#OCMT16 Recap

I attended the Online Conference for Music Therapy this year, and it was fantastic! OCMT is an international conference that is presented via a webinar platform for 24 hours. OCMT follows Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and is designed to accommodate music therapists around the world. You get access to the recordings of the presentations for about a month after the live event, to catch the presentations that occurred during your bedtime. The platform they used this year also recorded the chat rooms, so you could see what participants were talking about as it happened.

For me, the conference started on Friday evening at 6 pm. I had plans for the night, so I didn’t join live until 7 am Saturday. I’d forgotten how exciting this conference is and what it’s like to chat with people and listen to presentations from people around the world. It’s hard to describe the feeling, but the energy rush I felt was a mixture of learning from different cultures, the short 15 minutes between sessions, all the coffee, and the sleep deprivation.

I came in on the middle of The Effects of Music on Pain: A Meta-Analysis by Jin-Hyung Lee, PhD, MT-BC, KCMT. He provided an interesting review and analysis of pain literature. One of the findings he reported was that music therapist selected music decreased pain perception, while patient selected music reduced heart rate and blood pressure. This was the only presentation that I didn’t get to viewing prior to the deadline, but I did email the presenter who sent me his dissertation that this presentation was based on. So I can review that later.

WFMT 30th Anniversary: Celebrating our History, Growth and Role in Expanding Horizons
Amy Clements-Cortes, PhD, RP, MT-BC, Music Therapist Accredited; Gene Behrens, PhD, MT-BC; Annabelle Brault, BMT; Anita L. Gadberry, PhD, MT-BC; Annie Heiderscheit, PhD, MT-BC; Aksana Kavaliova-Moussi, MMT, Music Therapist Accredited; Melissa Mercadal Brotons, PhD, MT-BC, REMTA; Baishali Mukherjee, PhD; Sumathy Sundar, PhD; Daniel B. Tague, PhD, MT-BC

It was pretty neat to see all of the presenters either live or through video. I’m glad I watched this one live because for me, the videos didn’t play in the recordings and the links to the videos provided in the chat room rarely worked. I had no idea of all the resources available on wfmt.info and Music Therapy Today.

Intermodality as a National Peculiarity: Russian Take on Music Therapy
Anton Cherepanov, MA; Anastasia Beltyukova, MA; Ekaterina Urlina, MA; Alisa Apreleva, MA, BMT, MT-BC, SBD

It was really cool to hear how music therapy worked in Russia! The video examples were quite beautiful, so I’m glad I watched this one live, too. It was neat to see the similarities in how music therapists were practicing in Russia to my own practice.

The Greek traditional lament in a child’s bereavement music therapy.
Mitsi Akoyunoglou-Christou, PhD, Registered Music Therapist

This was a case study on using these traditional song forms in bereavement. There were excellent descriptions of her work and process.

Expanding Clinical Horizons through Evidence Based Practice
Caitlin Krater, MS, MT-BC, Katherine Myers-Coffman, MS, MT-BC

This presentation gave a really useful process for evaluating research and incorporating it into practice. The presenter showed how she organized research articles she read.

Insight into Working with Oncology Patients: Evidence Based Practice and Personal Experience
Lisa M. Gallagher, MA, MT-BC

This was one of my favorite presentations. Lisa talked about her personal story and related it to music therapy practice with oncology.

Unpacking the tacit knowledge of music therapists working with parent-child dyads
Carol Ann Blank, ABD (Drexel University), MMT, MT-BC

This one had good information, but the presentation style was a bit difficult to attend to, as the presenter read to us.

Active Music Therapy in the Treatment of Physical Improvement in Rehabilitation
Demian Kogutek, BMT, MMT, Music Therapist Accredited

By now, I’d attended 8 consecutive presentations and was in conference overload. This one discussed Parkinson’s disease and music therapy research.

Neurologic Music Therapy – Addressing the Movement Differences of Autism While Assuming Competence
Karyn (Casey) DePriest, MT-BC

This presentation discussed research that shows the cerebellum is larger than the frontal lobe in people with autism.

A couple days later, I started watching the videos. Opening session for an online conference is much different than a live concert. There were introductions of the organizing committee, tech troubleshooting, and an overview of the history of OCMT. It was started by John Lawrence and volunteers because he was not able to attend conferences in person. Now it’s a 501(c)3 Nonprofit. OCMT began in 2011 and continued in 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016. The platform had a whiteboard where slides would be shown and a sidebar on the right with a video of the presenters and a chat box. There were attendees from Alberta, New Jersey, Kansas, Texas, Illinois, Ontario, Ohio, Brisbane, Nova Scotia, Nepal, Belarus, Greece, Korea, and Russia.

Keynote 1
Dr. Dale Taylor, Ph.D.

RCT, ABC, or MRI: What is the Best Evidence for Music Therapy?

Dr. Taylor described evidence, what it should do, and why it is needed. He examined and compared four sources of evidence used to support music therapy: 1. Outcomes and results, 2. Credentialing, 3. Adopting names of the interventions and associating them with music therapy, 4. Empirical research evidence. Theory provides new ideas to be tested. Research tests ideas stated in theory. Practice applies research findings. Evidence for music therapy MUST be scientifically verifiable, generate observable changes, account for why music is therapeutic, applies to ALL client populations, understandable to non-music therapy colleagues, and separate music therapy from all other uses of music. Music therapy is a treatment, not an activity. He then suggested that the answer to all of this is a biomedical theory of music therapy and explained his reasons for believing this.

Autism Discourse: Ethically Navigating Hot Button Topics in the Autism Community
C.J. Shiloh, MT-BC

CJ reviewed the AMTA Code of Ethics, specifically where it states that music therapists are to respect others in other professional organizations. She discussed Autism Speaks problems and how to navigate them while remaining ethical. One neat idea that she mentioned from autism conferences was color-coded nametags that indicate one’s ability/desire to socialize. Green means the participant is open to socialization. Yellow means the participant is only willing/able to socialize with people he/she knows. Red means no socialization. The participants are able to change the colors as needed throughout the conference.

Finding the Light, Letting it Shine!
Carolyn Bowes MT-BC

This one reviewed music therapy with patients who had late stage dementia. It reviewed very basic concepts like how to assess and care plan for patients with end stage dementia.

The Importance of Understanding Auditory Processing in Music Therapy
Lillieth Grand, MS, MT-BC

Lillieth explained auditory processing in detail and why music therapists should specialize in treating it. She gave some really great information about this!

V+E+R=O: A four-step formula to help manage change throughout your career!
Tim Ringgold, MT-BC

Through storytelling, Tim shared how social entrainment works. He talked about change lag, which could be related to jet lag. External events occur that we have to entrain to. There is a rhythm to our days, and when change happens, our rhythm gets off for a bit. I took some really detailed notes on his presentation, but I don’t want to share all of his work–that’s his prerogative!

A Neuropsychotherapeutic perspective of Music Therapy: Translating research into practice.
Claire Stephensen, Registered Music Therapist

In this presentation, I discovered that the videos would not work for me in the recordings, and the links to the videos gave an error message. She gave some good models for treatment decisions based on what level of arousal and trauma the client is at and how the brain is functioning. This presenter was from Australia.

The role of music therapy in relationship therapy
Carol Lotter, MMus(Music Therapy), HPCSA registered music therapist, Fellow of the Association for Music and Imagery

The presenter described four couples she worked with from a strength-based perspective. I couldn’t see the video examples, but I liked hearing about music therapy in South Africa.

Expanding music therapy research in the surgical arena
Jaclyn Bradley Palmer, MM, MT-BC

This was a good presentation. She offered one patient-preferred song before surgery and investigated what effect if it would have. She compared live and recorded music and found that anxiety reduced with both. There was no effect on the amount of anesthesia used. Patient satisfaction was universally high. Control group participants were affected positively because they received a phone call asking their music preferences, assessed their anxiety level, and received a special welcome when they came to have surgery. Time spent in recovery was 12.4 minutes quicker for those that received live music. Check out her work at musictherapyhealth.com.

Keynote 2
Dr. Mercedes Pavlicevic

Improvising and Extemporising: Negotiating music therapy professions, praxes, and discourses.

She talked about access to the profession, how we speak about it, and how music therapy is perceived. She said music therapists need to make sense to whom they are speaking. Praxes means an integration of theory, approach, and practice.

I rarely attend EVERY session in a conference, but I felt compelled to do so for OCMT. Some of them, had I attended live, I might not have stayed the whole time. But I kept looking for something I could use in each presentation. Other presentations were fantastic! I felt energized after attending those, like I do when I attend a good conference in person. Fifteen minutes between sessions is a tough timeline, and 24 hours is a loooonnnggg time to be sitting at my computer. OCMT is a great way to see international speakers and to get continuing education credits from the comfort of your own home. I did not have to find babysitting, but it was easier to pay attention when he was out with Daddy those days. I recommend finding a balance between attending live and making sure to view the recordings within the 30 days post conference.