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Physical rehabiliation was the focus of my practice as an occupational therapist this year-- working in paediatric private practice, and then at Mater Private Hospital Springfield and Mater at Home.  Listening to people's expressed needs help to sort out personal rehabilitation goal setting in collaboration wtih the client and support network. Families are part of sustaining independent functioning at home, or supporting recovery in hospital.

  • Introduction of the NDIS -- and individualised psycho-social assessments in the Ipswich region
  • NDIS--implications for people in hospital settings-- adaptive equipment for discharge home
  • Impact of My Aged Care service network on clients needing home modifications
The continually changing service environment impacts on families trying to source support and resources for relatives. Occupational Therapy is a clear requirement for people with a disability.

Music Health has moved further into the background as desirable for people's cultural engagement and participation in communities. There is a lag between what we know is effective and provision of funding for professional music health servcies.  Research evidence is polarised into 'music therapy,' 'music education,' 'community music' categories. Self-management of music and health remains a personal responsibility--to regain roles as musicians. Music Health Australia supports reclaiming rights and responsibilities for music making at the local level.

My wish for 2018 is that it will be fruitful with research and personal growth and development.
Further publications are in the pipeline. I look forward to further collaboration wtih people interested in music and health.

Sandra Kirkwood, January, 2018

Researcher ID https://orchid.org/0000-0003-1770-4656

Occupational Therapy and Community Music services are now available full-time for children and families in the Ipswich region, Queensland. Referrals can be made to Music Health Australia.

It has been a long journey from when I returned to my old high school to complete music courses which enabled me to enter tertiary music education and complete the Bachelor of Music in 2005.

The community music projects that I managed with community groups in my neighbourhood became the focus of the Master of Philosophy research at Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University. The thesis on "Frameworks for culturally engaged community music practice in rural Ipswich, Australia" showed the new directions that I developed with community groups.

I founded Music Health Australia in 2008 to bring together people who share interests in music and health; and to provide occupational therapy, and to resource early childhood music development.

In 2014, I took up a PhD research scholarship with the University of Newcastle which continued until December, 2016. This resulted in several publications and conference presentations. Further details are available in the Small island music researcher profile online.

Now in 2017, it is time to apply the learnings from music research and practice to early childhood musical development, and occupational therapy in the Ipswich region. I'm pleased to announce that services are now available full-time. The focus is on culturally engaged community music practice and building capacity of community groups. This collaboration helps to keep costs as low as possible.

Please contact us if you wish to participate in music-making groups and services which support your children and your own health goals for 2017.

Sandra Kirkwood, December 2016

2015 has been rewarding with a presentation at the Musicological Society of Austalia on "Music History Research Dialogues: Establishing a Community of Discovery."

A scoping study is underway to understand how music history impacts on children's musical development in small island communities. Looking at how to consult and build capacity for supporting people's music occupations across the lifespan.
Thanks to sponsors:
University of Newcastle for the PhD research scholarship.

Museums Australia for the bursary to cover all costs of presenting at the May 2015 National Museums Australia Conference in Sydney Town Hall.

Musicological Society of Australia (MSA) for the bursary for airfares to attend and present at the October MSA conference.

This enabled discussions with a wide range of stakeholders and critical reflection on research findings to date.

Sandra Kirkwood, December, 2015

22-24 August, 2014: The South-East Queensland Small Museum Conference was an opportunity for Sandra Kirkwood to  present on "Cultural significance and musical development of children in small museums." This involved discussion of music projects that have been conducted in SEQ, with focus on how to involve children actively in music -- supporting cultural engagement of community members. The presentation stimulated discussion about the how music is used with children in museums and future possibilities for resource development and consultancy in small museums. The Redlands Museum and the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum were excellent venues for the conference which provided opportunities for networking and sharing, and a very memorable conference dinner held cruising Moreton Bay aboard the Stradbroke Ferry, Minjerribah. 

The next event is Sandra representing Music Health Australia at the Museums Australia national conference at Sydney Town Hall (21-24 May, 2015), in a curated panel discussion on the topic: "Music museum curatorship: Reclaiming rights and responsibilities for musicking." This is part of the Context of Cultural Production stream of the conference. A Remote, Regional and Community Museums Day is held prior to the conference.

People with interest in music health are invited to contact Music Health Australia to discuss how they may be involved in the Music Health email group, or Community of Discovery to support research and development. It would be good to broaden the network and see more people actively involved in planning and implementing Music Health Australia services.

Sandra Kirkwood, January, 2015


The World Forum on Music 5 was held at the Griffith University, Southbank campus from 21-24 November, 2013. Several other national music conferences converged and were held concurrently at Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University. Music Health Australia was represented at a number of national conferences, and conducted a Peer to Peer focus group on Aerospace Musicology at the World Forum on Music. 

Peer Reviewed Publication:
Kirkwood, S. & Miller, A. (2014). The impact of new technologies on the musical learning of Indigenous Australian Children. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood Online, March, pp. 56-63.

Conference presentations:
Kirkwood, S. (2013). Review of technologies and sites of cultural significance for supporting musical development of Indigenous Australian children. Paper presented at the OT Australia: Mental Health and Paediatric Symposium. Gold Coast. 25-26 October, 2013.

Kirkwood, S. (2013). The impact of new technologies on musical learning of Indigenous Australian Children. Paper presentation. Asia-Pacific Community Music Network Symposium. Queensland Conservatorium: Griffith University. 19-20 November, 2013.

Kirkwood, S. (2013). International Space Station: New contexts and constructs for creative musicking. Peer to Peer Focus Group. World Froum on Music 5. Queensland Conservatorium: Griffith University, Southbank, Brisbane. 22 November, 2013.

Kirkwood, S. (2013).What can occupational therapists learn from the career of Harold Blair: His health and music occupation? Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare Conference. Queensland Conservatorium: Griffith University, Southbank, Brisbane. 23-24 November, 2013.

Kirkwood, S. (2013). The Drumley Walk: Promoting health through poems and songs that remember Yugambeh Aboriginal leaders and leanguages. Poster presentation. Gold Coast Health and Medical Research Conference. Gold Coast. 28-29 November, 2013.

Kirkwood, S. (2014). Sonification: Can bloogle resonators enhance representation of time, space and culture through the Person-Environment-Occupation model? Workshop. AUC Create World Conference. Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Southbank. Brisbane. 12-13 February, 2014.

The focus has been on promoting the role for ethnomusicologists, musicians and museum curatorship in occupational therapy, early childhood education, community cultural development, digital arts, health promotion and primary healthcare, performance health, and most importantly -- supporting and enabling with people with unmet needs to self-organise their own music heritage and culture and facilitating musical development. This can give people a voice and supports people's musical expression and open opportunities for using the latest technologies in a culturally meaningful way.

Where to next? Exploring ways of supporting communities to participate in musicking, and safeguarding their own music heritage and culture; removing barriers to learning and and accessing pathways to musical development. In August, 2014, Music Health Australia will take part in the Small Museums Conference in South-East Queensland - discussing "What are the pathways that museums can follow to meaningfully connect with their communities," -- the value of musicking in museums.

Thank you to
Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University for sponsoring my attendance at conferences held at the Southbank Campus and participation in the weekly research colloquium, reading and writer's group. The Creative Innovations in Corrections Conference, 2014 at QCGU opened up new opportunities for working in Queensland Corrective Services.

Thank you to the
School of Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University, and supervisors for supporting my PhD candidacy in 2013, and for the support from academic mentors - particularly Professor of Indigenous Research, Adrian Miller for co-authoring an article in a professional journal.

Thank you to the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Private Practice Fund for sponsoring my attendannce and registration to present at the
OT Australia Mental Health and Paediatric Symposium in 2013.

Thank you to the
Gumurrii Student Support Unit at Griffith University for employment through the ITAS tutoring scheme 2013-2014.

Sandra Kirkwood,
Director, Music Health Australia  June, 2014 

Due to the current state-of-the-art practice, the decision was made to target a specific project that needs attention. Exploring how to promote musical development for young Indigenous Australians through digital technologies. The aim is to understand how digital technologies are used in musicking, and what would make a difference in the future. Several sites are under consideration.

The outcome of the research is a publication with Prof Adrian Miller, Indigenous Research Unit, Grifith University:
Kirkwood, S. & Miller, A. (2014), The impact of new technologies on musical learning of Indigenous Australian children. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 31(1), pp. 94-101.

Sandra Kirkwood presented on 10th July, 2013 at the
Creative Innovation Through Cross-Fertilisation Symposium, held at Queensland College of Art, Southbank Campus of Grifith University, Brisbane. This paper explored the potential for sonification of occupational therapy models in creative arts performance contexts and works toward development of models for community music health professional practice. 


Can bloogle resonators enhance representation of time, space and culture through the Person-Environment-Occupation Model?

The Person-Environment-Occupation Model, developed by Canadian occupational therapist, has been the catalyst for increasing research. Numerous applications of the P-E-O model enhance occupational performance of people with a disability. The P-E-O Model is a useful concept because it is able to represent change over time, at identified points across a person's lifespan. It is proposed that the 3-dimensional visual represnetation of the P-E-O Model can be imporved by incorporating a dynamic sonic-auditory modality. In this presentation, I physically demonstrate modelling of the person, environment and occupation factors through musical performance on bloogle resonators. This performance can be used in teaching and learning in multifarious material and virtual worlds. The issue of socio-cultural representation is raised through considering the sensitivites and the need for negotiation of music heritage and culture within educational contexts. Musical performance thereby demonstrates through sonic means, a new performative physical construction of the temporal dimensions of modelling for the P-E-O model that can be applied with respect for cultural diversity globally.


It became painfully obvious that Music Health Australia was not able to secure government funding to support the implementation of the community cultural development Music Action Plan which arose from the 2006-2007 RADF Community Consultation and Strategic Perspectives Analysis (in Appendix to Kirkwood's, 2009, "Frameworks for Culturally Engaged Community Music Practice in Rural Ipswich, Australia.")

For the last 5 years, Music Health Australia has been self-sufficient and privately funded. A number of small-scale community development projects have been run:

  • Online Virtual Fish 'n' Sing Program
  • Music Outreach Blog
  • Community Flood Recovery Sing-a-long and online song writing collaboration
  • Exploring Music Occupations and Livelihoods
Critical reflection on practice occurred through project reports that were published and/or presented at professional conferences:

Kirkwood, Sandra (2011). Doing, being and becoming more active through playing part in community-based museum scenarios [electronic version]. Retrieved 15 September, Music Health Australia: Ipswich

Kirkwood S. (2011). Community recovery: musical inspirations, creative collaborations, and health reform. In: 2011 Primary Health Care Research Conference: Program & Abstracts. Primary Health Care Research and Information Service: Australia. www.phcris.org.au/conference/browse.php?id=7048.

Music Health Australia led the way by advocating for data collection and analysis of trends in access to performing arts for disadvantaged groups through development of a "Self Audit Checklist for Equity, Diversity and Access to Performing Arts." This tool is used in consultancy and career development, as outlined in the following presentation by Sandra Kirkwood:

Kirkwood, S. (2011). Equity, diversity, and access to performing arts: Managing social inclusion in new frontiers of healthcare. Paper presented at the Australian Society of Performing Arts Healthcare Conference, 22-23 October, 2011, University of Sydney, Australia.

The Music Outreach moved forward with field observations and exploration of people's music occupations and livelihoods in the first half of 2012 particularly centered on the acquisition and study of facsimilies of the Harold Blair papers from the National Library of Australia. This research into music occupational performance of Harold Blair is now being used to inform the kuril dhagun: Indigenous Knowledge Centre for the 2013 showcase of its Deadly Brothers; Murri men who have made their name in music across a range of genres and ages from the 1960’s to today; through opera, to rock, to electronic. Five inspiring musicians, whose inspiration is drawn from their culture, will be thrown into the spotlight and presented through interviews, personal items, lyrics, ephemera and the music itself at the State Library of Queensland.

The latest project which aims to create and perform music stories, entitled "Aerospace Music Adventures: Imagine Your Music Occupation in Another Time and Place," coincides with the announcement that KPMG, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Suters Architects will work together to construct a $150 million aerospace and defence centre at Amberley, Queensland. Since this development is occuring in our neighbourhood and is relevant to local people, many who live and/or work in the Aerospace Precinct, it was chosen as a key theme for the 2012 Music Outreach program based at Purga, Ipswich. The focus on the "Creating, Curating, and Collaborating" approach guides communities to look at issues that are relevant to everyday living and to better self-organise their own music heritage and culture.

Networking through the Tracking the Milky Way website led to Gunawirra Service identifying the need for early childhood music resources and a commission to Music Health Australia to provide online music modules for use with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. These developments have revealed further practical implementation of the "Frameworks for Culturally Engaged Community Music Practice for rural Ipswich" (Kirkwood, 2009) to other localities - and demonstrated new approaches to applied ethnomusicology and creative community development practice. The connection with Music Outreach has proven to be more viable than partnerships with health services providers and reliance on medical referrals.

In summary, Music Health Australia is bursting forth with creative musical development in an effort to promote health and support the local community through the challenging social and economic environment which followed the 2011 flood devastation in Queensland. Occupational Therapy private practice through Medicare was difficult to sustain as a primary source of income in Queensland. Most services have been provided in a voluntary capacity while working as an occupational therapist is various casual positions.

Research and development involved attendance at the National Museums Australia Conference and the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre 4-day Research Festival. MHA is fostering relationships with organisations in primary healthcare, community cultural development and music in communities domains. One example of this is the learning and capacity building undertaken as a volunteer, which is described in Sandra Kirkwood's article on "The Drumley Walk: Promoting health through Indigenous ecotourism" (
http://independent.academia.edu/SandraKirkwood). Further interaction is encouraged through the national Music Health Australia email network which has remained stable in membership throughout the year. Proactive marketing has been carried out through MHA hosted websites and social media applications, and personal meetings with stakeholders.
A steady increase in traffic to the MHA website has been recorded throughout the last 12 months with up to 93 hosts visiting the website per day (up from 54 in 2009-2010). Comparison of website statistics for the month of June are as follows:

June 2011: 7,886 hits from 1,893 hosts.
June 2010: 4,991 hits from 1,023 hosts.

The increase may be related to now posting the latest news, research and resources openly on the 'News & Events' web page, rather than circulating to the Music Health e-mail group. This is consistent with principles of equity so the information can be accessed by anyone interested in visiting the website - without fees or charges. A new category of 'Indigenous Music Health' has been added to the News & Events web page to support the key project of Orchestrating Reconciliation.

$390 in annual subscriptions has been received from MHA members and advisers to support running costs. This sponsorship is greatly appreciated. The website is primarily funded privately, as sole trader of the health and rehabilitation service. There is potential to increase promotion of advertising on the website to generate greater revenue to cover costs. Investigations continue into ways of making the business more self-sustained by service users.

Feedback has remained positive with no complaints received during 2010-2011. Membership of the Music Health e-mail group has remained at a consistent level throughout the year.
Part of the business of promoting development of music health services involves the hard yakka of sourcing funding and support that will be ongoing and productive for the effort that we invest. So far, several key stakeholders have been pleased to meet and discuss possibilities or offer training. I value their sincere guidance and advice about how to make this enterprise more sustainable in the long term, and advice provided on career development pathways and opportunities. The quest for long-term funding and career development pathways is still ongoing. National policy on social inclusion, revealed in the National Compact, is starting to support our service directions in music health.

NATIONAL COMPACT: An Australian Government Initiative - part of the Social Inclusion agenda
National Compact: Working Together (2010)

Shared vision

The Australian Government and the Third Sector will work together to improve social, cultural, civic, economic and environmental outcomes, building on the strengths of individuals and communities. This collaboration will contribute to improved community wellbeing and a more inclusive Australian society with better quality of life for all.

 What is the Third Sector?
The Third Sector refers to a broad range of organisations that are “formed by people to provide services for themselves or for others, to advance a cause, to share an enthusiasm, to preserve a tradition, to worship a god or gods. Different groups of these organisations are known by different names: non-government organisations (NGOs), charities, unions, cooperatives, clubs, associations, peoples’ organisations, churches, temples, mosques and so on. Collectively, they comprise a third organised sector.” (Prof Mark Lyons 2003)

Relevance to Music Health Australia
The stated intention of the National Compact is to outline a framework for community services to work collaboratively with government in achieving a socially inclusive society. Over the past twelve months, I have been exploring possible partnerships between various levels of government, community and corporate sectors, and Music Health Australia services. The outcome of meetings with stakeholders should be available in the near future.

The Music Health Australia network completed a service review and evaluation on 31 July, 2010. Members were invited to send feedback about what was working well and what needed improvement. Feedback has been collated here through a SWOT analysis that was used to plan future directions (see details below).


Key Project: Orchestrating Reconciliation

Consultation with members through the Music Health mail group, and research and development activities at the annual Music Health symposium held at the Bunya Mountains, has led to the following plan for service directions in 2010-2011.

Since we are a small group but with considerable influence, due to our diverse backgrounds in music and health and geographical spread across Australia, our efforts are to be pooled toward the objective of furthering reconciliation between Indigenous and other Australians. The modality of choice is through making music that is meaningful and relevant to present day circumstances. Latest news on
Orchestrating Reconciliation.

We are working toward our mission statement which supports the directions outlined by Prof Jane Davidson, President of the Musicological Society of Australia, in the 2009
MSA submission to Hon. MP Peter Garrett on the Draft National Cultural Policy:

Additional submissions written by Sandra Kirkwood, that are relevant to this project include:

Music Health Australia
Submission on National Cultural Policy - January 31, 2010

Music Health Australia also contributed to the

Voices From the Campfires

report through lodging a submission by Sandra Kirkwood with the FAHCSIA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation - 31 July, 2009. This report describes the consultation and establishment of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation.

Continuing MHA services:
·Private practice to continue under current sole trader arrangements (based in Ipswich, Queensland).
·Music Health e-mail group to continue with no compulsory membership fees.
·Music Health Adviser services to continue as long as there are suitable people who are willing to take on these positions for 12 month periods.
·Information on conferences and professional development opportunities to be advertised on the website.
·Consultation and collaborative decision making to continue to be encouraged.
 Changes to MHA service arrangements:
·News and resource information on the website and mail group will be handed over to the members for action. People can input information to the online forums, or network through email/phone, conferences etc.
·The group is largely connected through online communication so formal meetings will not be held on a regular basis.
·Sponsorship of the service network will be encouraged. E-mail group members and organisations, especially those that advertise their services through the network, will be
invited to contribute by annual request for service fees and/or in-kind support (usually made in September).
·The sale of products on the website will be discontinued as this has not been productive and is not a key objective of the service.
·Members will be encouraged to submit brief articles, videos/sound recording for possible inclusion on the website, especially in innovative service areas that may be of interest to others.

Sandra Kirkwood,
Director, Music Health Australia
1 August, 2010
(members feedback received June-July, 2010):
  • I enjoy receiving my regular updates from your organization.
  • MHA provides a platform for people from different disciplines to meet/discuss about music/health.
  • The most useful thing for me has been hearing about conferences which I would not normally encounter or look out for. I love talking to groups and teaching adults, and I'm looking forward to finding a conference which intersects somehow with my expertise so that I can present a paper, or where I can sell music and meet new customers.
  • There is an awesome amount of talent and expertise amongst the 84 people on the list, from very diverse backgrounds and disciplines.
  • I am very interested in music and health and would like to be part of the group.
  • The Music Health Advisers and Griffith University School of Public Health have been very generous sponsors as well as some other members who advertise their services on the website.
  • Many members have been assisting through in-kind support and this is very much appreciated eg. writing support letters for grants, providing mentoring, peer support, advice and encouragement.
  • The website and e-mail group have been an effective way of disseminating information. There is a high volume of traffic to the website each day and this has been steadily increasing.
  • Website traffic rates for month of June 2010: 4,991 hits from 1,023 computers.
  • Average daily website traffic rates for month of June 2010: 166 hits from 34 computers.
  • Membership of the e-mail group has been very stable. 95% of people who join the group remain members. A few people left the group when membership fees were introduced in September, 2010. The levy has not been compulsory.

 (members feedback received July-July, 2010):
  • A common concern that has been raised is the lack of employment for people working in Music Health in community settings. It seems that the people who need the service most are least able to pay music teachers, music therapists etc.
  • Discussion, occasionally ends without concrete actions/outcomes.
  • Financial outlays have exceeded membership contributions.

(member feedback received 12 Sept, 2009)
  • Is there a proposed constitution?
  • Who will be administering the money? Is there a budget? How did the fee amount come to be decided and who decided? It should be voted on by members and first foreshadowed. Will those who choose not to pay not receive information as currently provided?

(members feedback June-July, 2010):
  • Maybe there is some potential for a coordinated approach on a particular project or issue.
  • For me, it's a matter of attitude. Some people may consider 'voice out opinions', 'update information' as opportunities. Others may view 'opportunity' in terms of job appointment.
  • We all have different reasons and contexts for what we do, which is what attracts me in part to Music Health, but we need to put recipient’s physical /psychological needs at the forefront. It is also a fascinating area to explore because it is controversial. Is anyone interested in having a discussion amongst ourselves re the types of music used in music health and their suitability/non-suitability for various conditions etc.? Anyone interested in contributing songs/playing on a CD that I am making....?
  • There is potential for requesting membership contributions from other organisations, professional associations and people who register for the mail group. It may also be possible to attract funds from people or organisations who wish to advertise on the website.
  • More members could assist by participating actively in the e-mail group and adding news/events to the online website forum.

    (members feedback June-July, 2010):
  • MH network seems to be Qld MH network. links with other similar networks??
  • Can't see any special threats at the moment unless... it's costly to run the website (time and maintenance fee).
  • Some issues about potential conflicts in professional roles are mentioned in this email received from a member: Music Health aims to unite people working in related areas , which is wonderful BUT practitioners in the different areas have different ways of working, nearly all of which have excellent outcomes. I see these areas as educational environments (eg Special Schools), the broad domain of degreed music therapists, community music therapists, and community musicians working on various projects. I would be interested to know how many actual trained music therapists have joined MH. Because academia and evidence based research are becoming more prominent in the community in an effort to justify funding, the continuation of courses and raise the profile of music therapy in Australia in order that it be recognised as an Allied Health intervention music therapists are keen to protect what many (not all ) consider to be their territory. It is absolutely true that quite a few things are being done by community people in the name of music therapy which are totally inappropriate interventions for various populations (eg relaxation music with nature sounds with people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or dementia related illnesses and particularly delivering a program where participants leave on an uncontrolled “HIGH” without being brought down to earth which can cause extreme anxiety related symptoms) . Music therapists are (generally) aware of these potential outcomes so they are careful to design programs to avoid this kind of thing happening. A lot of community musos think that MT’s are snobs and elitist. Teachers using music for therapeutic reasons are focused on broad educational outcomes and aspects such as the all-important therapeutic relationship are left out.
  • I’m all for music groups of all kinds. I run MANY different ones over the years. I applaud “musicking” of all kinds ( except Satanistic Death metal)
  • So the point is that we all want the joy of music for our clients and that we all want to do it in the way we believe is best. We don’t necessarily need degrees but we need some education about what we are doing and know WHY we are doing it . I would be happy to come to next year at the Bunya MT to give a few “lectures” on the area- not in my position as an MT necessarily but as an interested and informed party on these matters. Maybe we could do it by having a big round table discussion on we do in our own work and take it from there. That way everybody’s individual techniques are not threatened. I would love to see some sharing of ideas and resources and have the opportunity to do some “spontaneous” music playing in the evening. Fun! Fun! Fun!
There is great diversity of approaches to music health services provided in community environments. This is useful to some extent as it allows flexibility of services to customise programs to meet particular needs and target goals. On the other hand, though, having so many different service areas and approaches, may lead to fragmentation of efforts. Developing a primary interest and common framework for Music Health helps to support coordination and networking of inter-professional and community-organised services.

This page is devoted to brain-storming a list of possible areas for further research and development. Some suggestions from focus groups and forums to date, include:

1. Development of a mailgroup and community of discovery for Music Health advisers and others interested in Music Health in Australia.

2. Acknowledging the value of contributions from various disciplines eg. Social Work development of social models of service provision rather than focus on the individual; and further nursing/ music therapy research into health promotion and how it can be applied to music; development of the concept of music occupation by occupational therapists and occupational science.

3. Providing opportunities for sharing knowledge between disciplines and communities, such as the University of Melbourne
Music and Well-being Symposium, Feb. 2009, and the Encounters symposiums run by Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University.

4. Networking between Performing Arts Health, Music Therapy, Music Education, Community Development, and Ethnomusicology. See list of conference opportunities in the blog on this website.

5. Supporting the advocacy initiatives of the Music Council of Australia. Catherine Threllfall, Making Music Being Well

6. The Music Council of Australia has requested a SWOT analysis of the Music Health area. This involves writing about the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to this sector. View what has already been written about
Music and Health on the MCA knowledge base. View guidelines for SWOT analysis. Points can be added to the categories: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.

7. Developing organisational structure and administrative processes for Music Health Australia. Suggestions have been received about the need for clearer statements about provision of services. This is under development at present.

8. Survey to review the Music Health Australia service:
Please complete the survey
(click on link).

Thesis: Frameworks for culturally engaged community music practice in rural Ipswich, Australia

Sandra Kirkwood. Date: 11 August, 2009.
Bunya Mountains, Queensland

Keynote speaker: Dr Kalaly Chu


Ph.D, MME, BA (Hons), Dip. Fine Arts, Dip. Complementary therapies

Dr. Kalaly Chu received her doctorate degree from
University of New South Wales. Her research and teaching experiences in Australia and Hong Kong

have enriched her understanding about the development of aesthetic education in Asia-Pacific areas. Further, her work experience in a national gallery and as an illustrator in a publishing company deepened her knowledge about the representation of the arts.

Presentation Title: The role of music in children’s emotional development
This presentation is a summary of a case study showing how music is used to train and build one’s confidence and improve one’s communication ability. Music can help people to express their emotions and feelings, thus increasing their ability to communicate with others and increase their awareness about themselves and the people around them.

The author’s observation and belief about the therapeutic nature of music is based on her teaching experience for the past decade, especially in the following three perspectives: (1) learning is inseparable from sensory interaction, (2) verbal language and words can’t totally express emotional feelings, and (3) the limited language ability of small children.

Art Exhibition: The kaleidoscope of human expression and emotion
(Papercutting exhibition)

Imagination and emotional expression is inseparable in the making of arts. Erickson (1979) states that the artist uses his imaginative skills to re-create the perceived object and embodies his ideas into a specific art form. Imagination ‘metaphorically’ transfers the images into new meanings and ideas. The kaleidoscope of human expression and emotion can be captured through this traditional, distinctive art form – Papercutting. The purpose of the exhibition/workshop is to illustrate the therapeutic nature of colours and lines. Colours and lines are inseparable with our daily perceptual experience. Music --- has its colour (tone) and line (musical line). By showing the audience about 12-20 artworks, they may/can experience the artistic materials more directly and personally.

Recent Publication: Dr. Kalaly Chu (2009) Music and Visual Art: Their correspondences and a new perspective in exploring appreciation in education and in our life.

Presentation Title: “Let’s Sing Out! – the effects of singing on quality of life and lung function of young people with cystic fibrosis”

Speaker: Jung Yoon Shin Irons


Yoon is a qualified music therapist with experience in working with children with disabilities and challenging behaviour in the U.K. Currently, she is conducting a randomised controlled trial with young people with cystic fibrosis at Royal Children’s and Mater Children’s hospitals in Brisbane as part of her PhD studies. She loves singing and plays the piano, flute, guitar, lyre and percussion.


Abstract: This presentation will focus on the psychological and physical benefits of singing. Breathing in singing differs from speech breathing, in that the length of the expiration phrase is longer, due to the demands of the extended musical phrase. Lung volumes needed to sustain these phrases are greater than those used for speaking. Therefore higher lung volumes are associated with singing, which may also use the full range of lung volume available. Diaphragmatic breathing during singing activates respiratory muscles, which support efficient deep inhalation and slow exhalation. This increases respiratory muscle strength, which increases lung volume and assists effective coughing. Singing can also reduce fear, anxiety and pain perception, enhance quality of life and de-medicalise at least some of the treatment regimen for cystic fibrosis.


Presentation title: Planning and development of Music Health services in Australia
Speaker: Sandra Kirkwood
Director, Music Health

Sandra Kirkwood has worked in the health, education, and disability sectors for the last 25 years as an occupational therapist, disability project officer, and allied health consultant. In 2005 Sandra completed a Bachelor of Music degree and is currently enrolled in a Research Higher Degree at the Queensland Conservatorium, GriffithUniversity. Sandra has completed a number of music projects with communities in Ipswich that were funded by Ipswich City Council and Arts Queensland.


This presentation will include historical review of music health services in Australia and explanation of place-based socio-ecological practice frameworks. Music Health can incorporate community music, music performance, music occupation, music life education, health promotion and music without borders approaches. These service areas will be discussed and participants will be invited to contribute to strategic planning. The workshop will involve group inter-professional discussion about future directions. Music Health may be of interest to music specialists, educators, therapists, social workers, psychologists, nurses, doctors, ethnomusicologists and others involved with music health and well-being.



Commenced February 2009, last updated 8 January, 2018.
© Sandra Kirkwood, 2008
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