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Research Library

Dr. Heidi AhonenThe Manfred and Penny Conrad Institute for Music Therapy Research is a dynamic forum that bridges clinical practice and research. Our mission is to provide opportunities for concrete research collaboration and discussions. Several research clusters have been generated to encourage innovative and international discourse on music therapy as a form of health care and on different music therapy related topics.

The following research clusters have already their own web forums: a "neuropsychological music therapy cluster" concentrates on music therapy with clients with neuropsychological challenges, such as dementia, Alzheimer's and autism,; The "Low Frequency Sound Research cluster" accommodates studies involving low frequency research:

We are interested in applying diverse approaches - some from within the discipline of music therapy and some from allied disciplines -and forging important and innovative links between research findings. The field of music therapy needs both evidence (efficacy) -based and practice-based research. That's why we would like to involve both qualitative and quantitative research inquiries. If you are involved or interested in music therapy research, I invite you to join one of these research clusters. It does not matter where you live or where you do your research. It is our mission to connect people and to foster active, lively dialogue among music therapy researchers. We want to provide you with a virtual environment that will nurture global dialogue and enhance networking. We will be using the internet but there will also be research conferences and seminars organized. We will also provide you opportunities to engage in joint research publications.

To start a new research cluster, send your ideas along with your name, e-mail address by e-mail to To join and contribute to one of our ongoing clusters, send your name, e-mail address and ideas to the co-ordinator of the research cluster you are interested in. Join our international team - make connections!

Music Psychotherapy
  Interested in researching unconscious dimensions in music therapy and clinical work with traumatized clients? If so, please join this cluster.
  Co-ordinator: Heidi Ahonen-Eerikäinen, PhD, MTA | e-mail
Music Therapy and Neuropsychological Needs
  Are you interested in researching music therapy with clients with neuropsychological challenges, such as dementia, Alzheimer's and autism? If so, please join this cluster and go to: |
  Co-ordinator: Melissa Jessop, MMT, MTA | e-mail
Low Frequency Sound Research
  Are you interested in researching low frequency sounds i.e. vibroacoustic and/or physioacoustic music therapy interventions and their efficacy among variety of client population? If so, please join this cluster. If you want to chat with other low frequency researchers and find low frequency related research material, please join our blog: |
  Co-ordinator: Dr. Heidi Ahonen-Eerikainen | e-mail
Using Voice as a Music Therapy Tool
  In her book How to Sing, the famous 19th century opera singer Lilli Lehman said: "Artistic technique must acquire the harmony of the beautiful through the aestheticism of the soul, and may through it only become - apparently - natural again."

As music therapists, many of us have been trained extensively in the techniques of therapeutic intervention using primarily the keyboard or guitar. The training of, and essential technical demands placed on the voice are not always addressed.

As a trained opera singer, I have found that my clinical work has always differed from that of my colleagues as the conceptualization of the sessions often resemble that of a musical or opera rather than other traditional instrumental forms. The main music medium is that of the therapist's vocal quality. Included in this are their particular vocal techniques and repertoire.

Are you interested in researching the use of voice as a music therapy tool? If so, please join this cluster.

  Co-ordinator: Andrea Lamont, MMT, MTA | e-mail
Listening: What's it all about?
  Listening enriches our lives and opens us to new experiences. In improvisational music therapy, music therapists draw on a repertoire of listening perspectives to work with different clients. The performance of composed music or improvisation requires intense listening. We know that listening is good for us and for those we play with. But what is listening all about? What is the connection between listening and playing? What informs our listening when improvising with clients? Perhaps some combination of our personal and communal histories, or being receptive to conceptual, gestural and affective inclinations. How does (or does it?) our listening change when performing improvisation, either as soloists or in ensembles?

This research cluster is about the infinite ways we listen as human beings. We invite music therapists to share their listening experiences and questions - a dialogue on listening in the therapeutic arena and, if applicable, on the performance stage (e.g., contemporary improvisation).

  Co-ordinator: Carolyn Arnason, DA, MTA | e-mail
  Dr. Carolyn Arnason, MTA, is Associate Professor of Music Therapy at Wilfrid Laurier University. She holds degrees in piano performance, social work, and music therapy. Her current research interests are transparency in improvisational music therapy, and women's issues. She has a particular interest in the improvisation continuum, ranging from clinical improvisation to contemporary improvisation in concert settings. Her articles are published in Canadian, American and European journals. She has presented papers in Canada, England, Finland, Hawaii, Italy, Norway and the USA.
Music Education from a Therapeutic Angle
  This research cluster includes topics related to music therapy, music education, and music enrichment. Music is a versatile medium of communication and learning in various therapeutic and educational settings. While the distinction between music education, music enrichment and music therapy must be made clear, it is a fact that these branches of the music field share some common grounds such as the social interaction and the use of music to help individuals achieve growth and well-adjusted beings in their lives.

In my experience of working as a music therapist in private practice with children and adolescents, I have encountered many parents who show interest in music lessons for their children. They often see the values of music lessons with a therapeutic approach, in which the lessons emphasize the process of learning and growth while considering the whole-person in this process.

Similarly, the philosophy behind music enrichment programs also align with those found in music therapy in the sense that music is used to facilitate growth in other areas of individuals as well as forming of relationships.

I believe that research in this area will further inform the profession of music therapy and other related fields about the values of music in people’s lives. If you resonate with any of the above accounts and are interested in music therapy research, please join me in developing the research cluster of Music Education from a Therapeutic Angle.

  Co-ordinator: Name: Michelle Song, MMT
Aesthetic Music Therapy
  Are interested in doing a variety of musicological and ethno musicological studies? If so, please join this cluster.
  Co-ordinator: Colin Lee, PhD, MTA | e-mail
Do you have an interdisciplinary research idea in which the CIMTR could provide support in terms of consultation, qualitative data analysis and/or research supervision services? Would you be interested in starting a research project in collaboration with the CIMTR?

If so, we have some step-by-step guidelines for you to follow:

Please note: We are also interested in participating or supervising your Graduate Thesis or PhD paper(s). Formal request from your university is required before we can review or give input to your paper.
Step 1
  Contact the co-coordinator of your research area, introduce your research topic, and find if there are other people interested in studying a similar issue. If so, you might be able to form a research cluster. If not, you still can conduct your study in collaboration with the CIMTR.
Step 2

Submit your research proposal/research plan to the management board of the CIMTR by emailing it to the co-coordinator of your research area.
Content of the Research Proposal

1. Title
2. Rationale: Introduction to the topic…
3. Main Bibliography
4. Research Design: Qualitative/quantitative, inductive/Abductive/deductive, research methods…
5. Research Objectives
6. Research Questions
7. Research Progress/ Research Stages
8. Value of Project/applicability?
9. Authority of the researcher
10. Time Frame of the research
11. Research funding
12. Ethics Review of Research Involving Human Participants.
13. Why do you want to do this research project in collaboration with the CIMTR? What kind of specific help/support do you feel you would you need in order to finish your research project? How would you like the CIMTR help/support you with your research project? What role do you see the CIMTR playing in assisting you with your research project?

Step 3
  The management board of the CIMTR will review your proposed research.
Step 4
  If the management board is supportive of your research the different roles of the researchers will be discussed and decided.

Facilities available by the CIMTR dependent on recourses:
• Research supervision
• Music therapy consultation
• Data collection
• Qualitative data analysis
• Participation in research seminars
Step 5
  As the main investigator you are responsible for all aspects of ethics in your study.
Step 6
  You will agree to acknowledge the CIMTR, and all researchers involved with your study in the covering page of your final research report, and in any scientific publications and conference presentations that ensue.
Step 7
  You agree to give three copies of your final research report to the CIMTR.
Step 8
  As main investigator you must accept the financial responsibility, and time-line for your study.
Step 9
  As part of the CIMTR you are welcome to participate in all research seminars hosted by the CIMTR.