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Listening to your intuition: What is it telling you? A music therapist’s journey between two homes.

Apr 06, 2021

Written by Bernice Chu, MA, MTA, NMT-F  

A warm hello to YOU, a member of the Music Therapy Academy Community! Wherever you are reading this, I hope our paths cross in real life one day and that we can connect and advocate together for the use of creative arts in healthcare. Before I begin, I must-must-must say thank you and express immense gratitude for Annilee Baron who has done such a remarkable job as Director of Communications. I am so excited for her future endeavours and look forward to reading about her successes. I am inspired to share my story with you with the main aim of sparking conversation - so reach out, let’s chat!

This is my story.

I’ve been thinking a lot about transitions recently. How do we decide where we live? Who we love and live with? What will our occupation be? What hobbies bring out the best in us as individuals? What causes will we spend our lives passionately advocating for? Is there a particular experience or...

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Reflections from a Music Therapist and Emerging Teacher Candidate

Mar 31, 2021

Written by Annilee Baron, MTA, NMT 

I have been reflecting on the past three years that I’ve worked with the Music Therapy Academy as the Director of Communications. I am so grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve had to connect with like-minded, passionate music therapists, community members, and allied professionals through this position.

When Miya Adout from Miya Music Therapy was stepping down from her role with the Academy as DOC to serve as a Consultant, I was thrilled that I would have an opportunity to continue the work she had been doing. I have enjoyed being able to advocate for our profession in a variety of ways and have absolutely loved working with the MTAcademy’s founder Rachael Finnerty, who is an endlessly supportive colleague and friend.

I am excited to be passing along the Director of Communications role to Bernice Chu, in order to pursue a Bachelor of Education at Brock University to teach Primary/Junor, starting Fall 2021!...

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Mar 09, 2021

Contributed by: Julia Bissessar  

It’s that time of year: interview season!
I find that, even with studying for tests, that trying to guess or anticipate what questions you may be asked will help you prepare for your interview. Here are a few questions that may come up:

o Why do you want to attend this school/program?
o What do you think makes you a strong candidate for this program?
o Why do you want to enter this profession?
o What would you plan to do after graduating from this program? What are your goals?
o What are your weaknesses/areas of growth?
o When was a time you were challenged? How did you overcome/deal with this hardship?
o What skills do you possess that would help you in your future career?
o What current knowledge do you possess about this field?
o How would you define this field?

While you definitely don’t want to be reading any possible answers off a piece of paper or sound too rehearsed, it’s good to keep in mind the key points that can help...

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How Anxious are Undergraduate Students?

Mar 04, 2021

Contributed by: Jessie Bauer  

It is fair to say that being an undergraduate student brings with it a great deal of anxiety. Not to mention, the added stress of COVID-19 and its many restrictions. My name is Jessie Bauer and in May 2020, I had the privilege and honour to work alongside Rachael Finnerty in organizing data from a research study regarding the activities students participated in during COVID-19 protocols. This research study was created with the intent of examining student wellness in order to develop student support programs that are pro-active. To start off, I am currently a student at Queen’s University, completing my undergraduate degree in Health Studies, alongside pursuing a Certificate in Business from the Smith School of Business. My dream is to work in the field of health promotion or study epidemiology as I am passionate about empowering individuals to take part in healthy behaviours as well as intrigued by examining patterns among various...

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Invisible Majority - Music Therapy

Feb 02, 2021

Contributed by: Mark Pillai  

The tale of music and medicine is as old as human history. In preliterate culture, music was practiced for both communication and healing purposes. Prehistoric religious systems upheld music as supernatural force, that effected physical and mental well-being. In Ancient Egypt, priest-physicians used music as a medicine for the soul through magic healing rituals and chant therapies; the Greeks prayed to Apollo, the god of music and medicine, who had the divine power to heal the mortal soul with music. Furthermore, music was empirically understood as a metaphysical element innately connected to the universe, as described by the principle of musica universalis - a precursor to our current model of frequency. With the advent of 19th Century empiricism, the institution of medicine shifted its focus of inquiry onto an evidence-based study of the human body. Underlying this new medical model was an institutional apathy towards the fundamental...

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Applying to Music Therapy Graduate Programs: What You Need to Know!

Jan 18, 2021

Written by: Julia Bissessar  

Over the past year, I have been preparing and planning for what I will do once I graduate from McMaster University. I am currently in the last year of my undergraduate degree studying Honours Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour with Music Cognition specialization. My post-secondary degree has combined my love for music and psychology, and I wish to continue learning more about my passions in a post-graduate degree. After taking courses in music cognition and music therapy in undergrad, I began to consider pursuing a career in music therapy. Currently, there are only two schools in Canada that offer a master’s program for music therapy: Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, and Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. You may be aware that a handful of universities in Canada offer music therapy as an undergraduate or bachelor’s degree. As I wasn’t even aware of music therapy as a profession upon entering...

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Music Therapy and Dementia

Jan 05, 2021

Contributed by: Riya Trivedi  

Aging is a shared experience that humans expect and recognize. People may anticipate retirement life, envision life with grandchildren, or perhaps begin to ponder what themes and relationships contribute to create their life story. However, data from the Canadian Study on Health and Aging shows that by 2031, 937,000 individuals will be living with dementia, with more than 65 percent of those being women. Dementia is defined as the progressive impairment of cognitive functions such as memory, resulting in difficulty with day-to-day tasks, disorientation, changes in mood or personality, and many more signs and symptoms (Chambers, 2016). Researchers are exploring the use of different medications to “cure” dementia-causing diseases like Alzheimer’s disease; however, it should be noted that no medication has been ascertained as a definite cure. In the meantime, it is important to offer treatments which lessen the symptoms of...

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Bringing to Light Research of the Efficacy of Music Therapy on Patients with an Acquired Brain Injury

Nov 30, 2020

          My interest in learning more about the effectiveness of music therapy in the treatment of patients with an acquired brain injury comes from my passion of helping others who lived a “normal” lifestyle like myself and all of a sudden, due to an unfortunate event in their life- now live without the ability to care for themselves, reliving the trauma of the event that has changed their world forever. As a Psychology graduate from McMaster University, with a background in classical piano and voice, I was challenged with the question- there is occupational therapy for individuals who have suffered physical injuries such as broken arms/legs due to accidents, but what is out there for individuals who endure trembling, repetition and frequent outbursts who relive the painful memories of traumatic events that has resulted in an acquired brain injury? After just taking an intro course to music therapy taught by Professor Rachael Finnerty at...

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The Benefits of Music and Movement

Nov 02, 2020

Contributed by: Julia Bissessar   

From a young age, I have participated in both music and dance lessons and they’ve become a very large part of my life. They have shaped my academic career and furthered my interest in music and how it relates to the body and the mind. I can recall many times of my fingers finding the right keys on the piano without much thinking on my end, creating a calm yet hyper-focused state. I also found great relief and satisfaction after completing dance combinations in my ballet classes. From my own experiences, I value the effectiveness of music and movement and within my academics, I have found that both these things together can have some very positive outcomes for a variety of people. 

I recall in one of my music cognition classes, we were shown a video of an elderly man with Parkinson’s who had trouble walking. However, once a piece of music began to play, he was able to walk with more ease and at a faster pace. This is...

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Grief & Music

Oct 19, 2020

Contributed by: Stephanie An   

While I cannot speak on other experiences, I am writing to you about my journey and personal experiences. 

In the midst of a pandemic and media coverage of many innocent lives being lost, many of us may be experiencing an overwhelming amount of emotions. 

Although many will never truly be prepared for the loss of a loved one, it is not something we can always control throughout life. Losing someone dear to us is never easy and can affect us in many ways throughout our everyday lives. As the loss may reveal many emotions and thoughts that overtake us, many call this process grieving. While others refer to “grief” as an emotion (Gustafson, 1989), others classify it as a response to said emotions. 

As life goes on, most people will experience grief at least once in their life. It is important to note that grief doesn’t have to come from the loss of a loved one only. The loss of an inspirational figure/idol...

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