Clements-Cortes, PhD, RP, MTA, MT-BC, FAMI 

Amy Clements-Cortes is Assistant Professor, Music and Health Research Collaboratory, University of Toronto; Senior Music Therapist/Practice Advisor, Baycrest; Instructor and Supervisor, Wilfrid Laurier University and Registered Psychotherapist. Amy has extensive clinical experience working with clients across the lifespan with a specialty in work with older adults and end-of-life care. She has given over 90 conference and/or invited academic presentations, is published in peer reviewed journals and books, and has supervised over 36 music therapy internships, 30 undergraduate research studies, and 3 Masters students Major Research papers. She is the President of the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT), and a former President of the Canadian Association for Music Therapy (CAMT). Amy is the Managing Editor of the Music and Medicine journal and serves on the editorial review board of the Journal of Music Therapy, Music Therapy Perspectives and Voices.


Growing Music Therapy Around the Globe

Amy Clements-Cortes, PhD, RP, MTA, MT-BC, FAMI

I am the current President of the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT) for the 2014-2017 term. During the past term 2011-2014, I served the WFMT as the Clinical Commissioner. In this blog I want to bring your attention to the purpose, mission and organization of the WFMT; as well as to highlight resources that may be of interest to music therapists, music educators, students, and all those interested in music and health.

The World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT) is an organization “dedicated to developing and promoting music therapy throughout the world as an art and science. The Federation supports the global development of educational programs, clinical practice, and research to demonstrate the contributions of music therapy to humanity” (WFMT, 2015). The WFMT serves the international music therapy community to promote knowledge exchange in their 8 defined global regions. The main priorities of the WFMT are to promote and advance clinical practice standards, education and training, ethics and research in music therapy; alongside fostering international collaborations.

The WFMT was established in 1985 from a concept among an international group of 10 music therapist founding members. This year, 2015, the WFMT is celebrating their 30th Anniversary and there are a number of celebratory events and projects planned including the WFMT30Rocks Contributions project. You can learn more about this at the following link, and I encourage you to send in your contribution.

World Congresses are organized every 3 years to help grow music therapy internationally and disseminate knowledge. The next world congress will be held in July 2017 in Tsukuba, Japan and hosted by the Japanese Music Therapy Association. It is anticipated that over 2500 delegates will attend this dynamic event. To view opening and closing ceremony videos of the past world congress in Krems, Austria visit 

The WFMT has a global crisis commission that responds to music therapists and supports them when affected by disasters at present with educational resources. The commission has established a Disaster Relief Fund to help secure future financial support to be offered to music therapists offering services to those affected by such unfortunate events. You can learn more about this commission and also the disaster relief fund at this link.


The WFMT Council is comprised of officers, 8 commissioners and 8 regional liaisons. You can view a copy of the organizational chart at the following link. The WFMT commissioners are responsible for: accreditation and certification, clinical practice, education and training, global crisis, public relations, publications, research and ethics, and the world congress. The WFMT Regional Liaisons’ maintain blogs to inform WFMT members about the newest developments in the WFMT’s eight regions and you can view them at the following link.

Free Resources

There are a number of free downloadable resources on the WFMT website Today, I am noting four resources that might be of particular interest to therapists, allied health care professionals, educators, students, and all those interested in music and health.

Music Therapy Today Journal

The WFMT journal Music Therapy Today is an online open access peer reviewed journal. Submissions are accepted and open to persons from around the world. Why not consider reading innovative articles and submitting your own paper? Author guidelines are available at

International Library of Music

This International library of music was created to share popular songs, rhythms, lullabies, folk songs, and music commonly utilized by music therapists in the eight regions of the WFMT. This library is an ongoing project for the WFMT is updated every quarter of the year.


The purpose of the WFMT Soundboard is for music therapists to submit sound clips of therapeutic moments. These sound clips provide education on how music is used in various cultures around the world. I submitted a sound clip and you can listen to mine at this link.

Global Calendar of Events

The WFMT global calendar provides information on events that are of interest to music therapists, and individuals working in a variety of sectors related to music and health. Consider submitting your event to be added to this listing.

Take Away

I encourage you to visit the WFMT website to learn more and enjoy the free resources. I am honoured to be serving the global music therapy community as the current President. #WFMT30Rocks.


World Federation of Music Therapy. (2015).

Are you a music therapist, music therapy intern, or a professional in a field related to Music Therapy that has something to share on the Music Heals blog?

Submissions should include to links to your website and any social media channels you would like included in the article.
Submissions may be edited for length and photos for publication will require a waiver, which will be provided.Submissions should be sent to Alexina Davis: [email protected]

Music Therapy in a school setting: Can I play the tambourine with my nose?

Music Therapist

Tuesday, Oct 6, 2015

Did you know that October is Autism Awareness Month in Canada?  In light of this, I thought that it would be great to feature a music therapist this month who works with children and adolescents with autism AND who also works in the school system!  As you can see from her bio below, Sheila Lee has many years of experience working with students with various physical and cognitive challenges and below she tells us a little about the work that she does!  For more information, check out her


Sheila Lee, BA, BMT, MTA, FAMI, NMT, 李詩韻

Owner, Accredited Music Therapist, Fellow of the Association for Music and Imagery,

Certified Neurologic Music Therapist, Director of Richmond Music Together®, Early Childhood Music Teacher

Sheila has been involved in music and the arts all her life. She has received training in piano, guitar, violin, voice, and dance. After completing her BA in Psychology from UBC, she decided to pursue her Bachelor of Music Therapy from Capilano University. She is now an Accredited Music Therapist and Certified Neurologic Music Therapist, working together with clients of varying ages and abilities to help them achieve their goals. To continue furthering her love of learning, she is presently completing her MA in Counselling from UVic.

Sheila’s music therapy experience includes working in the Delta, Surrey, and Burnaby School Districts, PALS Autism School, BC Children’s Hospital, Providence Health Care, as well as an internship at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Centre in Toronto, ON. She is gradually building her practice as a GIM therapist after completing her Level III Certificate in The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music.


Child: Can I play the tambourine with my nose?

Me: There is no right or wrong in music therapy.  As long as you are being safe and respectful, you can do just about anything you like!

I have worked as a music therapist in various school districts for the past six years.  In that time, I have challenged myself to design guidelines that balance structure and freedom in my interactions with children with special needs.  I want children and teens to be free to play bells on their heads and drums with their knees; however, I also want them to know that hitting their bells on a peer’s head or kicking drums aggressively with their feet is not acceptable.  To moderate this behaviour, I have considered phrases such as, “play it properly” or “play it gently,” but those phrases inhibit spontaneous and honest freedom of expression.  Therefore, I have encouraged my clients to be “safe and respectful”; as long as they don’t break my instruments, and no one is injured, I encourage them to express their creativity.

Timing is also important in my music therapy practice.  I constantly observe group dynamics in order to determine when to intervene.  For example, I allow activities to continue when students who often fight instead find peace with each other; when group members work in sync; when kids share instruments without instructions and take turns without any adult support; and when activities stir deep emotions.

I feel it is time to intervene when music agitates my clients; when participants’ emotions enter into an unhealthy space; when a child’s body language becomes aggressive; and when clients are no longer interested.  My job is not to control the group dynamics, but to be aware of what is happening within, and between group members, and myself.  This informs both the pace and timing of my sessions.

I also emphasize the importance of timing by keeping my eye on the clock during every session.  If I don’t end sessions on time, I will not have sufficient time to pack up my suitcase, wheel it out to my car, drive to the next school, park, and enter the next classroom to start another session.  Timing is a vital part of my job.

Structured fun?  Or a fun structure?  Music is appealing to many children and adolescents because it shouts out, “fun!”  It arouses and awakens our silly side.  It stimulates our senses and tickles laughter out of our bellies.  But structure can help make it fun, too.

I never structure music therapy sessions in order to control the fun.  But in a school setting, I must set some limits so that everyone can enjoy themselves.

To sum up, as long as you are being safe and respectful during music therapy, you can do just about anything you like.

Written by Sheila Lee

Are you a music therapist, music therapy intern, or a professional in a field related to Music Therapy that has something to share on the Music Heals blog?

Submissions should include to links to your website and any social media channels you would like included in the article.
Submissions may be edited for length and photos for publication will require a waiver, which will be provided.Submissions should be sent to Alexina Davis: [email protected]

A Snapshot of the Camp Kerry Society

Music Therapist

Wednesday, Sep 9, 2015

I am so pleased to be writing about Dr. Heather Mohan Van Heerden and Camp Kerry Society this month.  I have been volunteering with their Circles of Strength program for the last year and I am absolutely thrilled to be helping out at the retreat this weekend.  Music Heals has helped fund the society for the last three years and this year, they are pleased to say there will be eight Music Therapists present!

Check out and follow them on Facebook and @campkerry on Twitter to find out more 🙂

Dr. Mohan Van Heerden is the Founder and Executive Director of the Camp Kerry Society; a registered Canadian charity that specializes in providing support and counselling for young families coping with life-threatening illness, grief and bereavement. Heather worked for five years as a Counsellor and Music Therapist with the Delta Hospice Society and prior to that for 13 years as the Coordinator of the Lions Gate Hospital Family Bereavement/Expressive Arts Therapy Program. In 1997, she developed the first music therapy program at Canuck Place (Canada’s only free-standing hospice for children) – a program that is still in existence today.

Heather is a registered clinical counselor and an accredited music therapist with a Masters degree in Music Therapy and a PhD in Arts Education. She has been a Faculty member in the Graduate Counselling program at City University of Seattle and in the Music Therapy program at Capilano University and is currently an instructor in the UBC Department of Medicine (Division of Palliative Care). Heather has been invited to present her clinical work and research on music therapy, palliative and bereavement care at conferences around the world: in Canada, United States, New Zealand, Japan and Europe.

A: Tell me a little about Camp Kerry.  How did it all start?

H: Camp Kerry started when I met a young woman, her name was Kerry, she was in her early 30’s.  I was a music therapist at that time in the palliative unit at Lion’s Gate hospital and part of my job was to help support families, particularly families with children who were going through when one parent was dying.  Kerry called me and explained that she had been told that she was in the final stages of her 2-year battle with colon cancer. She then asked if I could help her and her family (she had 2 young children) prepare for her death. So I arranged a time to meet with Kerry, her son Hudson (2), her daughter Avery (4) and her husband Bob at their West Vancouver home.  We did music therapy for over a period of about six months and lots of different things and I think what was important for Kerry and her husband Bob about that experience was that they felt that it gave them some moments of quality and connection as a family.   When Kerry died, her family asked that money be left to my program.  They didn’t specify how it was to be used and the president of the hospital foundation called me into her office and said, “What would you like to do?  There’s been a lot of money left for your program.”  Right away, my thoughts went to this dream that I’ve always harboured which was, ‘let’s create an experience for people.  Let’s not buy something that can be used, let’s create an actual experience and take young families on a retreat who’ve had loss, and work with them using music, expressive arts, in a setting that gets them away from their daily life.’  The idea of the camp was just because I knew that that was a great way to connect people to nature, themselves, each other, all those things.  Our first project happened in the year after Kerry died, so in 2007, and we took 10 families for a weekend and it went so well that we started to think, ’how can we keep this going’ and Kerry’s family was obviously a part of that first retreat and very much wanted it to continue as her legacy.  We have been running camps every since that time but the program has grown exponentially so that now there are year-round supports. And music therapy is a huge part of our therapeutic approach, a huge part of these supports.  It’s not the only modality, obviously.  We do counselling and art as a part of what we do, and adventure and pet therapy and things like that but I think the heart of it is that it came out of this…relationship that was developed through music therapy with this family and next year will be our tenth year, so.. I went sideways on, “How did it all start?” (laughter)

A: That’s okay!  You kind of answered my next question!  I was going to ask what can someone expect from the retreat?  What kind of activities do you do at this retreat? 

H: So in some ways, it feels and looks on the outsides like a normal camp, in a sense that you bring your sleeping bag, you sleep in a bunk, you get to go swimming, you get to go hiking, fishing, climbing high ropes.  How it differs is that underneath everything we do, from the time that people arrive to the time that leave, there’s an intentionality and a purpose for every activity.  It starts with just engaging people, because people are often anxious when they arrive, so just getting people to know that there are friendly people around that they can talk to and connect with and no pressure, just really getting them to be able to be there and enjoy themselves.  The parts that are less visible are the groups that are run — we call them sharing circles — that are run by the counsellors and many of the group facilitators are music therapists.  There are many music therapists in the room leading groups and the purpose of that group is to give people a chance to connect with their peers and parents meet with parents, young kids meet with young kids, teens meet with teens, and all those groups are facilitated by professionals along with the support of volunteers.  So people can expect to have fun, they can also expect to find ways to express their grief, to meet others to help them feel less alone in their grief.  They can expect — sometimes, I think, especially with parents — learning how to reconnect with their kids through play.  So there’s the whole range of things that you would expect from a normal camp, but there’s this underlying sense of ‘we’re all here on a different journey but on a shared journey’.

A: So once that’s over, do you offer support to these families throughout the year?

H: There are a few different ways that we do that.  Over the years, the reputation of the camp has grown so that we get more and more referrals from further and further afield, so obviously the year round services that we are able to offer are primarily in the Lower Mainland.  A couple of years ago Josh created an online network so that every person or volunteer or family member, who’s over the ago of 13 who’s been to Camp Kerry, can be a member of that network and they can see comings and goings and what’s going on and if there’s an event, whatever’s going on, that it can be communicated.  So people who live far away stay connected that way and then the people who live in the Lower Mainland can participate in Circles of Strength.  Every two weeks those groups meet and create that ongoing support and we have a leader who is responsible for also tracking; if someone is having a hard time in the group and need to talk to her outside of the group.  They can call, they can make an appointment, they can talk to her on the phone.  The idea is that there is this a sense of ongoing community.  What happens in those four days at camp, is that people really make connections and then, you want those connections to continue.  These connections can happen between families, so you want them to be able to continue to feel that sense of support.  They do that in many different ways.  Some of it’s traditionally therapeutic, some of it’s more social based; we have people who just come out to the special events which are a couple times of year, like the DVD release (of the previous year’s retreat), or they get involved in different ways, but they stay connected to that sense of community through Camp Kerry that gets initiated at camp.  We also do a year round youth program.  Some of those teens meet at camp and we also take them on their own retreat and we do things where we say to them, “what do you wanna do?”, and they say, “we want to go on a picnic, we wanna go on a hike”.  We try to rally them up to do it all at the same time!

A: I heard recently that you guys open a branch in Ontario.  Tell me a little bit about that. 

H: We’ve had a few volunteers who have been coming to the BC camp from several years who have really kept talking to us about doing this in Ontario.  I grew up in Ontario so I was open to it and and I’d be there a couple of times a year anyway, so during one of those trips, I met with one of the people from this particular region of Ontario, Peterborough, which is about an hour and a half from Toronto.  Peterborough has a fairly major hospital for that region and so it ended being kind of a partnership with support from the hospital, a local hospice and basically one volunteer, who’s name is Shelly, who took it upon herself to fundraise.  So she said, “if we can raise the money, then will you guys come and do a project here?”.  We said we would and wanted to keep it small; the goal was for it to be 10 families so we did this project and we’re doing it again.  Ontario happens around late October and it’s the same concept; four days, three nights, connecting people who’ve had loss.  We’ll see where that goes.  We’ve also had another group from Atlantic Canada who are now talking to us about bringing the project out there, so their target date is for July 2016.  The idea is that hopefully there will be one in the middle, west and east, but the people from that community have to raise the money to make it happen, so we’re just learning about that as we go.  But it’s expanding.  And there definitely could be more in BC.   We’re maxed out at the camp now, we’re full.  We could be doing it two or three times a year.  We don’t market it, people just find us, so there’s huge potential for it to be bigger than it is, but running it as an independent charity — which I didn’t say.  We separated from Lion’s Gate hospital.  It started under that umbrella and in 2011 we got our own charitable status, so since then, we have been running in independently.  There’s just a lot of work running any kind of charities so it takes up a lot of time; finding ways to make it sustainable and keep it going so we do all the usual fundraising that people do.  We just, this year after three years of trying, got a government grant so that was really helpful, and then organizations like Music Heals and CKNW Orphan’s Fund.. So mostly small grants that assist and help and lots and lots of volunteers.  Camp Kerry would never be where is it without thousands and thousands of volunteer hours.  It would be hard to count the number of hours it takes.  For example, this camp that’s coming up;  a team of 50 volunteers for the four days, just for this particular part of the society, we’re looking at about 5000 volunteer hours.  So it’s a lot.  Again, I don’t know if I even answered your question!  That’s what happens to me late at night.  (Heather was amazingly accommodating and fit me in after she already sat through a few hours of meetings for the retreat.. At 11:30pm!!  Talk about dedication!)

A: No, you did!  So I have a few questions about you now.  Your background is in music therapy.  Do you do bereavement sessions with clients privately as well, or..?

H: Well, for another organization I was doing music therapy in bereavement and palliative care work so I don’t really have a private practice because I just haven’t had time.  Between Delta Hospice three days a week, Camp Kerry, and various teaching things that I do, I haven’t had time to do private bereavement music therapy work, but certainly have done it embedded in my hospice work and things like that.  Is that what you mean by private practice?  Sort of outside of Camp Kerry?  (A: Yea)  I guess I would say, no privately, but in another non-profit.  It’s a very big part of how I work.  I have a sort of strange background.  My Bachelors is in music therapy, then my Masters was in music therapy and my PhD was in arts education and then in between I did my counselling, so I’m a registered counsellor.  That means that a lot of the times when people are coming to see me, they are seeing me as a counsellor but it feels very natural to me, if I know that music is something that is important for someone, and it often is in grief work, then we just move into using music as part of the whole that I work with them.  That could be kids, it could be teens, it could be adults.  When I was running adult bereavement groups at Delta Hospice, music was always a part of groups in some form or another.  It may not be the whole group, but there would be parts where, either part of the ritual, much as it is in Circles of Strength, or part of actual work material, like have people share songs that had significant connection to their loved one and listen to that and have that in the group setting and then talk about what came from that.  So for me, it’s not one or the other, it’s very integrated into how I work with people.  So I guess it’s not private but it’s working for another agency.

A: What drew you to this work?  I know, you’re probably asked this all the time!

H: I ask myself!  (laughter) I think part of it is that it’s just a place that feels really natural for me.  The works feels like it matters.  It makes a difference.  It’s very much longterm work.  So if you come to camp this year and you meet families — well, you already know quite a number of them, which is neat, and you’ll get to know them even more through camp and as you stay connected through the society, you get to see people over a two or three year period.  You really get to see their growth over time and there’s something about that, seeing that transformation.  It’s their work.  We’re not making them do the work, we’re just creating the spaces where they can do it and that just feeds me in a particular way and it just feels like I’m doing the work that doesn’t feel like work.  It just feels right.  So why do I do it?  Probably a whole host of reasons.  I’ve certainly had my own personal losses, which I talked about in class and I would say, part of the motivation for starting Camp Kerry  was at the time when Baz, my husband, was sick.  He was quite adamant that I continue to create this program because he felt it was so important and so valuable and for me, being able to continue working and creating, all those experiences fed into it being meaningful and important and somehow something I could continue to do even though I was in the midst of my own, kind of, journey of loss and grief.  We find places where we feel that we really fit and also doing the job of running, being the executive director of the organization means that I’m using many different kinds of skills.  I get to use my counselling, my music therapy, my creativity, my love for teaching and the mentoring that I get to do with students and interns and volunteers.  Then I have to write grants and do research, so on many levels it challenges and uses lots of my different skill sets and I like working outside of the box.  You get to do that, in a way, when you get out of the institution and you are creating something.  Like, I have a lot of philosophical ideas about what kind of an organization I want it to be and so it’s neat to be able to shape that.  So lots of reasons.  And it’s hard work.  It’s tiring.  It’s exhausting; you’re never done but it’s really, really rewarding so I guess that’s why I do it!

A: It sounds like you make a huge difference in so many people’s lives, which is amazing.

H: And they much such a difference in mine, right?  As an example of that, every year we do a run that raises money, the Scotia Bank Charity Challenge, and every year Camp Kerry enters a team.  A few years ago, I decided I’d run the half marathon and I’m not a runner, I just decided I was gonna train and do it.  So I did and I don’t know how she knew I was doing it; a girl that I worked with after her dad died, she was about 11, and she was part of Camp Kerry and the Circles of Strength program, she’s now 20 or 21, she’s working in emergency services and she sponsored me.  She sent me a message.  She said, “I see that you’re running for Camp Kerry.  I want you to know how great I think that is!”.  It’s those kind of things where you plant seeds, you don’t know what people are going to do with their lives and then you get to see that.  I feel like if I make a difference, it’s also — I get so much back from it so I feel just really blessed to be able to be in that position.

A: So if people want to get involved as a volunteer or as a family to join the organization, either going to the retreat or the Circles of Strength, how would they do that?

H: Because we serve families from many different communities, and we’re not the Delta Hospice Society or the Richmond Palliative Care Unit; we’re not located in a specific community, so we’ve really tried to make the website the main point of access.  We do have a small office in New West and we have an administrative assistant there part time, so we do have a number where she’ll answer calls.  But basically, and people can navigate their way around there.  There’s a button for registration and more information on each of those programs.  You’ve already heard us talk a bit about launching some new programs this fall that we’re hoping will also take off.  One of those is the Camp Kerry community choir, so we’re really excited to see how that’s going to grow!

Are you a music therapist, music therapy intern, or a professional in a field related to Music Therapy that has something to share on the Music Heals blog?

Submissions should include to links to your website and any social media channels you would like included in the article.
Submissions may be edited for length and photos for publication will require a waiver, which will be provided.Submissions should be sent to Alexina Davis: [email protected]

Extra, extra! Read all about it! We’re back online!

Welcome Back Image

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015

Dear Music Heals supporters!

Julia Campbell, Music Heals former blog editor here – yep, you heard me right – former! I am pleased to say someone that new and far more lovely than myself is moving in to take my place here as blog editor for Music Heals. When I gratefully began working with this organization, I was just beginning the last phase of my music therapy training as an intern, and since finally graduating with my degree last spring, this January I began my own business as a fully accredited music therapist. This new venture has admittedly occupied much of my time and energy, which is why I decided that it was sadly time to say goodbye to editing the Music Heals blog! Beginning your own private practice is a lot of work, as I have been quickly realizing, but it is an absolutely rewarding experience as well. It is such a joy to see lives being touched by music and I am really looking forward to what the future will bring as I continue growing and exploring this vocation.

I know I will really miss working with Chris and the Music Heals team. They have been so incredibly good to me! A huge thanks goes out to them for inviting me to be a part of this project from the beginning, and also a huge thanks to those of you that were so supportive and patient in working with us and joining our efforts in getting this blog up and running. We really could not have done it without all of you and your insightful and generous blog contributions. Thank you, so very much for your support for Music Heals and the profession of music therapy!

Okay.. enough! without further adieu, like I mentioned above, there is someone that is ready to step in as the new blog editor and I know you will all love her! I know I already do, and I know she will do wonderful things for Music Heals and for this blog, so please join me in welcoming the lovely, Alexina Davis! Alexina and I decided to “pass the torch along” so to speak, we would work on a fun little joint post together. We sent each other music therapy-ish related questions and wrote responses to share with you all! My responses first, and then you’ll finish with the featured Ms. Davis! Alexina has also graciously included a little more information so you can also get to know her better!

So please, read, enjoy, and farewell!

With much gratitude,


Alexina: What’s is your favourite thing about music therapy?

Julia: One of my favourite things about music therapy is also one of the most frustrating things about the profession! Music therapy has the potential to benefit a wide variety of populations, which is great, but for myself, I don’t want to be too widespread in the work that I do. Rather, I would love to find my niche(s) so I can focus my work, learning and education and learn more about a fewer number of populations rather than knowing less than a whole slew of populations (though I also know that there are many skills that are absolutely transferable between them, which is good news). The tough part at this very early point in my career is figuring out which population to focus my time and energy on reaching out to when there are just way too many awesome groups of people out there to choose from. I wish I could work with them all! Only time will tell where the focus will fall..

A: Top five all time favourite songs?

J: There are far too many good tunes out there to choose from, so I’ll give you the first five contenders that have been general constants for a majority my life.. and they are in no particular order..

– Circle of Life – The Lion King

– In the moment, any song I spontaneously create on the spot is always my favourite.. though I recall making one up about cooking chicken that was particularly great.. while I was in fact in the kitchen cooking chicken.

– Now We Are Free – Hans Zimmer, Lisa Gerrard

– Cemetery Gates – Pantera

– Basically any song by any artist who does killer harmonies.. (Eg. The Staves, Wailin’ Jennys, Simon & Garfunkle, etc.)

A: If you were a musical instrument, which one would you be and why?

J: I would definitely be a nose flute so I could look ridiculous, sound cool, and start jolly conversations between people, all at the same time.

A: Who inspires you?

J: My parents. I am constantly touched and astounded by the beautiful servant heartedness that they radiate. Their lives demonstrate such a deep desire to love and serve those other than themselves. Their love, kindness, generosity, and unwavering support will always be encouraging to me, no matter where I am or what I am doing. Also my grandma Marshall and my grandma Wiens, whose singing voices I love to hear more than any other.

A: What drives you as a music therapist?

J: I don’t believe the world is the way it should be, and though it is easy to become heavy with the weight of all the pain and sadness I see around me, despite these difficult moments I will always choose to hope for something better. I see music as a tool that can bring glimpses of beautiful restorative work into a world that so desperately needs healing and hope.

Now further musical insight from, Alexina Davis, the new Music Heals Blog Editor!


Hello all you beautiful people of the interwebs!  For those of you who don’t know me, let me take this chance to introduce myself!  Like Julia, I start this portion of my journey with Music Heals as a Music Therapy intern.  I am a singer/songwriter with a background in Jazz from Vancouver Community College and Composition at Selkirk College in picturesque Nelson, BC.  At the moment, I keep myself busy with work as an Applied Behavioural Interventionist with children with Autism, volunteering with numerous music therapy organizations and the MTABC.  Once I graduate, I hope to continue working with children, adults in mental health, and explore more opportunities in bereavement and family counselling, after completing a Masters.

I am SO excited to take over this blog from such a wonderful editor as Julia.  She has done an amazing job with this and I can’t wait to continue her work and take this blog even further!

Julia: What experiences in your life have contributed the most to your decision to pursue music therapy?

Alexina: It’s a long story.. I wanted to study psychology when I left high school but I didn’t get in to the school I applied to so I went to music school instead, and I’m grateful everyday that I did!  I think what finally got me turned in this direction was the aftermath of a car accident.  During a therapy session, I realized that not only was I not doing what I loved, I also had lost my musical identity.  I wasn’t singing or writing anymore and I was just going through the motions of my life.  Once I started making music again, I felt more like myself.  Then, I heard about this career, went to an open house at Capilano and it clicked.  I’m so happy that I get to combine my passions for music and psychology in this career!

J: How do you enjoy music for yourself on your own time?

A: It sounds kinda silly when I say it out loud.. I make up a lot of silly songs about what I’m doing or singing to my pets.  Like, when they’re watching me and I’m looking in the fridge for what I’m going to make for dinner, I’ll start singing about what I see in the fridge and what I can make out of it!  I’m always singing or humming to myself!  I also write a lot of other songs (sans inanimate objects!!); I have a songwriting background and it has always been my medium of choice for expressing myself.

J: Top three life goals involving music, go!

A: 1) I’ve wanted to learn to play the violin since I was little.  A friend of mine is a stellar violinist and she’s given me a lesson already.. So I’m on my way!!

2) I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ve never been to a music festival!  I really want to go to one, and there are so many great options locally but I just haven’t the opportunity to go yet.  Maybe I’ll make it to Squamish Fest this year!!

3) I’d love to release an album one day.  I’ve always been super passionate about using writing as means of expression and I think it would be amazing to have a professional album to put out there.  I’ve done a bit of studio work over the years, but it was mostly for school or myself and other things always got in the way.

J: Who is a music role model in your life?

A: Good question!  If I can pick someone who I don’t know, I’d have to say Prince or Sade.  I can’t get over how much talent that Prince has and how many times he’s reinvented himself and evolved over the years.  When it comes to Sade, I love her use of jazz influence and how she melds that into her own music.  A lot of my writing has sounds of her in it, probably because of my jazz background and also having her on repeat for hours when I discovered her 😛  On a more local level, I’m influenced by all of my peers.  I can look at everyone I know through my music schooling, and be inspired on so many different levels.

J: If you were a musical instrument, what music instrument do you think would you be and why..,?

A: Wow, what an incredible, tough question!  There are so many that I would love to be.. Ukulele because it’s so happy and spunky; piano because it is capable of so many colours.. But I think I’d say a cello.  I’ve always been drawn to the beauty of strings and I think that I can relate to the quiet strength and vulnerability that it shows but there is also a sense of power and leadership that can step forward when needed.  Although, I could also see being something loud and obnoxious like a Kazoo.. But who doesn’t love a good Kazoo solo every once and a while?!? They’re loads of fun 🙂

J: What era of music do you identify the most with and why?

A: Definitely the Jazz.  I love the complexity of the harmonies and the use of tension and release in the melodies.  I’m always inspired by the lyrics; they are so clever and expressive and tied perfectly to the melodic structure.  I don’t think that I’ve ever felt as connected or moved by music as when I’m singing this style.  It may have something to do with the fact that I was studying jazz when I really came into my own musically, but whenever I really feel that I need to express myself and my own writing doesn’t seem to do it, I turn to this genre to find the perfect song.  Plus, the caliber of vocalists in this style is unbelievable! Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Sarah Vaughn.. Come ON!  How can you listen to these women bare their souls and not have your heart strings torn?

Well, there you have it!  It was long, but I had a lot of fun getting to know Julia and introducing myself to all of you!  Stay tuned for more posts in the coming months and if you have an article you would like to share, please be in touch with me via [email protected]

Keep the music coming,

~Alexina 🙂

Are you a music therapist, music therapy intern, or a professional in a field related to Music Therapy that has something to share on the Music Heals blog?

Submissions should include to links to your website and any social media channels you would like included in the article.
Submissions may be edited for length and photos for publication will require a waiver, which will be provided.Submissions should be sent to Alexina Davis: [email protected]