2023 Student/Intern/Supervisor Conference

Event Date:

October 21, 2023

Event Time:

9:00 am

Event Location:

WLU Faculty of Music (Aird Building A220 and A221)

Join the MTAO and a variety of incredible guest speakers at the 2023 Student, Intern, Supervisors Conference! Taking place both virtually and in person at Wilfrid Laurier University, the SISC is an opportunity to learn, reflect, and engage within the wider music therapy community. Featuring a wide variety of topics and local, and international presenters, this conference is sure to have something for everyone. This year’s SISC is truly embracing the hybrid model and will offer both in person and virtual learning and networking opportunities in addition to recordings of each presentation which participants will have access to for a limited time following the event.


All content will be provided both in-person and online, unless otherwise stated. Recordings of all presentations will be provided to all registrants.

Please note that the schedule is subject to some small last-minute changes as we iron out all of the details.


In Person




Registration/signing on


Joy Without Demands: Insights and Skills for Music Therapists from Therapeutic Clowning

 In person and presented live to virtual participants via zoom

Presented by: Callahan Connor & Andrew Gaboury


Transition Break


Let’s Advocate! Tips for Developing a Music Therapy In-Service or Informational Workshop

Presented by: Hope Pascoe

Promoting Self-Determination in Music Therapy Clinical Supervision

Presented by: Rebecca Townsend




Business Basics: What You Need to Start Your Own Music Therapy Business

Virtual and presented live to in person participants

Presented By: Julia Beth Kowaleski


Lunch Logistics


Lunch Break & Music Making Experience


Vocal Intonation Therapy for Spastic Dysarthria Post-Stroke: A Neurologic Music Therapy Technique

Presented By: Steffi Friyia

Music Therapy and Cortical Visual Impairment

Presented By: Tiana Malone


Transition Break


Panel Presentations

  1. Supervision Panel→ Sara Klinck, Amy Clements-Cortés, Adrienne Pringle, SarahRose Black, Chrissy Pearson, Jill Hedican
  2. Program Panel → Elizabeth Mitchell, Sara Klinck, Corene Thaut, Melissa Tan

Panels will have a combination of in person and virtual presenters. In person participants and virtual participants can choose to go to either panel. Presenter details outlined below.


Networking Experiences (In Person & Virtual Opportunity)


Awards, Upcoming Events/Things to Share, Thanks/Pre-closing


Imposter Syndrome – Our Dirty Little Secret

 In person and presented live to virtual participants via zoom

Presented By: Thyra Andrews


Goodbye 🙂

Other Info:

If you are a student and not yet a member of the MTAO, you are eligible to receive a complimentary MTAO Student Membership with your purchase of a conference ticket. Please email treasurer.mtao@gmail.com for more details.

Presentation Descriptions & Speaker Bios

Joy Without Demands: Insight and Skills for Music Therapists from Therapeutic Clown
Callahan Connor, MTA, NMT, MMT & Andrew Gaboury

  • This presentation and workshop will share key insights and useful skills from the domain of therapeutic clowning that may enhance the sensitivity, efficacy, playfulness, and rapport-building work of music therapists.  It is a collaboration between Andrew Gaboury, a therapeutic clown practitioner and the Acting Executive Director of Red Nose Remedy (a therapeutic clowning company in Toronto), and Callahan Connor, a certified music therapist who wrote his major research paper exploring the therapeutic use of humour in therapeutic clowning and music therapy (which was inspired by Callahan’s delight while shadowing the therapeutic clown practitioners during his internship at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital).  
    Relevant philosophical concepts will be explored, such as joy without demands, living well in the present, inner silence, incongruity, foolishness vs. beauty, the clown skin/mask, and red clown vs. white clown dynamics. The workshop component will introduce and explore therapeutic clowning techniques such as fixed point, empty pocket clowning, lazzi, and musicking as a clown.
    Callahan and Andrew are also longtime friends and artistic collaborators via the dance-theatre company Frog in Hand, and they are excited to share their vision of interdisciplinary inspiration, sharing, and collaboration between music therapy and therapeutic clowning with this community! 
    For more information on therapeutic clowning, you are welcome to visit Red Nose Remedy’s website: https://www.rednoseremedy.ca/

Callahan Connor is a certified music therapist, spoken word artist, composer, and performer, based in Hamilton. He recently completed his Master of Music Therapy from Wilfrid Laurier University (2022), where his major research paper explored the nature of the therapeutic use of humour in both music therapy and therapeutic clowning. He currently runs a group music therapy program that he started at a homeless shelter in Cambridge, and also works in palliative care. He is cultivating a resource-oriented, client-centered, and psychodynamic approach to his therapeutic work, and he believes in the power of the arts to connect us with deep and dignified inner resources of resilience, joy, meaning, and community.

Andrew Gaboury is a performer, writer and educator based in Port Credit, Mississauga. The desire to bring a sense of wonder and joy to the everyday is central to his practice. As a performer, he employs techniques from theatrical clown, collective creation, dance, puppetry and community arts. As a writer, Andrew has explored a variety of mediums, including playscript, poetry, and most recently a video game. Andrew is a company member with Mississauga-based, site-specific dance-theatre company Frog In Hand. He is Acting Executive Director and a therapeutic clown practitioner with Red Nose Remedy – a company founded by award-winning clown Helen Donnelly. He is also a member of Kathleen LeRoux‘s team of elder clowns. Since March 2021, Andrew has worked with MABELLEarts and Derek Kwan to bring the practice of social therapeutic clowning to their community.

Let’s Advocate! Tips for Developing a Music Therapy In-Service or Informational Workshop
Hope Pascoe, MTA, MA, BMT

  • A music therapy in-service is a great opportunity for students and interns to build their skills as an advocate for music therapy while increasing workplace and public awareness of music therapy as a healthcare profession. Yet for many, the idea of putting together a presentation about music therapy and doing public speaking about music therapy is intimidating. This presentation will help you overcome your fears and feel prepared to share your love of music therapy in your workplace or community. It will provide an overview of the steps to creating a music therapy in-service or informational workshop and provide an outline template, resources for building your presentation, and examples of how to make your workshops interactive, engaging, and informative. It will conclude with a discussion on the value of music therapy advocacy and what you can learn from being a music therapy advocate as a student or intern that will help you thrive in a career in music therapy.

Hope Pascoe (MTA, MA, BMT) is currently serving as the secretary to the Board of Directors for the Music Therapy Association of Ontario and is the editor of the Canadian Association of Music Therapists’ MTAdvocate Newsletter. She completed her undergraduate in Music Therapy at WLU and her Masters in Music and Health at the University of Toronto completing a research project investigating the use of Neurologic Music Therapy for improving speech symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease. Hope is passionate about music therapy advocacy and music for mental health, and she is currently pursuing further education toward becoming a Registered Psychotherapist.

Promoting Self-Determination in Music Therapy Clinical Supervision
Rebecca Townsend, MME, MT-BC

  • Self-Determination is defined as “a dispositional characteristic manifested as acting as the causal agent in one’s life” (Shogren et al., 2015 p. 258). Causal agents make or cause things to happen by acting in service to freely chosen goals that support their own vision for their life. Experts in self-determination continually advocate that all people should receive support to be self-determined (Shogren & Raley, 2022). Therefore, supporting student music therapists to self-direct their learning in clinical practicum experiences (e.g., in the domains of musicianship, facilitation/delivery, professional skills) could alter the way supervision is conducted. Shifting the responsibility for ensuring clinical growth from supervisor to supervisee could potentially lead to more motivated and invested students, and more fulfilling practicum experiences. Causal Agency Theory is a theoretical framework positing that repeatedly engaging in self-regulated problem-solving, with supports as necessary, enables the development of self-determination (Shogren et al., 2015). An evidence-based intervention designed to operationalize Causal Agency Theory in practice called the Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction (SDLMI) will be introduced and described (Shogren et al., 2019, Wehmeyer et al., 2000). Findings and potential implications of feasibility study using the SDLMI in the context of music therapy supervision will be shared. The purpose of the study was to examine the preliminary impact on student music therapist self-determination, goal attainment, and perception of personal and clinical development. This study provides a novel addition to both the self-determination and supervision literature while laying the groundwork for future research and expanding practice.

Rebecca Townsend, MME, MT-BC has 5+ years of experience as music therapist serving people of all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities and has served as a clinical supervisor. She is currently a PhD student in Special Education at the University of Kansas and a Research Fellow at the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities (KUCDD). Her research interests include supporting clinician self-determination in education, training, and professional development contexts, promoting self-determination through music therapy intervention, and inclusive music education for students with diverse support needs.

Business Basics: What You Need to Start Your Own Music Therapy Business
Julia Beth Kowalski, BMT, MA, NMT-f, MTA

  • The thought of starting a music therapy business can be overwhelming. Where do you start? What do you need? How do you grow? This presentation will outline the initial steps you need to start a basic business in Ontario. We will discuss some of the benefits to owning and operating your own business and also identify the challenges of starting and maintaining a business. Finally, we will talk about some of the non-clinical skills and resources you should consider before you choose to embark on the journey of a business owner!

Julia Beth Kowaleski is an experienced music therapy business owner. She founded the first music therapy practice on the island of Antigua in 2011. In 2017, after completing the masters of music and health science with a certificate in the Collaborative Program of Neuroscience from the University of Toronto, she opened Julia’s Place Music Therapy in Brampton, Ontario. Julia served as president of the Music Therapy Association of Ontario for six years and is currently a PhD candidate. She is passionate about helping music therapists create sustainable, thriving businesses so they can have decent living wages for themselves and employees.

Vocal Intonation Therapy for Spastic Dysarthria Post-Stroke: A Neurological Music Therapy Technique
Steffi Friyia, MA, BMT, MTA, NMT

  • This presentation will provide information on stroke, dysarthria, and specifically spastic dysarthria. The basics of Vocal Intonation Therapy (VIT) and Neurologic Music Therapy will also be covered. The presenter will use a case study to walk through the research, including the purpose of the study, methodologies used, hypothesis, and outcomes. The application of VIT in translational research as well as potential for future studies will also be examined further. There will also be a brief demonstration on some VIT exercises for clinical use.

Steffi Friyia is a recent MA graduate of the Music and Health Sciences program at the University of Toronto. She has been a certified music therapist for 10 years and has worked with a variety of client populations. She is grateful for the honour of working with so many clients over the years and looks forward to sharing some of the research she did during her year of study. She is currently leading the Toronto-Area Music Therapists and is the Vice-President of the MTAO Board of Directors.

Music Therapy and Cortical Visual Impairment
Tiana Malone, MTA, MMus

  • Cortical Visual Impairment is the leading cause of significant vision loss in children. It is a neurological visual disorder caused by lesions in the visual pathways/visual cortex, representing a difficulty in processing and interpreting visual information. Furthermore, difficulty processing auditory, tactile, and visual feedback at the same time is common, with clients often relying on their auditory sense to understand and interact with their environment. The recommended therapy for this diagnosis is daily periods of targeted vision stimulation. Given the clientele’s strengths in the auditory domain, and the multisensory nature of music, a case will be made for the strong role music therapists can play in rehabilitation for this diagnosis in pediatric settings. This presentation will explore the use of in person and virtual music therapy in conjunction with this targeted vision rehabilitation at a school for children with vision impairments linked with a rehabilitation centre. We will explore strategies, materials, resources, and specific case examples. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the students with a CVI diagnosis were not able to attend school or rehab regularly, if at all. In summer months, families did not attend in person sessions, again due to concerns for safety due to COVID-19. The virtual music therapy offering met the safety and rehabilitation needs of this clientele. Furthermore, the potential for caregiver involvement and in home coaching in the rehabilitation process, as well as the benefits of incorporating music therapy techniques and strategies for this clientele became apparent. Discussion of inclusion of music therapy as part of CVI vision rehabilitation programs.

Tiana Malone holds degrees in music and music therapy. After performing and teaching in Canada, Tiana pursued music therapy studies, becoming a Certified Music Therapist. She honed her work in Minnesota working at MacPhail Center for Music. After returning to Canada, Tiana continued to provide music therapy services across the spectrum of life – from premature babies to kids with autism, to teens and adults with mental health challenges, to end of life care. After teaching in the music therapy program at Concordia University, she now works full time in pediatric rehabilitation for Lethbridge-Layton-Mackay working with children and youth with auditory, visual, motor and language impairments. She is a mother to a bright four-year-old girl.

Panel Presentations

Supervision, Internship, and Learning Experiences in End-of-life Contexts
Sara Klinck, BMT, MMT, RP, MTA, Amy Clements-Cortés, PhD, RP, MTA, MT-BC, FAMI, Adrienne Pringle, MMT, RP, MTA, SarahRose Black, PhD, RP, MTA & Jill Hedican, BMT, RP, MTA

  • Having supervised NUMEROUS student interns in the context of end-of-life care in various settings (hospital, hospice, community programs, in-home), our panel of clinical supervisors aim to share some of the process of creating meaningful, supporting, and rich learning experiences for music therapy students in southern Ontario. We will include feedback received from students about their clinical placements and highlight topics such as: 1) common challenges, questions and issues that arise within end-of-life care and bereavement work; 2) resources that help students prepare to do, or process, death-related work; 3) some effective supervisory approaches, and what is helpful for supervisors themselves as they support students in this field; 4) how to help students develop their therapeutic approach while managing some tricky logistics in these contexts; and 5) additional unique considerations and meaningful experiences in this area of practice.
Sara Klinck, BMT, MMT, RP, MTA, is a Registered Psychotherapist, Certified Music Therapist, instructor & clinical supervisor (Wilfrid Laurier University), with a private practice in hospice palliative care, bereavement support, long-term care, and community wellness programs. She has co-authored a book and several book chapters highlighting music therapy with the dying and bereaved. 
Amy Clements-Cortés, PhD, RP, MTA, MT-BC, FAMI, is an Assistant Professor, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto; Research & Ethics Chair of the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT) & Managing Editor of the Music and Medicine journal. 
Adrienne Pringle, MMT, RP, MTA, is Co-Founder of Beyond the Studio and Sing it Girls! She is a Registered Psychotherapist, certified Music Therapist, and experienced clinician, researcher, educator & clinical supervisor (Wilfrid Laurier University & Concordia University).
SarahRose Black, PhD, RP, MTA, is a Registered Psychotherapist and Certified Music Therapist specializing in oncology and end-of-life care. She is a clinical supervisor (Wilfrid Laurier University) and editor-in-chief of the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy.
Jill Hedican, BMT, RP, MTA, is a Registered Psychotherapist, Certified Music Therapist and clinical supervisor in a hospital palliative care setting. Her previous role as Regulation Chair for the Canadian Association of Music Therapists informs her approach to clinical supervision.

Program Panel
There are numerous ways to build your tool-kit and further your education within the field of Music Therapy…Join our fabulous panelists in learning about some of the incredible program opportunities offered across Ontario.

Elizabeth Mitchell, PhD, RP, MTA, is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, where she coordinates the Bachelor of Music Therapy program. Liz has extensive clinical experience working in mental health treatment settings with clients of all ages. She recently completed a four-year term as the Ethics Chair for the CAMT. Her research interests include music-centred approaches to music therapy, including community music therapy, and the connections between music education, community music, and music therapy.
Sara Klinck, BMT, MMT, RP, MTA, is a Registered Psychotherapist, Certified Music Therapist, instructor & clinical supervisor (Wilfrid Laurier University), with a private practice in hospice palliative care, bereavement support, long-term care, and community wellness programs. She has co-authored a book and several book chapters highlighting music therapy with the dying and bereaved. Sara will be speaking about the PhD in Music Therapy at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is a current student in the program.
Dr. Corene Thaut, PhD, MT-BC will be speaking about the Masters in Music and Health – applied and science programs – at the University of Toronto. She is the coordinator of the applied masters program.
Melissa Tan, PhD Candidate, RP, MTA, NMT-f is a PhD candidate in Music and Health Sciences at the University of Toronto. She is researching music-based interventions for depression and suicide risk. Melissa will be speaking about this U of T program.

Imposter Syndrome – Our Dirty Little Secret
Thyra Andrews, RP, MA, MTA, AVPT

  • Moving from the position of student to working professional has its own challenges but adding another dimension to that process such as Imposter Syndrome adds quite another challenge. Some say it’s been showing up more and more lately or has it. Others feel it’s been here all along and we’re only now putting a name to it. This presentation will explore Imposter syndrome, its different types and symptoms and how to cope and cut through it, thereby successfully moving forward as the confident professionals that we are.

Thyra Andrews, is a Registered Psychotherapist who has her Masters in Music Therapy and is the President of New Song Music Therapy, an Ontario based practice serving 25 long term care homes for 14 years. With her 8 employees, the focus is quality. Thyra’s knowledge includes business development and team management.

Recognition Awards

Nominations for the 2023 SISC recognition awards have closed. Submissions for the Supervisor recognition award have been extended to Saturday October 14th. Nominations to the Student and Intern recognition awards will still be accepted until October 14th, however, preference will be given to nominations received prior to the initial deadline.

Student Recognition Award

The MTAO Student Recognition award is granted to a student in a music therapy program who has demonstrated outstanding dedication and leadership.

How to nominate

Two letters of reference (at least one from a faculty member):

  • How has the nominee gone beyond their regular responsibilities to demonstrate their dedication to the program and/or the field of music therapy?
  • What actions make this individual stand out as a leader?
  • Email education.mtao@gmail.com

Intern Recognition Award

The MTAO Intern Recognition Award is granted to a music therapy intern who has been recognized by a supervisor for going above and beyond during their internship placement.

How to nominate

One letter of reference:

  • How has the nominee shown dedication to learning and growth throughout their internship?
  • In what ways has this individual exceeded your expectations through the course of their internship?
  • Email education.mtao@gmail.com

Supervisor Recognition Award

The MTAO Supervisor Recognition Award is granted to a supervisor as recognized by their intern(s) or peers for exemplary dedication to their role as a supervisor.

How to nominate

One letter of reference:

  • How has the nominee demonstrated dedication to the role of supervisor?
  • What do you find inspiring about this individual as a supervisor?
  • Email education.mtao@gmail.com
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Event Location:

  • WLU Faculty of Music (Aird Building A220 and A221)
  • 75 University Ave. W.
  • Waterloo
  • Ontario
  • N2L 3C5
  • Canada

Event Schedule Details

  • October 21, 2023 9:00 am   -   4:45 pm
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