Posts Tagged ‘University of Limerick’

 and future direction, IWA, 24th November 2010

 and future direction,  was held at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance last week. The group consists of the Music Therapy faculty and Professor Jane Edward’s PhD students, this is how I found myself in the midst of the music therapy world. The ‘rivalry’ between community musicians and music therapists that I foolishly assumed was not as strong as ever and didn’t appear to have ever existed, a good start to a great gathering.

Organised by Alison Ledger who came to the Irish World Academy in 2005 to work as part of an HSE funded project using music therapy and art therapy to achieve the reduction of agitation for older people with dementia. She has made a significant contribution to the development of the music therapy programme in various teaching and research roles since, most recently as the HRB Research Fellow studying aspects of music therapists’ experiences of developing services in medical healthcare contexts.

Alison gave a very slick presentation on her used of Art-based research during her PhD. She gave the group examples of the poetry she had composed to reflect many of her findings from the field. This presentation helped me in these early stages of reading about this attractive form of research, I might be inspired to write some songs about my experiences and future findings.

Jane Edwards opened procedures just before Alison, she explained more about the group and music therapy as well as music and health. A very natural presenter, with plenty of experience.

Professor Jane Edwards Director, Music & Health Research Group -She is a qualified music therapist with expertise in a range of practice areas including parent-infant bonding, music therapy to promote health outcomes in mental health services, and music for stress management and relaxation.  She has edited a book for Oxford University Press, Music therapy in parent-infant bonding, to be launched in 2011. She is currently exploring the topic of music listening in everyday life through the Musli project.  Jane is the president of the International Association for Music & Medicine (  She regularly teaches and presents in other countries including in the past 12 months, Canada, the USA, Germany and Australia.  She leads the MA in Music Therapy in the Irish World Academy, and is the guest professor for music therapy at the University of the Arts in Berlin.

Our former colleague Dr. Simon Gilbertson was ‘skyped’ in from his new home in Bergen. How wonderful technology is, Simon was connected throughout and was able to see other presentations and present himself. Simon is the assistant director of the research group. In his presentation Simon spoke about what he is personally reading at the moment, casting his net afar relaying his current philosophical interests. The technology let this presentation down somewhat but an excellent first attempt nevertheless.

Dr. Simon Gilbertson is a music therapist and lecturer at the University of Bergen, Norway. Formally of the University of Limerick he has extensive experience in working with people affected by traumatic brain injury. Simon completed his doctoral research on music improvisation with people with traumatic brain injuries related to road traffic incidents in 2004 under the supervision of Professor David Aldridge.He has worked as a research assistant on a major literature review project led by Professor David Aldridge at the Chair of Qualitative Research in Medicine, University Witten Herdecke, Germany. Simon has worked as a music therapist at the new Nordoff-Robbins Centre, in Witten, Germany that was founded by Professor David Aldridge and Professor Lutz Neugebauer.Simon has presented his work internationally has been published in journals including the Australian Journal of Music Therapy, BMC Medical Research Methodology, Canadian Journal of Music Therapy, Musiktherapeutische Umschau (Journal of the German Association of Music Therapy), Journal of Music Therapy, and the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy.

Andrea Intveen made the long trip from Berlin, Germany to present her research last week. I had never met Andrea before this but had heard much about her and her interests and she did not disappoint. Her presentation was gripping, pointing out that

Anthroposophy is aiming to bridge the gap between the sciences, the arts and religion

Andrea explains as best she can in the short time allotted the complexities of Anthroposophical Music Therapy. Instruments associated with the area include the lyre and the Celtic crwth, all music in this area of therapy must be played live. Post seminar Andrea kindly explained further aspects such as what parts of the body are connected to elements of music. The head is connected to wind instruments, melody and thinking, the chest sensibly deals with feeling, harmony and stringed instruments and the limbs are said to be connected to rhythm and percussion. Complex, but very interesting   – complexity usually is, I find!

Andrea Intveen is a graduate of the MA in Music Therapy at the University of Limerick. After her graduation in 2002 she was the music skills tutor in the MA in Music Therapy in Limerick until 2006. At present she is a scientific assistant in the MA in Music Therapy programme at the Berlin University of the Arts. Her clinical experience includes work with children and adults with special needs, with clients in low awareness states and clients who are long-term unemployed. Her PhD research deals with the anthroposophical approach to music therapy.

Annemieke J.M van den Tol shares a research area with me, it is funny how you become more familiar with what those around you are researching rather then your own work. Her study is about ‘sad music’ and why and people listen to it. Very little research has been done in the area and Annemieke is now beginning to build momentum with results starting to ring through. I am looking forward to her genre based results to check myself out!

Annemieke J. M. van den Tol joined the Irish World Academy as a PhD student in 2009 to work with Prof. Jane Edwards. She had prior received education in both music and psychology, and has integrated these two approaches into a promising project investigating reasons why people listen to sad music and the subsequent psychological merits of this activity. Her research draws on self-regulatory findings and emphasizes the utilitarian benefits of music beyond music’s immediate hedonistic value.

Then it was my turn, I had bribed a fellow community musician and friend to come along for encouragement and to laugh at my nervous(bad and inappropriate) jokes and so he did, loyal as ever! I presented on Community Music in context rather then offering jaded definitions that perhaps would mis-represent the practice, the philosophy and pedagogies of community music. It is accepted that community music resists formal and traditional educational settings and usually can be found outside such parameters, this said the ‘welcome’ that Lee Higgins describes in his all-inspired ‘The Impossible Future’ can be extended to any setting whether it be formal or informal.

Julie Tiernan graduated from the Irish World Academy’s MA in Community Music in 2001, since then she has worked extensively as a community musician in Ireland and internationally. Most recently Julie was the course director of the Irish World Academy’s outreach and access based Certificate in Music and Dance funded and developed by the Nomad project. It was during this time that her interest in the world of Community Music and academia was re-ignited prompting her to pursue research in the field of Community Music in Ireland. Julie’s doctoral research at the IWAMD in the University of Limerick is under the supervision of Professor Jane Edwards.

Jason Noone treated us an excellent presentation on his work with a local group. Jason is a music therapist and specialises is group and individual music making in disability. Using technology Jason has enjoyed much success with his group, launching a community radio station run for and by the participants. This work is a classic example of music therapists working as community musicians, these crossovers are to be celebrated and discussed. Jason enjoys readings from community music therapists and I have urged him to come to Greece in 2012 and share his thoughts and findings with us.

Jason Noone is a graduate of the MA in Music Therapy at UL and has a background in psychology and special education. In his therapeutic work with children and adults with developmental disabilities he has explored the use of mainstream music technologies to facilitate clients’ access to music making and to offer meaningful music experiences. He is currently working to develop a new module for the MA Music Therapy programme on the use of technology for music therapy.

A hard slot – the final one, was handled very well by Tíona McCaffrey. A very good presenter, very engaged and interactive. Tríona presented findings of a project that she has been working on as a music therapist in Co.Mayo. I felt she didn’t have enough time, I would have liked to have heard more.

Tríona McCaffrey is a graduate of the MA in Music Therapy Programme at the Irish World Academy and has worked as a music therapy practitioner in mental health for four years having established a full-time position in Mayo Mental Health Services. She has worked in the areas of Recovery, community mental health and Psychiatry of Old Age and is particularly interested in service users’ experiences of mental health services in Ireland. Tríona currently lectures on the MA in Music Therapy programme at the Academy.

Afterward we met in an on-campus bar for a social drink and got to know one another beyond our individual presentations, a very important aspect of any research group. I look forward to working with and sharing/exchanging ideas with the rest of the group.

Alison asked a very thought provoking question about what the group can bring to me and my research, it was a good question and I have been thinking about it since. The expertise that Jane can offer me are second to none, this is my main reason for being in UL and by default becoming part of the group. Hearing others educates me, naturally, as mentioned earlier, for example, regarding arts-based practice. All this said I feel this a a great opportunity for me to invite the worlds of community music and music therapy to come together through discussion and research.