Disability Connect – Support Group Meeting 24th May – Invite NZ Registered Music Therapist from Raukatauri Music Therapy CentrePosted on: Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Wonderful opportunity for parents to hear from a NZ Registered Music Therapist from Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre, one of our corporate members, about how music therapy can support children and adults loving with disabilities.”Disability Connect is delighted to announce the Parents’ Support group meeting in May 2018.

This month they have invited ‘Russell Scoones’, Music Therapist and Clinical Team Leader from Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre to talk about how Music Therapy can support a person with a disability.

The ability to respond to sound and music is an inborn quality in all human beings. Pulse and rhythm are found in the heartbeat, in breathing and movement. Pitch and rhythm give the voice expressive and communicative qualities. Music therapy can help children and adults with a wide range of special needs, including those needing support with physical, intellectual, behavioural, developmental, and emotional issues.

Through music therapy, people of all ages are able to make huge gains, such as:

improving motor skills and speech growing their self-confidence and self-awareness strengthening social skills Improving memory, behaviour, and concentration 

Russell will talk about what happens in music therapy sessions and how each person experiences music improvised uniquely with and for them, and how it may help develop new skills that can be transferred to other aspects of life and create new possibilities for participation in the world.

Thursday 24th May 2018 – 5.30pm till 8pm, Whanau Room, Mt Richmond School,30 Albion Road, Otahuhu, Auckland, Free entry and free parking, Complimentary light supper included

Disabilities Connect main aim in hosting these parents’ meetings is to encourage and enable building a supportive community. We welcome children, provided they are supervised by a family member.

Please note there is a charge of $50.00 for professionals who wish to attend this meeting.

For catering purposes it is important to register your interest. Please email Disability Connect (, phone 09 636 0351 or text Asoka at 027 457 8571 or email ( to book.

(In keeping with their ethos of working inclusively and cross-culturally with an ethnically diverse community, we are inviting all families caring for a person with a disability to attend this meeting).

News, Upcoming Events

Attachment in Clinical PracticePosted on: Monday, 14 May 2018

Wallin flyer

News, Upcoming Events

Music Therapy/Speech Pathology collaboration webinar (recorded/live) – 25th MayPosted on: Monday, 16 April 2018

Music Therapy/Speech Pathology collaboration webinar (recorded/live) – 25th May

Apexability are presenting a webinar from Brisbane and want to let New Zealand Music Therapists know.

Feel free to contact to register by end of April for earlybird discount.—Music—SLT.html

Claire Bolton van Weert

B.Sp.Path.(Hons) MSPAA CPSP, Cert. MRCSLT, MASLTIP, JP(Qual. Australia), Cert IV Life Coaching, Churchill Fellow of 2012

Managing Director/Speech & Language Therapist / Speech Pathologist / Life Coach

Apex Ability Limited

Ph: +44 (0) 7788 783 174        Email:   


CBR Neurological Choirs Workshop, in collaboration with MThNZPosted on: Thursday, 22 March 2018

This exciting gathering at the University of Auckland’s Centre for Brain Research (CBR) planned in response to the growing number of choirs, singing groups and music therapy approaches for people living with a neurological condition. The CBR Music Therapy Week Neurological Choirs Workshop, in collaboration with MThNZ, was hosted by Professor Suzanne Purdy (Head of Speech Science at the University of Auckland, and the lead researcher with the CeleBRation Choir) , and Alison Talmage RMTh and previously Shari Storie RMTh who lead the Choir. Participants included music therapists, speech-language therapists, community musicians and students, from Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Palmerston North, the Wairarapa, Wellington, Dunedin… and a surprise guest was Stefano Bonnini, a statistician from the University of Ferrara, Italy, who was presenting a seminar at the University of Auckland.

The workshop incorporated both theoretical and experiential sessions, focusing on both musical approaches and information sharing about selected neurological conditions. Shari initiated an introductory session, inviting people to introduce themselves musically – while not wanting to put anyone on the spot, we acknowledged that this caused some anxiety, an experience shared by many people joining a choir or music therapy group for the first time. Alison gave a brief introduction to “neurological choirs” in New Zealand and acknowledged the overlapping interests of music therapists, speech-language therapists, musicians and community groups. Dr Clare McCann, Senior Lecturer in Speech Science, gave a presentation about aphasia and other communication difficulties arising from stroke. An overview of Parkinson’s disease was presented by Robin Matthews, Speech-Language Therapist for the Bay of Plenty District Health Board and founder of the Brainwave Singers, Tauranga. Robin is currently completing his PhD, focusing on the benefits of singing for people with Parkinson’s. Megan Berentson-Glass joined Alison to co-facilitate an experiential session, focusing on warm-ups, song choice, songleading, and balancing individual and group strengths, interests and needs. In the afternoon, participants joined the CeleBRation Choir for their regular weekly session, and several took the opportunity to lead a song.

The workshop was jointly funded by the University of Auckland, a modest registration fee, and a MThNZ Judith Clark grant towards travel expenses for some of our presenters. Feedback from both the choir members and the workshop participants was unanimously enthusiastic. Our next step is the more formal establishment of our network, with plans for a social media closed group to offer peer support. We invite others interested in this area to contact us. Selma Blazey, a MThNZ Friend member from the Bay of Plenty, also recommended that people with an interest in this field join MThNZ – membership information is available from

Research update

This year we have a Psychology Honours student, Jordyn Thompson, undertaking a research project that builds on last year’s investigation of choir experiences and quality of life for participants in two choirs for people living with a neurological condition. Jordyn’s work includes a survey of a purposive sample of community choir participants, to help us compare group data from these two groups. International research strongly supports singing for wellbeing, for the general population, and it will be good to have some New Zealand data. If you are interested in knowing more about this research, please email

The CeleBRation Choir is a social singing group for people living with neurological conditions, an initiative of the University of Auckland’s Centre for Brain Research. For further information, see:, and please “like” our Facebook page:

Alison Talmage and Shari Storie



MThNZ Chair Report March 2018Posted on: Wednesday, 21 March 2018

As acknowledged in my November report, I would like to reiterate my thanks to all Council members for their ongoing support and the significant workload that they collectively continue to achieve on behalf of the membership. A special thank you also to Jenny who left the administrators role last week. She came into the then 15 hours a week position at the end of June last year. As a result of our review of the administration position in the interim, we have identified that the workload actually requires 25 hours per week. Knowing that 15 hours was an upper limit for Jenny in addition to her other commitments, we offered to look at employing another part time person to take up the additional time. However, Jenny has decided to not continue, and we appreciate her assistance in transitioning Lisa Stanley into the role over the last week and will miss her positive disposition and professionalism. A special thank you to Kerry too who has expediated recruiting Lisa on a temporary three month assignment through his connections with Consult Accounting & Finance Recruitment. She has a wealth of management, administrative and accounting experience that has involved working with a wide range of people.


Under the umbrella of the Communications portfolio, Shari continues to facilitate the Digital Communication Strategy Review working group with a focus on website and forum development, and as you will know from her recent email, she is currently involved in meeting with potential website designers with the view of launching a new website during the October Music Therapy Week. She has also invited members to signal their interest or that of others, in contributing to a newly established Marketing working group.  Alison Talmage’s valuable work as Editor of the NZ Journal of Music Therapy is evident in the latest edition, and we thank everyone for their feedback via the journal survey and especially Shari who has also provided assistance with this.


In addition to meeting potential website designers with Shari, guiding Lisa into the financial and operational processes of the administration position, and coordinating the Finance portfolio, Kerry continues to provide an enormous amount of expertise and support to MThNZ as an organisation. Heather Fletcher will also be reconvening the Professional Standards of Practice working group soon so please watch out for an email inviting members to be part of this, and please contact Lisa if you would like to be involved in some way in any other area that matches your interests and expertise. Your views are important to us, as in aiming to meet the needs of members, we need your input to everything we do. Megan will also be making contact, with those previously involved in the Health Special Interest Group (SIG:H) to call for nominations for a new coordinator, as Alison Talmage has stepped back from this role to focus on other things. We thank Alison for her time and contributions in establishing and co-ordinating this group.


With at least two vacant positions and the aim of strengthening Council with appropriate skill sets and spreading the workload, we need to add further balance and expertise with communication, marketing, public relations, business and accounting capabilities on the Council. As part of the AGM, Council elections will be held on 1st September 2018 in Auckland. Please forward to me (Linda: ) any suggestions you have by considering client, family and friend connections who may have any one, or a combination of these skills. As our most recent graduate on Council, Nolan Hodgson will also be encouraging new graduates to consider becoming a Council member.


As previously signalled, our current strategic plan expires this year and leading on from our November workshop session, the Council has refined the wording of our purpose, mission and values statements. Prior to doing this, it was a pleasure and privilege to meet with President Emeriti Morva Croxson and Daphne Rickson, and previous Council Member and Journal Editor Barbara Mabbett in late January to gather their perspectives and feedback too, concerning the wording. At the Council’s meeting in February it was agreed that the new strategic plan would cover 3 years (2019 – 2021), and the agreed wording to date is as follows:


Purpose:  ‘To champion potential and well-being through the professional use of music Therapy’

Mission:    MThNZ is a membership organisation that advocates the employment of NZ registered Music Therapists (NZRMTh) and governs their ethical standards and practice in working to enhance Hauora and Waiora of the people of Aotearoa New Zealand


  1. Ora (hauora and waiora)–Promoting and working towards sustainability and balanced overall well-being,
  2. Reciprocity / Whanaungatanga – Fostering relationships that are connected, reciprocal and inclusive
  3. Creativity / Awhatanga – Celebrate our diversity, passion, spark and vitality
  4. Professionalism / Te Taumata –  Supporting and advocating for the highest quality evidenced based ethical practise with integrity and confidence


If you have any comments about this wording, please share your feedback with Linda –


At our February and follow up online March 2018 Council meetings, the following was also discussed and maybe of interest to you:

  •    On World Music Therapy Day 1st March, a video was released on our Facebook page that was voluntarily produced by Louise Pattison in conjunction with Megan, and as Shari has reported, it has had many hits!! Check it out if you haven’t seen it yet. A huge thank you to all who were involved in this highly successful project.
  • Due to previous success, Music Therapy Week will again take place, but the month will be October rather than July in 2018, from Saturday 20th – Sunday 28th October 2018 and in line with World Music Therapy Day the theme is to be ‘Spring into Music Therapy’
  •   16th World Congress of Music Therapy is to be held in South Africa, July 2020, dates and location still to be confirmed.


On behalf of the Council, we look forward to continuing to work with you as a member and welcome your feedback as we continue to progress MThNZ as the key support and advocate of Music Therapy practice in New Zealand Aotearoa.


Linda Webb

MThNZ Council Chair


Catching up with Singapore Music TherapistsPosted on: Friday, 16 March 2018

Catching up with Singapore Music Therapists

In the spirit of international collegiality, May Clulee caught up with Music Therapy colleagues in Singapore during her recent trip to see family. May was a founder member of the Association for Music Therapy Singapore (AMTS), which recently celebrated its 10th year. She was excited to hear about how the profession is growing in leaps and bounds and now has more than 30 professional members represented across the educational, health and community sectors. May also presented AMTS with the latest issue of the New Zealand Journal of Music Therapy, on behalf of editor Alison Talmage. Regrettably May wasn’t able to catch up with recent NZSM Music Therapy graduates Cheri Ang and Farina Riazini but wishes them all the best.

For more information about Music Therapy in Singapore visit

May with Singapore Music Therapists. (From left: Wang Feng Ng, Melanie Kwan, Wei Ming Loi, May Clulee)

May with Singapore Music Therapists. (From left: Wang Feng Ng, Melanie Kwan, Wei Ming Loi, May Clulee)


Sing Up RodneyPosted on: Friday, 16 March 2018


sing it up Rodney Sing Up Rodney ended 2017 with two Christmas parties and started 2018 with our first birthday celebration – a year of singing, friendship and fun. This community music therapy group, mainly for people living with a neurological condition, is modelled on the CeleBRation Choir and was established in response to a community demand. Many couples participate together, and we have the support of a wonderful volunteer team.

Rodney is the northernmost part of the Auckland supercity, and we also draw some participants from the North Shore and beyond. An exciting new development for 2018 is our expansion to Warkworth. We will continue with weekly sessions, usually in Silverdale, once a month in Warkworth – with an evaluation of the pros and cons for people attending one or both groups.

As reported last year, a Lindgren Award from Music Therapy NZ provided our seed. Our participants pay a small weekly contribution and we have succeeded in attracting other grants and donations, including the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board (Auckland Council), Hibiscus Community House, and the North Shore Presbyterian Hospital Trust. Thanks also to our volunteer treasurer, Kevin Farrell, our venues (Rotary House Silverdale and Warkworth Methodist Church), and delicious morning teas from our volunteer bakers and Mahurangi Rotary. We are also fortunate to have the active support of Paddy Sullivan (Parkinson’s Auckland), Lorna Crawford (Stroke Foundation), Emily Siermans and Jo Niblett (Dementia Auckland), Melinda Dakin (Aphasia Auckland), Ruth Farrell and Lisa Fowlie (Rodney Aphasia Group), and Linda Wall (Dementia carer support group, Warkworth).

I am moved and encouraged by our participants’ feedback – for example:


“14 years ago my husband Gordon was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. […] When your group Sing Up Rodney started I felt this would be good for him. Upon attending he has found new confidence, you have him singing and even learning new songs. You have with music therapy given him confidence to sing, and confidence with life outside the home. […] You conduct the group giving our people normality which is so important for them My husband sees the group as choir practice and not “therapy”. This in turn gives me as the carer more confidence (and confidence to sing). I also bring two other couples along, who also find Thursday so positive and stimulating that Thursday has become a day that has top most importance. We all leave feeling so positive and happy. Which unfortunately today for dementia sufferers and their carers does not happen often.”

(Linda and Gordon)



Alison Talmage

February 2018


Only Connect: Poems and Stories from New Zealand Music Therapy – Book Review by Caroline MillerPosted on: Friday, 16 March 2018

Only Connect: Poems and Stories from New Zealand Music Therapy

This book, edited by Claire Molyneux, was published in 2017, and many of you will have attended the Wellington or Auckland launches. As a contributing author, it was a great pleasure to be part of this project, and I congratulate Claire on dreaming up, collating and editing this volume of writing – and on attracting the interest of Jessica Kingsley Publishers, who will reprint the book in 2018. With my editor’s hat, I am pleased to bring you this review, by Caroline Miller, which will also be included in the 2018 issue of the NZ Journal of Music Therapy.

Book Review by Caroline Miller – download the full Review here

Connect Only


IHC LibraryPosted on: Friday, 16 March 2018

IHC Library News

May Clulee, MThNZ IHC Library Liaison

May Clulee, MThNZ IHC Library Liaison

Here is the IHC Library Factsheet, which I hope will pique your interest in accessing the IHC Library. Apart from holding the Music Therapy NZ collection, the library also has a wide range of very useful resources about intellectual disability and ASD, and it is all free. Do visit the library in person if you are in Wellington, go to their website, browse the collection and borrow an item. The library produces resource guides and are now in the process of developing one for MThNZ members.


The IHC Library Team

The IHC Library Team

They have also produced a YouTube video introducing the IHC library and library staff and explaining what they do.


The Excitement of Research and Study Leave!Posted on: Friday, 16 March 2018

The Excitement of Research and Study Leave! 

I am writing from Edinburgh Scotland, where I am ‘snowed in’, and ‘cut off from the rest of the world’ as a result of the ‘beast from the east’ striking these shores.  I am here as part of my research and study leave (RSL) from Victoria University of Wellington, which runs from December 2017 to June 2018.  This leave, also known as ‘sabbatical’, enables staff to work on research tasks away from the university.

Daphne Rickson (1)Mar-18    Daphne Rickson (2) Mar-18         Daphne Rickson (3) Mar-18

Being awarded RSL meant I could travel to London to attend and present at the British Association for Music Therapy conference.  This was, as anticipated, a rich event incorporating a full range of academic and practice papers, roundtables and workshops – and an appropriate level of collegial fun and frolicking. It was great to be joined by Sarah Hoskyns and Alison Talmage; I think some of the international community were amazed that three of us were there from New Zealand!  I felt enriched after the conference both by critical debate, and by examples of beautiful clinical work which reminded me just why we do what we do.  I particularly enjoyed working alongside colleagues – Sarah Hoskyns, Claire Molyneaux and Eleanor Richards at a roundtable to discuss and explore music therapists’ learning with and from indigenous practitioners about different worldviews of health. From the feedback we received, it seems as if the New Zealand music therapy community has a valuable contribution to make to this discussion.

Being awarded RSL meant I was also able to respond positively to an invitation to present a keynote address at the International Symposium of Music Therapy for Adults with Learning Disabilities to be held at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh on Friday 2nd March.  Unfortunately the weather has been so severe, that transport has been stopped, the university has been closed, and the symposium was unable to go ahead.  We are still considering how all the hard work that has been done can be utilised, perhaps by rescheduling and with some of us presenting online. This was a big disappointment but all is not lost! We got quite a lot of work (and socialising) in before the big snow, and hope to do more together before I leave Edinburgh at the end of the week.

I have enjoyed working with Philippa Derrington and Giorgos Tsiris, staff on the music therapy programme at QM. Giorgos and I have begun new research exploring therapeutic songwriting with young adults living with a life-limiting illness. The music therapy project facilitated by Jo Edgar, music therapist, was designed in response to the need for appropriate psychosocial care of young people as they transition from child to adult palliative care services, as well as to young adults’ own wish to continue accessing music after their discharge from children hospice services. The practice project is led by Nordoff Robbins Scotland (NRS) in collaboration with Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS). The young adults attend short-term (usually 8-week long) music therapy individual or group programmes and the focus is on technology-based therapeutic songwriting. The research that Giorgos and I have initiated will generate understanding of the practices, processes and meanings embedded within the practice; by exploring the songwriting process and use of technology, and the young adults’ experiences of participating in the project.

RSL is also about sharing expertise and learning from other programmes. My work in the UK for example, includes teaching two music therapy classes at Queen Margaret (involving mutual sharing of music examples situated in clinical work), and one at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London (on ecological practice and participatory action research). While in Edinburgh, I have also been able to hear Laurel Young (Associate Professor of music therapy at Concordia University, Canada) present at a Scottish Music Therapy Trust event on the importance of music for persons living with dementia. Laurel has a passion for ensuring that music therapists have access to research that can make a difference in their practice, and placed particular emphasis on the need for journals to publish good quality research.

During the period of my leave, I have also been working on two other projects that readers may already be aware of. One, which is due to finish in March is ‘Singing for Wellbeing’ which has involved action research with staff and learners Waitākiri School in Christchurch. Members of the Waitākiri community have been singing daily since their new school was formed in 2014 as a result of the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes. Our findings suggest that in addition to fight, flight or freeze responses to disaster, people also naturally ‘flock’ together to support each other. Singing is one of the few activities where people can flock together to experience feelings of connectivity and safety in large groups. When I finish my work in Edinburgh, after a brief period of annual leave in the UK, I will be travelling to Kumamoto University in Japan to share this work and to learn about music therapists’ response to the earthquake they experienced in 2014.

The other project I am continuing to work on is the Autism and Music Therapy project.  An important event in this project calendar was the workshop meeting of ten music therapists who will each be providing up to fifty sessions of music therapy to a child who has not had music therapy before.  The music therapists will provide case studies of their work, with informed consent from families, which will then be examined as research data.  It is very exciting to think that most of the dyads will have begun their work together already!

I have heard from family that New Zealand is continuing to experience warm weather!  While it feels weird for my husband and I to have been swimming in the sea a week before we left, and now to be enjoying our walks in the snow, but we do feel as if we are “just where we need to be”, for now.  I look forward to catching up with many of your on my return.

Daphne Rickson, March 2018