Becoming – and Remaining – A Music Therapist:
A Career Path Unique to Each Practitioner
Why and how does one become a music therapist? As we gather to share this virtual experience from our homes, I invite every one of you to create and reflect together – through music, the arts, poetry and writing – on the unique path each of us has followed, which now sustains us in our music therapy profession. Here are a few questions to contemplate as we await our gathering next spring: How did your childhood, teenage years, adulthood and cultural baggage influence your decision to become a music therapist? What role does music play in your life? Which people have influenced your career path? What events have been memorable for you?
In what ways would you like to contribute to the profession, to causes that are important to you, to social justice? How can we, as music therapists, be there for each other? How do we stay connected despite Canada’s geographic distances, which seem greater in the current pandemic? I would especially like to take some time to support the new generation of music therapists who are embarking on this journey with all their heart, their music and their yearning for an equal, diverse and inclusive society, so they can be of service to “the other”. This “other” is the child, the adult, the older person whose inner beauty is expressed through music and the ties you forge together. I would also like to honour the music therapists who charted a course for the rest of us and continue to support the next generation. Your mentoring is essential. See you soon! Get your pens and paper ready for a creative conference.
Dr. Guylaine Vaillancourt, PhD, MTA
Guylaine is an Associate Professor of Music Therapy and Chair of the Department of Creative Arts Therapies at Concordia University (Montreal, Canada), where she teaches and supervises students pursuing a master’s degree or doctorate in music therapy. Guylaine holds a master’s degree in music therapy from New York University and a doctorate in Leadership and Changes in the Profession from Antioch University (Ohio, U.S.), and is a trainer and practitioner of the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM).
Her two main research interests are arts-based phenomenological participatory action-research into community music therapy and mental health, and mentoring new music therapists. She is a member of the Arts in Health Research Collective and the PERFORM Centre for preventative health at Concordia University. Guylaine has also served as North American co-editor for the online periodical VOICES: A World Forum for Music Therapy, and as French co-editor for the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy. She has worked in Switzerland, the United States and Venezuela, and has taught in Martinique and Cuba. During her 30-year career as a music therapist, she specialized in oncology/palliative care and mental health. She is past President of the Association québécoise de musicothérapie and the Canadian Association of Music Therapists. She has also authored Musique, musicothérapie et développement de l’enfant, which was published in 2005 by Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine (Montreal), and has been translated into English (Music, Music Therapy and Child Development), Italian and Spanish.
Radical Imagining within Ethics of Care
Radical imagining asserts the ability to conceive socio-political possibilities not as they are but as they could be. As a political, sensorial, and strategic act towards social justice aims, it offers opportunities for agented resistance and liberation by marginalized communities in music therapy contexts. This keynote will explore the ethical imperatives of radical imagining within music therapy. Music therapy is a vibrant profession that explores the broad and dynamic impact of musical relationship on health and well-being. Yet, the role of radical imagining and ethics of care are often diminished in practices with marginalized communities. Grappling with these realities, the keynote will amplify the freedom dreaming efforts and the calls to critically examine how music therapy practices may produce, perpetuate, reduce, and eliminate cultural harm. The speaker will discuss the radical repositioning and transformation of music therapy and explore opportunities for building connections that uphold justice and equity in our work.
Dr. Marisol S. Norris, PhD, MT-BC
Marisol is a board-certified music therapist, critical arts therapist educator, and founder of the Black Music Therapy Network, Inc. Her music therapy clinical and supervisory experience has spanned medical and community health settings and includes work with adult psychiatric and dually diagnosed populations, adolescents facing homelessness, families within the city court system, and medically fragile children. These experiences have profoundly contributed to her critical, culturally sustaining lens of music therapy theory and praxis and her dedication to expanding the understanding of Black clients’ aesthetic music and health experiences. Her current research focus includes discursive construction of race in music therapy theory and praxis, the role of cultural memory and aesthetics in client and therapist meaning-making processes, pedagogical approaches to culturally sustaining healthcare training and practice, and arts-based frameworks for healing justice within Black communities.
Marisol will be joining the College of Nursing and Health Professions’ Creative Arts Therapies Department at Drexel University as Director of Music Therapy and Assistant Clinical Professor winter 2021.
Oh Canada! Finding the “Canadian Music Therapist” Identity
As Canadian music therapists, we intuitively know that music is intrinsically healing. For many of us, this career is our calling and the work, our passion. This shared passion bridges us to one another across our vast Country where we are separated by physical distance and valued differences. Although “socially distanced” and apart, over the past year we have joined together, determined to support and learn from one another. We continue to support Canadians with music therapy during the global pandemic. In reflecting upon the journey that led me to where I am today, you will also be invited to reflect upon your own journey, and guided to identify your passion. We are more alike than different, and together we can discover our voice, our connection, our shared passion and our identity as Canadian Music Therapists.
Adrienne Pringle, MMT, RP, MTA
Adrienne is the Co-Founder and Director of Beyond the Studio and the Sing it Girls!® program. She is a Registered Psychotherapist (CRPO) and Certified Music Therapist, MTA (CAMT) with 20 years of experience working as a therapist, music educator, lecturer, practice leader, entrepreneur, clinical supervisor, consultant and performer. She is a past President of the Canadian Association of Music Therapists (CAMT) and past Music Therapist at The Credit Valley Hospital and Carpenter Hospice. In addition to Beyond the Studio, Adrienne divides her time between private practice as a Psychotherapist with CHM Therapy, contracting with Concordia and Wilfrid Laurier University, supervising undergraduate and graduate student practicum, and professional supervision. Adrienne is a Reiki practitioner and she completed her Bachelor of Arts Honours Music (voice), Mount Allison University (1997), Honours Bachelor of Music Therapy (1999) and Master of Music Therapy (2003) and CBT Certificate (2019) at Wilfrid Laurier University (2003). Adrienne created the Singing Well bereavement program, her research conducted in collaboration with Dr. L Young and Concordia University is published in Bereavement Care. Adrienne is a proud east coaster, growing up and studying voice, piano and choral singing in Halifax. Currently she resides in Burlington Ontario with Travis and they stay active keeping up with their teenagers, Bailey & Alec.