Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

In 2019, for the first time, Special Interest Groups (SIGs) were selected by an IAMM review committee for inclusion at the following IAMM conference. Each leader was charged with assembling topic experts from different disciplines and continents. These groups met virtually throughout the year to develop outcomes that included research proposals, educational programs, white papers, and clinical practice guidelines.

As well as being active for the IAMM 2020 Conference, SIGs are also planned to be active for forward to future IAMM Conferences. Please find below, a list of SIG's present for each Conference and have a read about their content.

IAMM 2022 Conference SIGs

Music Therapy and Music-Based Interventions for Movement Disorders

Led by: Alexander Pantelyat, Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Music and Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Participants: Dr. Monique van Bruggen Rufi, PhD, Soo JI Kim, Ph.D., MT-BC, KCMT, Kyurim Kang, Ph.D., LPMT, MT-BC, NMT, Kerry Devlin, MMT, LPMT, MT-BC, Brian Harris, MA, MT-BC, NMT-F, & Dr. Alfredo Raglio, PhD


About this SIG:

This Special Interest Group (SIG) built on its IAMM 2020 experience and focus on updates music therapy and other music and rhythm-based interventions for movement disorders--a field that had moved forward rapidly in the past several years. The SIG synthesized evidence from clinical studies on rhythmic auditory stimulation, therapeutic music performance, singing and dance for PD, and other types of neurologic music therapy and music medicine. The SIG developed a plenary session on this topic at the 2022 IAMM conference that included multidisciplinary participation from international leaders in the field of neurologic music therapy and researchers on music and rhythm-based interventions. The expected outcome of this SIG was the creation of a white paper, based on up-to-date evidence from existing studies coupled with expert opinion from leaders in the field.

Evidence Based Practices for Telehealth Music and Psychotherapy Services

Led by: Dr. Amy Clements-Cortes

Participants: Amy Clements-Cortes, Marija Pranjić, Melissa Mercadal-Brotons: , Rebecca Vaudreuil, Barbara Sgobbi, Allison Fuller, David Knott


About this SIG:

The focus of this SIG was to look at the emerging and developing evidence and research on telehealth music therapy with persons across the lifespan both in individual and group therapy, as well as participating in telehealth from varied locations (home, hospital, long-term care, group home etc). SIG members represented music therapists working: with a specific demographic, with various diagnoses, and / or within a specific clinical approach (i.e. NMT, The Bonny Method).

Music and Intercultural Neurodiversity (MINd) SIG

Led by: Prof. Michael Bakan, Prof. Niyati Dhokai and Jennifer Msumba

Participants: Matthew Cravener, Jennifer Msumba, Matt Savage, Jim Schwartz (they/them), Shiv Sharma, Daniel and Ken Trush


About this SIG:

For its IAMM debut at the 2022 conference, IAMM’s new Music and Intercultural Diversity (MINd) SIG offered an enlightening 90-minute online roundtable featuring presentations by six exceptional neurodivergent musicians, followed by open discussion and audience Q&A. The roundtable, titled “Speaking for Ourselves: Neurodivergent Perspectives on Music and Neurodiversity,” was moderated by two of the SIG’s three co-chairs, Michael Bakan (Professor of Ethnomusicology at Florida State University and author of the 2021 Oxford University Press book Music & Autism: Speaking for Ourselves) and Niyati Dhokai (Research Associate Professor at George Mason University and Program Director for the Veterans and the Arts Initiative at GMU’s Hylton Performing Arts Center). MINd’s third co-chair, Jennifer Msumba, was one of the six presenters.

Community Music Pedagogies and Engagements in Healthcare: Education and Advocacy

Led by: Joyce Yip, MA, HBSc

Participants: Suk Young Hong, MSc, BA(Hons), Amy Clements-Cortés, PhD, RP, MTA, MT-BC, FAMI, Sasha Judelson, MA, Kaela Lawrence, HBA, Mariah Story, MTA, BMT, Lindsay Sullivan, MA, BSW, Joyce Yip, MA, HBSc


About this SIG:

This SIG provided an overview of the field of community music pedagogies in healthcare through a curriculum design. Community music is broadly defined as the approach to music making or musicking that aim to deinstitutionalize the existing hierarchies of learning towards an inclusive, non-formal environment that fosters hospitality, cultural diversity, and creative freedom. It offered a resource for facilitators to engage in community music practices in healthcare as part of their work and/or professional development, such as foundations and case studies by our presenters.

Global Perspectives on Assessments in Music Therapy Practice

Led by: Camila F. Pfeiffer, MA/MT-BA, Lic., NMT-fellow

Participants: Camila F. Pfeiffer, MA/MT-BA, Lic., NMT-fellow, Gray Baldwin, MA, MT-BC, Gustavo Schulz Gattino, PhD, Orii McDermott, PhD, Thomas Bergmann, PhD, Eric G. Waldon, Ph.D., MT-BC, Wendy L. Magee, PhD


About this SIG:

The SIG on Global Perspectives on Music Therapy Assessments offered a comprehensive overview on a variety of standardized and non-standardized music based assessments utilized around the globe for developed for different client populations. The focus of this group lied on the specific role of music as a means to identify, observe, understand, and make meaning of the needs and potentials of individuals. We will communicate how these observations contribute to clinical diagnoses; interdisciplinary treatment; to guide therapeutic goals, and clinical decisions; to identify changes occurring in therapy over time, and to provide guidelines to communicate about music therapy to other professional fields.

Furthermore, the cultural adequacy of music therapy assessment procedures, as well as cultural context, in which they are administered were a central focus of this SIG group. This SIG group offered perspectives on Music Therapy Assessment drawing from their expansive, diverse, and international clinical, pedagogical, research and theoretical experiences and perspectives, as the diversity of philosophical foundations of music therapy practice are displayed in assessments, as well.

The Arts Continuum for Resilience-Building Across the Trauma Spectrum

Led by: Rebecca Vaudreuil, EdM, MT-BC, MSW Candidate

Participants: Rebecca Vaudreuil, EdM, MT-BC, MSW Candidate, SIG Co-Lead, Chief Warrant Officer Two Jonathan Crane, Capt. Moira G. McGuire, Mark Ettenberger, PhD, MA, MT, SIG Co-Lead, Technical Sergeant Craig Larimer, Diane G. Langston, MM, MT-BC, L. Samuel Gracida, MA, MT, Karen Wacks, LMHC, EdM, MT-BC


About this SIG:

This SIG was a network of experts including medical professionals, music therapists, researchers, musicians, military personnel, and civilians who work with traumatized individuals and populations around the world and across a clinic-to-community continuum of music engagement.

They share international perspectives of various applications of music including music therapy interventions and music-based experiences, music education and learning, and recreational music engagement to address trauma through professional facilitation, interactive and experiential learning, and performance informed by scholarly literature.

Music Therapy and Chronic Pain

Participants: Dr Hilary Moss, Katie Fitzpatrick, Caroline Hussey, Prof Joanne Lowey, Dr. Suzanne Hanser EdD. MT-BC, Patricia O’Shea, Prof Joke Bradt, Dr Stéphane Guétin, Amy Clements-Cortes, PhD, RP, MTA, MT-BC, FAMI, Prof Dominic Harmon, John Corcoran


About this SIG:

This Special Interest Group (SIG) on the use of music and music therapy for chronic pain was established through International Association of Music Medicine in 2021. It was set up following discussions between Dr Hilary Moss and PhD researcher Katie Fitzpatrick at the University of Limerick, in consultation with advocacy organisation Chronic Pain Ireland, and international researchers working in the area.

The focus of this group was to explore and communicate current research on how music and music therapy can assist people living with chronic pain to improve health and well-being. This SIG brings together researchers, clinicians, and people living with chronic pain from the USA, Canada, Ireland, France, and Scotland. The group met to share current research and issues in the field, to discuss theoretical and methodological issues to be addressed in future studies, and to summarize our collective thoughts in relation to the priority questions for future chronic pain and music therapy research. 

Key values of the group are:

  • Involving service users and other clinicians in every aspect of the SIG
  • An openness to quantitative and qualitative research methods, especially exploring how creativity and arts based research methods can illuminate the experience of chronic pain alongside more traditional mixed method research in this area and
  • Producing practical, helpful recommendations for practice, for both music therapists working in this field and for people living with chronic pain.

Music Therapy in the Context of Dementia: Advocating for its Recognition

Led by: Dr. Melissa Mercadal-Brotons, PhD, MT-BC, SMTAE

Participants: Dr. Melissa Mercadal-Brotons, PhD, MT-BC, SMTAE, Dr. Tereza Raquel Alcântara-Silva, MT (Brazil), Dr. Amy Clements Cortés, PhD, RP, MT-BC, MTA (Canada), Dr. Ayelet Dassa, MT, Dr. Suzanne Hanser EdD, MT-BC, Dr. Kendra Ray, PhD, MBA, MPH, Dr. Concetta M. Tomaino, DA, LCAT, MT-BC, Dr. Shirlene Vianna Moreira (Brazil), MT, MSc, PhD


About this SIG:

After a year and a half of diligent and productive work, the work of the members of the IAMM Special Interest Group, “Music therapy in the context of dementia: People with dementia and their caregivers,” had culminated in the publication of six papers in a special issue of the Music and Medicine Journal. These papers reflected the different topics that were identified by the group members as important to research and discussion during the 18-month period, incorporating the latest research in the foundations and applications of music-based interventions and music therapy in the context of dementia. The group is interested in continuing its work since its members have come to the conclusion that there is enough scientific evidence to support and advocate for the different forms of music intervention that can be part of these people’s lives, as well as their caregivers.

This Special Interest Group would like to continue their work towards the drafting of a position (white) paper to influence government agencies and authorities of the importance to include music therapy in ¬insurance covered care plans for people with dementia. This position paper could be adapted to different cultural and political realities so that it helps music therapists from around the globe to become part of the professional staff in care homes for people with dementia. In some countries, this is already a reality. This position paper could also help in getting other organizations that support music and/or the arts, caregiver groups, advocacy agencies, and professional associations representing people with dementia, to join in the efforts to have music be part of these people’s lives, thus contributing to their wellbeing and a better quality of life.

IAMM 2020 Conference SIGs

NICU Music Therapy Updates from Global Experts

Led By:Joanne Loewy DA, LCAT, MT-BC & Mark Ettenberger PhD, MT

Participants: Anne-Greet Ravensbergen MA, MT, Julie Mangersnes MA, MT & Tora Söderström PhD cand, Alexandra Ullsten PhD, MT, Taru Koivisto PhD cand, Friederike Haslbeck PhD, Monika Nöcker-Ribaupierre PhD, Barbara Sgobbi Dott. ssa, Elizabeth Coombes MA, FHEA, FAMI, BMus, Karen Morrison MT, Dana Yakobson PhD cand, Cochavit Elefant PhD, MT & Shmuel Arnon MD, Cindy Lai PhD cand & YaYa Ng MD, Rieko Eguchi MA, LCAT, MT-BC, Helen Shoemark PhD, RMT & Verena Clemencic-Jones RMT, Marcela Lichtensztejn MA, MT-BC, Mark Ettenberger PhD, MT, Joanne Loewy DA, LCAT, MT-BC & Aimee Telsey MD


About this SIG:

NICU music therapists and neonatologists from Australia, Netherlands, Wales, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Taiwan, Japan, United Kingdom, Israel, Argentina, Colombia and the United States presented their work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, with a focus on the unique aspects of their programs; measuring impact; growth/funding/sustainability; and research.

Topics included: advantages/disadvantages of open bay, smaller rooms, individual rooms; and defining the stakeholders in decision-making. The panelists are at different stages of their work, and will share what they have learned, highlights and critical factors, while continuing to build clinical practice and new research aims.

Survivors of Trauma: The use of Music for Resilience-Building and Healing in Areas of Armed Conflict

Led By:Rebecca Vaudreuil, EdM, MT-BC, Lead Music Therapist, Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network

Participants: Chief Warrant Officer Two, Jonathan L. Crane, Mark Ettenberger, PhD, MA, MT, Sunil Iyengar, Danielle Kalseth MM, MT-BC, SSgt Craig Larimer, Diane Langston MM, MT-BC, CAPT Moira McGuire, Professor Karen Wacks, M.Ed, LMHC, MT-BC, MA


About this SIG:

This SIG is comprised of a network of experts including physicians, music therapists, researchers, musicians, military personnel, and civilians from around the world who work with traumatized individuals and populations across a clinic-to-community continuum in areas of conflict. They shared international perspectives of various applications of music for trauma and share professional experiences through interactive and experiential learning.

Music Therapy and Music-Based Interventions for Movement Disorders

Led By: Alexander Pantelyat, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Music and Medicine (USA)

Participants: Olie Westheimer, MA, Elizabeth Stegemoller, MT-BC, PhD, Alfredo Raglio, MA (Music and Music Therapy), PhD, Brian Harris, MA, MT-BC, NMT/F, Kerry Devlin, MMT, MT-BC

About this SIG:

This Special Interest Group (SIG) focused on music therapy and other music and rhythm-based interventions for movement disorders. There was a particular emphasis on published studies in Parkinson disease (PD). The SIG presented evidence from clinical studies on rhythmic auditory stimulation, therapeutic music performance, singing and dance for PD, and other types of neurologic music therapy and music medicine approaches. The SIG included multidisciplinary participation from leaders in the field of neurologic music therapy and researchers on music and rhythm-based interventions. The expected outcome of this SIG was the creation of a published white paper summarizing the SIG presentations and highlighting areas for future work.

Music Therapy and Medical Assistance in Dying

Led By: Sarahrose Black, PHD, RP, MTA

Participants: Taylor Kurta, BMT, MA, MTA, Amy Clements-Cortes, PhD, RP, MTA, MT-BC,Joanne Loewy, DA, LCAT, MT-BC,Elizabeth Mitchell, PhD, RP, MTA, Jessica Lam, RN, BScN, CON, Angela Wibben, MM, MT-BC Lee Bartel, PhD, Melissa Jessop, MMT, RP, MTA,Madeline Li, MD PhD FRCP, Adrienne Pringle, MMT, RP, MTA, Kiki Chang, MA, M.Ed., RP, MTA, Karie Rippin Bilger, BMT, MSW, RP, MTA, Sarah Pearson, MMT, RP, MTA


About this SIG:

This Special Interest Group explored the clinical role of music therapy within the context of medical assistance in dying. Panelists discussed the revision process of clinical guidelines that were originally created in 2017, and have since been revisited and revised based on evidence-based methodology. The panel consisted of a cohort of diverse professionals with varying expertise in music therapy and/or assisted dying. They explored ethical, educational, and practical implications of these guidelines.

Music Therapy for People with Dementia and their Caregivers

Led By: Melissa Mercadal-Brotons, PhD, Academic Director and Director, Master Program in Music Therapy, Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya

Participants: Tereza Raquel Alcântara-Silva, PhD (Brazil), Amy Clements Cortés, PhD, RP, MT-BC, MTA (Canada), Assistant Professor, Ayelet Dassa, PhD (Israel), Suzanne Hanser, EdD, MT-BC (Boston, USA), Shirlene Vianna Moreira, PhD (Brazil), Kendra Ray, PhD, MBA, MPH (New York, USA), Concetta M. Tomaino, DA, LCAT, MT-BC (New York, USA)


About this SIG:

This Special Interest Group presented the year-long work of experts around the world who gathered to prepare clinical guidelines for professionals, including physicians, nurses and allied health professionals on implementation of music experiences and referral of individuals with dementia to music therapy. Topics included: types of dementias, domains affected by dementia, music therapy and music-based interventions for people with dementia according to scientific evidence, and steps toward the preparation of the best practice guidelines.

Relationship Completion in Palliative Care Music Therapy: Evidence & Potential

Led By: Amy Clements-Cortés, PhD, RP, MT-BC, MTA, Assistant Professor, Music and Health Sciences, University of Toronto, Instructor & Supervisor, Wilfrid Laurier University, Music Therapist, Registered Psychotherapist, Canada

Participants: Amy Clements-Cortes PhD, RP, MT-BC, MTA, Joyce Yip, MA, Sarah Rose Black, PhD, RP, MTA, Elizabeth Derrick, MT-BC, Nuria Escudé, Lucy Forrest, MMUS, RMT, Bev Foster, MA, BEd, BMus, AMus, ARCT, Sara Klink, MMT, RP, MTA, Joanne Loewy, DA, LCAT, MT-BC, John Mondanaro, PhD, LCAT, MT-BC, CCLS, Chrissy Pearson, RP, MTA, Marija Pranjic, MA, MMus, NMT, Rafael Ramírez, PhD, Brian Schreck, MA, MT-BC, Giorgos Tsiris, PhD


About this SIG:

This Special Interest Group offered an evaluation of the evidence of recreational, music medicine interventions and music therapy techniques that have supported relationship completion and its benefits, as well as an exploration in the potential of new, undocumented music opportunities that may benefit in facilitating relationship completion. A question and discussion period followed the presentation with the aim of assisting our team in realizing the integration of this knowledge into the development of clinical guidelines for music therapists in our continued work.