AMTA National Conference and PDS 2014

AMTA National Conference and PDS 2014

This year celebrating the 40th conference of the Australian Music Therapy Association, in Brisbane, Queensland.

Musicking: In and Beyond Therapy

Turning 40: Evaluate. Explore. Integrate. Celebrate.


Thursday 28 August 2014 at 5.30pm:  Perspectives on the value of music therapy in health and well-being: public forum

Friday 29 and Saturday 30 August 2014: Conference days

Sunday 31 August 2014: PDS (RMT and MThNZ only)


The Royal on the Park hotel, Alice Street, Brisbane, Queensland

Conference brochure     

Registration form     

Accommodation booking form


Draft conference program

Preliminary PDS program

Welcome messages

Toni Day RMT

Toni Day RMT, Conference Convenor 2014                         

Carmen Cheong-Clinch RMT

Dr Carmen Cheong-Clinch RMT, Chair of the Scientific Committee 2014


It is our great pleasure to welcome you to the 40th National Australian Music Therapy Conference in Brisbane, Australia.

Building on the success of previous conferences, this year promises to offer delegates the opportunity to not only hear from leading researchers and practitioners in the field of music therapy and beyond, but also connect and strengthen the community we share with all those who participate in musicking for health and well-being. See you in Brisbane!

It has been very exciting to see the concept of turning 40 translating to this year's 40th conference program. We have had a lot of fun thinking and planning together. It promises to be an interesting and inspiring conference that will encourage all of us who musick to evaluate, explore, integrate and celebrate musicking! 


Public lecture:

Perspectives on the value of music therapy in health and well-being.

A panel chaired by Associate Professor Katrina McFerran RMT, University of Melbourne. This interactive panel features a music therapist, a clinician and a manager of a medical service, who will share their perspectives about working with a music therapist. 

5.30pm for drinks and canapes, followed by the forum at 6.30pm. Free to conference delegates.
$25 for others.  Register here.


Dr Grace Thompson RMT

Keynote speaker on Saturday:  Dr Grace Thompson RMT

Lecturer in Music Therapy, University of Melbourne, President Elect, AMTA

Riding the momentum of 40 years of music therapy and expanding our community of practice


Brief abstract: In 40 years, lots of things change, and perhaps that’s why 40 is traditionally a time to reflect, evaluate and celebrate. Society’s notion of “therapy” and the ways we experience and participate in music has shifted and expanded since the pioneering days of music therapy in Australia and indeed the rest of the world. As music therapy continues to navigate beyond the traditional boundaries of health and education settings, we have embraced words such as collaboration, partnership and strength-based practice. At the same time, never before in our history have we had so many clinicians with considerable practice experience and such a fast growing generation of researchers in Australia. These conditions provide us with a new collective capacity to reflect deeply on the ways we engage people in musicking for health and wellbeing, as well as the courage to expand our community of practice in order to progress our profession in the years to come.

This presentation will reflect upon music therapy’s rich heritage, explore current trends emerging in health care and promotion, and propose ideas to continue to develop our community of practice. 


Professor Jane Davidson

Keynote speaker on Sunday:  Professor Jane Davidson

Head of Research in Creative and Performing Arts, University of Melbourne

Performing emotions: Researching meanings and methods for musical engagement


This paper discusses participants from three data sets: firstly, those engaged in a longitudinal study traced from children through to adulthood who undertook musical activities music for a variety of personal/social goals; secondly, adult professional musicians who reflected on their own personal needs with music; and thirdly, a group of seniors who joined in musical practice and performance activities for wellbeing benefit.  Using these diverse sources of information, it is argued that whilst individual experience affects the nature of musical engagement, the personal, psychological and social impact of both practice and performance are similar, though articulated through different mechanisms by different participants. The theoretical framework for the analysis builds of Juslin’s recent development of work on music and emotion, specifically its use and meaning.  Exploring both individual and group experience, the work will shed light on what types of affect music arouses in the person engaging in music-making. Also, what specific emotions we might be dealing with and whether or not these change over time – individual time and historical time (when considering the performance of music composed in earlier times). Additionally, contexts for these specific emotions will be discussed, and consideration will be given to the mechanisms within the music that might elicit the emotion response. Also, whether or not these musical emotions are different to other emotions. Working through these questions, insights into the value of some research methods over others will be explored.

Key themes:

  • Evaluation of the ways we musick

  • Integrate the differences or similarities in the way we musick

  • Contribution to the knowledge and ways we musick in and beyond therapy


Full program coming soon.



Turning 40: Evaluate.  Explore. Integrate. Celebrate.

“Turning 40 is one of the key psychological milestones in a person’s life when they evaluate who they are and where they want to be going.” George Negus

Welcome to the Australian Music Therapy Association’s 2014 Professional Development Seminar. After celebrating the 40th AMTA conference, we will continue exploring the theme Turning 40: Evaluate. Explore. Integrate. Celebrate. This year, the conference committee decided to evaluate the traditional two-day seminar and explore new potentials for RMTs to come together to learn new knowledge, strengthen existing skills and build our capacity to do what we do best – facilitate change and health through music. Prioritising quality over quantity, I hope this one day of game-changing conversations and music will assist you (as an individual) and us (as a collective) to traverse the milestones of Australian music therapy, evaluate who we are and where we want to be going.

Whether you are an early, mid or late career music therapist, the program aims to explore, move beyond and celebrate the challenging, yet gratifying moments that music therapists face. With the choice of experiential, theory/practice integration, and facilitated discussions throughout the day you will no doubt engage in workshops that explore new potentials and extend your own limits:

  • Explore the ways that boundaries can make or break outcomes and build professional integrity
  • Measure the seemingly unmeasurable and discover ways to evaluate that don’t impede therapy, but rather enhances it
  • Learn how to make your conversations with managers, clients, students, supervisees and colleagues more influential
  • Integrate music therapy practice with some of the latest advances in neuroscience
  • Play with the uncharted territory in your voice and body
  • Explore potentials for funding music therapy in a climate of budget restrictions. 

Finally at the end of the day, we will come together as a team of music therapists to explore the identity of music therapists (as individuals), Australian music therapy (as a professional collective) and the communities of which we work with and serve.

Regardless of which sessions you choose to attend, it is my hope that you come out the other side of the 2014 PDS having re-filled your professional cup with a stronger and more integrated sense of professional self. So, for the next twelve months you can move back into your own music therapy world in a way that sustains you and the communities you serve. 

Claire Stephensen

MMusThy, RMT

Full program coming soon.

This year's conference returns to the Royal on the Park hotel, Alice Street, Brisbane.  Since AMTA was there last there have been extensive renovations, but the very welcome indoor-outdoor party and break area remains.

Royal on the Park double room Rooms are spacious and feature a king bed or two queens.  Bathrooms are fresh and sparkling. And there is free unlimited wi-fi.


Special AMTA conference rates are:

Thursday or Friday night

$185 per room, room only

Saturday or Sunday night

$159 per room, room only

Breakfast is an additional $20 per person per day, but must be booked in advance for this rate.  If not booked in advance then breakfast is $25 per person, per day.

These rates can only be secured through ShowGroup.  To book please use this form, phone ShowGroup on 03 9468 2100 or email them at

It is strongly advised to book as soon as possible, because once our allocation has gone the prices may go up. And one the hotel is full there is nothing we can do.

Welcome to registration for the 40th AMTA National Conference and PDS

You can book online and pay either online or offline, or book and pay entirely offline using this paper form.

Early bird deadline is 5pm on Friday 18 July 2014.  Please note that fees must be paid by then to secure that rate. Once a booking has been made it can not be refunded, so please book carefully.

To book:

  • Please choose your first option from the list below
  • If you wish to buy more tickets, such as PDS registration or extra tickets to the conference then add them to your shopping cart before checking out
  • Follow the prompts 
  • You will receive an email to confirm your booking has been made, but this DOES NOT confirm it has been paid for  - it confirms that your registration has been received.


Book now

Ticket descriptionPriceBuy
Conf: Earlybird - MemberAUD$494add to cart
Conf: Earlybird - Non-MemberAUD$572add to cart
Conf: Earlybird - Student MemberAUD$370add to cart
Conf: Earlybird - Student Non MemberAUD$476add to cart
Conf: Single Day Registration - MemberAUD$356add to cart
Conf: Single Day Registration - Non MemberAUD$428add to cart
Conf: Single Day Registration: Student MemberAUD$274add to cart
Conf Single Day Registration: Student Non MemberAUD$321add to cart
PDS: Earlybird Member one day only RMT ONLYAUD$199add to cart

Additional tickets. Already included in the tickets above.
Additional ticket for Registration CelebrationAUD$74.5add to cart
Additional ticket for the Public ForumAUD$25add to cart