The 2nd World Conference of the International Association for Music & Medicine

in Bangkok, Thailand, July, 3rd-6th, 2012

Mahavajiravudh Building, Chulalongkorn University
Photo of the Mahavajiravudh Building, Chulalongkorn University. Taken from Wikimedia Commons.

The Power of Music in Medicine and Health Care was the leading theme of the second International Conference of Music & Medicine, held in Thailand, July 3-6, 2012. A dedicated group of members and associates of the International Association for Music & Medicine (IAMM) worked tirelessly to ensure a superb experience for every delegate. With 3 enticing keynote addresses, and more than 40 papers from presenters traveling from 18 countries of the globe, it was an exciting event for intercultural learning, and inter-professional networking.

Read on to learn about the highlights from IAMM2012!


Prominent experts presented the latest research results in music and medicine.


Poonpit Amatayakul

Our first keynote on the opening evening by Professor Emeritus Poonpit Amatayakul from Thailand gave us a delightful overview of developments in treatment through sound of children with hearing impairment. Photos of giant ceremonial drums were a highlight, and the idea of using recordings of the low frequency sounds made by these drums were novel in their time, paving the way for research and practice interventions that have continued to show how music and medicine can be used together to develop treatment approaches.

Erika Sato MD, MA, Japan

Dave Willis & Dave Tongs


Dave Tongs and Dave Willis prepared a keynote about their work with children in cancer treatment which was delivered by Dave Tongs. The presentation was a highlight of the conference bringing into view the way in which compassionate clinicians can use music sensitively to support children and families in life threatening situations. The commitment of the presenters to this work, and their personal sacrifice of time and effort is so worthy and commendable.


Helen Shoemark

Dr. Helen Shoemark presented a keynote on her internationally acclaimed work with babies receiving medical care in a hospital. Her research shows the level of engagement possible by parents, even those who say ‘I can’t sing’, and the inspiring outcomes when music therapy is used to support parents to read and understand their baby’s communication cues.

The Power of Music in Medicine and Health Care

The broad range of papers presented at IAMM2012 reflects the diversity of practices and approaches when music is applied for the benefit of infants, children, adults, parents, caregivers, and staff in health care worldwide.

The Use of Music for the Alleviation of Suffering in Cancer and Palliative Care

Annette Baron, Clare O’Callaghan, Philippa Barry, and Beth Dun are the members of an Australian music therapy research team, who have conducted research on the experiences of parents, children, and therapists when providing and/or receiving music-based care in pediatric oncology. Their paper shows how music therapy research can capture and evaluate multiple user and practitioner perspectives. Stephane Guetin and colleagues presented findings of an RCT they conducted on the effects of a music intervention on chronic pain. Maya Charlton (United States) described her work in Pediatric Palliative Care, and Mayra Hugo (Uruguay) demonstrated how music can be an effective support for children with cancer through their journey. John Mondanaro, Andrew Rossetti, Bernardo Canga, Natalia Garrido, and Jillian Hicks from the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City presented examples with Joanne Loewy about how music and medicine can be effective partners for supporting newly diagnosed patients with cancer undergoing radiation and/or chemotherapy.


Cultural Aspects of Music in Therapy and Medicine

Our meeting in Thailand with delegates and speakers from throughout the world provided an excellent opportunity to explore the cultural aspects within the music and medicine field. Sumathy Sundar (India) and Gerhard Tucek (Austria) have collaborated to study the Eastern traditional chakra energy and have combined this with an examination of heart rate variability in music therapy students. Colleagues working in India and Nepal, Lucanne Magill, Somesh Purey, Kedar Gandhari, and Margaret Lobo, reported on the ways that music therapy is used in oncology and palliative care contexts in India. Dena Register is an assistant professor of music therapy and music education at the University of Kansas, Kansas. She presented her findings about client responses to musical selections from varying cultural traditions during music therapy sessions.

Music in Medical Settings

Colleagues from Thailand informed delegates about the way that music is used in medical and other health-related settings in their country. Patravoot Vatanasapt is an otolaryngologist specialized in head and neck surgery. He graduated from Khon Kaen University, obtained otolaryngology training at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, and was awarded an MSc in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard. He is a founding member of IAMM and is the current secretary. Together with Benjamas Prathanee, MD, they demonstrated the uses of music for postlaryngectomy patients in Khon Kaen, Thailand.

Visit to Hospital 3

Read More in the MMD Journal

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7th International Conference of the IAMM

The 7th International Conference of the IAMM was held May 28 - 29, 2022 in Athens, Greece. Meetings and presentations from Greek and international invited speakers took place in person and through live streaming May 28 - 29, 2022. Additionally, a week of online-only presentations took place May 30 to June 3, 2022.

Athens is one of the world's oldest cities, offering centuries-old history to be explored and enjoyed. According to Plato, one of the first schools of music education was founded by the people of Crete followed by the musical schools of Athens, where students were taught to sing and play the lyre.

 All conference events were recorded and are available for registrants for 2 years. 

Photo by <a href="">Patrick</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>