Editorial: Understanding music therapy better

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Editorial: Understanding music therapy better

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Date published: December 2018

        Welcome to AJMT Volume 29, 2018. While there was no theme set for this year, it seems that our authors and researchers are interested in gaining a better understanding of music therapy through evaluations with participants, consumers, other disciplines, and registered music therapists. We are excited to bring you 5 excellent articles authored by experienced and emerging researchers. 

        The mechanisms of referral to music therapy has a large impact on the success of our practices. Cherry Hense surveys clinicians working in youth mental health to explore how their perceptions of music therapy influence referral decisions. She explains the gatekeeper role of other clinicians and suggests strategies including promotion of strength-based approaches to music therapy in alignment with recovery models, and supporting other clinicians to engage young people in discussions about music. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has also had a significant impact on community-based referrals to music therapy in the disability sector. Juyoung Lee, Kate Teggelove, Jeanette Tamplin, Grace Thompson, Melissa Murphy and Katrina McFerran examine perceived access to music therapy in interviews with NDIS employees, NDIS consumers, and RMTs. Findings indicate considerable confusion impacting access to music therapy among all interested parties. The authors recommend that RMTs take more responsibility for educating NDIS staff and consumers about music therapy. These articles will be of particular interest to RMTs wishing to gain a better of understanding of how our services are perceived by others.

       We welcome articles from two recent Masters of Music Therapy graduates, Tom McGrath and Napak Pakdeesatitwara. Tom joins forces with Dr Grace Thompson to report on findings from a survey exploring differences in experiences between Masters of Music Therapy students learning via the on campus and blended learning modes. Results suggest that professional identity formation is comparable across the different student cohorts. These findings are encouraging given the recent growth and interest for blended learning in Australia and internationally. Napak and Dr Jeanette Tamplin report on results from an international survey examining the scope of music therapy in neurorehabilitation contexts. The survey suggests that many music therapists are informed by Neurologic Music Therapy approaches, and that they draw on these in interdisciplinary therapy for diverse populations. It is interesting to read about preferences for singing-based methods. I am sure you will enjoy reading these contributions to music therapy research. 

      Finally, Tanya Silveira, Jeanette Tamplin, Simon Dorsch and Anna Barlow describe a retrospective case study with a 74-year old retired pianist who was admitted for rehabilitation following stroke. A collaboration between music therapy and occupational therapy resulted in therapy involving the use of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) in combination with an iPad app, ThumbJam, to support upper limb rehabilitation. The promising findings from this case study have motivated Tanya to explore ThumbJam and FES for upper limb rehabilitation in her PhD studies. We look forward to reading further results from this innovative research. 

     This year, we introduced “AJMT Advanced Online Articles”, a repository for publishing our very latest articles ahead of full indexing. We hope that readers and authors have enjoyed this new service. My sincere thanks to Dr. Kate Williams (Associate Editor) and Dr. Elizabeth McLean (Copy Editor) for your continued service and support. We are pleased to bring you this bumper AJMT Edition – please enjoy! 

Dr. Imogen Clark

Editor, AJMT