Skip to main content

Join us at Laurier

Becoming a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.

Dec. 18, 2017

Print | PDF

Music is a life-giving, spiritual force that can affect players and listeners alike. Music can provide us with the opportunity to reflect and better understand our lives.

As a therapeutic medium music has proven its effectiveness both as a humanistic expression of the soul, and as a specific medical intervention.

This conference will aim to draw together artists and therapists whose common aim is to promote music and health.

Event Information

  • Venue: Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  • Date: May 5, 2018


  • General Admission: $65 CAD
  • Students (including part-time students): $25 CAD



  • Delta Hotel Waterloo (15 minute walk)
  • Comfort Inn (9 minute walk)
  • Waterloo Hotel (13 minute walk)
  • On-site residence rooms at Hotel Laurier

Keynote Speaker

  • Jos de Backer, Belgium

Target Participants

  • Music therapists
  • Health care sector/workers
  • Community musicians and facilitators
  • Undergraduate and graduate students in music, music therapy, community music pastoral counselling and health
  • Pastoral counsellors
  • Music educators
  • Studio instructors
  • Improvisers
  • Psychotherapists



Jos de Backer 

Topic - Listening to the silence in clinical improvisations. 

Clinical improvisation is the ‘leitmotiv’ of this presentation. Video illustrations of musical improvisations will be approached from three main perspectives: silence, sound and listening attitude. Which modalities of silence do we meet in clinical improvisations? How can we be attentive for transformations in clinical improvisations? What is the value of the listening attitude of the music therapist in clinical improvisations? This presentation aims to enrich the knowledge of the clinician, and will challenge the clinician to approach the clinical material on a primarily musical way. 

Breakout Sessions

Topic - Singing for Personal Wellness & Community Connection

Elizabeth Mitchell

In this workshop, participants will be guided in a variety of singing experiences, both improvisatory and pre-composed. Rooted in research surrounding the benefits of singing for personal wellness and communal connection, participants will leave with vocal resources to bring back to their professional work and everyday lives.

Cheryl Jones

Topic - Music Therapy and Acquired Brain Injury

This workshop will describe the use of music therapy in facilitating the functional rehabilitation of cognition, speech, motor, and psychosocial needs of patient’s following acquired brain injury. Case study examples and videos will be used to highlight the immediacy of music in addressing both the medical and emotional needs of patients.

Deborah Seabrook

Topic - Creating Wellbeing: Improvisation in music performance and music therapy

This workshop will offer participants an opportunity to engage with improvisation as a practice that nurtures wellbeing in music performance and music therapy contexts. Structured improvisation experiences informed by interdisciplinary theory and research will encourage participants to: connect with their creativity and wellbeing; explore performance and therapeutic improvisation practices; and practice skills applicable to their work. This playful and supportive workshop is intended for students and professionals in music disciplines, including music therapy, performance, community music, and music education; no previous improvisation experience is required. Please bring any instrument(s) that you would like to play, a variety of instruments will also be available for use.

Artistic and Spiritual Expressions of String Quartet Music

Penderecki String Quartet (Jerzy Kaplanek, Katie Schlaikjer, Christine Vlajk, Jeremy Bell). Moderator: Lee Willingham

The quartet will begin by playing: Beethoven String Quartet No8, Op 59, No 2 in Eminor “Rasumovsky”. 2nd movement. Molto adagio. Si tratta questo pezzo con molto di sentiment.
Following this performance, the quartet will explore their potential roles as performers, community and health musicians. This open discussion will attempt to draw parallels between artistic and therapeutic values of music as a transcendent guide.

Self-Compassion in the Practice of Contemplative Music

Gerard Yun

Restorative practices benefit performers, educators, community musicians, therapists and other practitioners of the giving arts. Drawing on Buddhist and Christian contemplative art traditions, this session presents self-compassion as a framework for creating and sustaining a restorative contemplative music practice.  

Music that Feels Sad

Heidi Ahonen

Sad music can touch our emotions deeply. Even though the effects of sad music have been widely researched it is still unclear why sad music is so therapeutic? Why is sad music so important in music psychotherapy and what are the effects for our clients? Why does sad music make us happy?

Max Richter: Piano Works

Colin Lee

Max Richter’s music is effortless, yet full of longing and pathos. His piano pieces allow the listener into a slower pace of listening. The music is simple and expresses a humanistic yearning that is at the heart of this conference and the balance between music and health.  

  • Andras
  • The Blue Notebooks
  • Circles from the Rue Simon-Crubellier
  • The Family
  • Fragment
  • From the Rue Villin
  • H in New England
  • Horizon Variations
  • Infra 3
  • The Tartu Piano
  • Vladimir’s Blues
  • Written on the Sky

We see you are accessing our website on IE8. We recommend you view in Chrome, Safari, Firefox or IE9+ instead.