Welcome to AJMT Volume 31. This Volume is uniquely co-edited, as we say farewell to Dr Imogen Clark who has been AJMT’s Editor-In-Chief for the last three years, and welcome Dr Jennifer Bibb, AJMT’s incoming Editor-In-Chief. What a year it has been for music therapists both nationally and internationally, practicing, educating and researching during the unprecedented times of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many challenges for music therapists, and AJMT is not exempt from the impact of these. The small size of Volume 31 reflects the lower number of submissions to AJMT this year, which, although is disappointing, we hope our readership will understand. The two articles in this volume are high quality research articles, which we are proud to note are written by Australian RMTs.
As we move into a new year, we reflect on the challenges of 2020 but also on the stories of resilience and hope which have emerged. This volume of AJMT highlights our resources as music therapists through two research articles. Fuller and Short offer findings on the use of visual support tools by RMTs in their clinical practice, while Hogan-Gibbons offers client perspectives on a collaborative song-writing approach in an inpatient mental health setting. Utilising our professional resources is increasingly important as we begin to reflect, recoup and adapt our music therapy practice and continue to meet the needs of the people we work with into 2021 and beyond.
Allison Fuller and Alison Short present the results from a survey they conducted on visual supports such as ‘choice boards’ or ‘first-then cards’ used by Australian RMTs in their clinical practice. They state that for RMTs working with people who have communication difficulties, visual supports can be a useful tool. Fuller and Short found that RMTs valued taking an individualised approach to using visual supports and have observed a number of benefits with their clients, such as easing stress and anxiety, promoting agency, and supporting communication.
In our second article, Claire Hogan-Gibbons, Alison Short and Sophie Isobel describe the results from their qualitative study using group song writing in an inpatient mental health context. Hogan-Gibbons and her team used lyric analysis on songs and interviews which were conducted with participants. Through thematic content analysis of the data they found a number of key themes relating to the song lyrics and participant experiences, concluding that song writing is a collaborative activity in which people can express themselves and explore issues relevant to their mental health recovery.
With a new year also brings an exciting new Special Edition of AJMT in 2021 which will be published alongside our next Volume 32, as an opportunity to further reflect on the events of 2020. We welcome Allison Fuller as guest editor of this special edition called "This is Australia... Music Therapy Down Under During & Beyond Covid19". This special edition will highlight the innovative practices that Australian music therapists have developed and adopted to overcome restrictions and challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Authors are invited to submit their manuscripts through [email protected] by 31 March 2021 in order to be considered for this Special Edition of AJMT. Please note that we are also accepting more general manuscripts for the regular 2021 volume. Thus, 2021 promises a bumper AJMT year!
Finally, our sincere thanks to Dr Kate Williams for her continued service as Associate Editor and to Kate McMahon for her amazing work as AJMT’s Copy Editor. A special thank you to Dr Imogen Clark for her leadership as Editor over the last three years. We would also like to note the generous contributions from our reviewers in 2020 (see inside front cover). We hope you will enjoy reading this 31st edition of AJMT.
Dr Jennifer Bibb
Incoming Editor, AJMT
Dr Imogen Clark
Outgoing Editor, AJMT