Call for Presentations

Conference theme

Amplify, Integrate, Evolve: The Voices of Music Therapy

Amplify: To expand, make larger or greater, louder or stronger

Integrate: To bring together in equal membership of a unified whole

Evolve: To change or transform slowly and over time, often into a better, more complex, or more advanced state

Music has the power to give voice to and amplify the issues that are important to us, whether at an individual, community or global level. It can take us on a journey, of exploration and discovery, growth, change and evolution. It can inspire us to action, and bring diverse voices together in unison or harmony to create a cohesive whole.

Each day, in clinical, research and educational contexts, music therapists consider the spaces that are co-created with clients and other clinicians, in and through music. Spaces that enable people to develop their own voice, hear others’ voices, and evolve deeper and more profound understandings of self, others and the world. Spaces that introduce new voices, rhythms, harmonies and songs, to bring new perspectives and ways of being and doing. Spaces that amplify voices of joy, pride, sorrow and suffering; and the voices of those living with conflict, trauma, oppression, discrimination and inequality. From group drumming for youth in detention, to playgroups for women and children experiencing domestic violence, community choirs for people living with dementia, to palliative care programs that support families farewelling a loved one from afar due to COVID restrictions, music therapy provides opportunities to bring people together, amplify the resilience and strengths of the individual or group, and transform a moment – or many moments - in time.

The AMTA Conference 2021 is celebrating the diversity of voices in music therapy - of music therapists, whether working alone or with other professionals and also consumers and clients, educators, researchers, students and advocates - and explores ways in which the voices of music therapy are evolving and/or coming together, and how music therapy is giving voice to and amplifying the issues and concerns that are important to people. So, whether your voice is well-known or emerging; whether you are providing face-to-face or telehealth music therapy services; whether you are working alone or with a team; with children, youth or adults; in a hospital, school or in the community; we invite you to consider being a voice of the 2021 AMTA Conference, and sharing your story and your experiences through the lens of the conference theme.

Presentation Categories

In 2021, we will once again be holding the Conference online. We anticipate that the online format will provide opportunity for music therapists from across Australia, and around the globe to be part of AMTA’s National Conference.

This year we are offering five categories for presenters:

  • Paper (15 minutes pre-record + 5 minutes live Question & Discussion Time)
  • Workshop (60 minutes live presentation including Question & Discussion Time)
  • Panel (45 minutes pre-record + 15 minutes live Question & Discussion Time)
  • PechaKucha (6 minutes and 40 seconds pre-record)
  • Leaders in Conversation (45 minutes pre-record + 15 minutes live Question and Discussion time)

These categories have been selected to provide a rich and diverse selection of formats for presenters to consider where best their presentation might sit. If you have multiple speakers addressing a topic, a 60-minute Panel Presentation may be more appropriate for your presentation than a 15-minute Oral Presentation. Likewise, if you are presenting the results of a study you have undertaken, or a “verbal poster”, then the short Pecha Kucha Presentation format might best meet your needs. Paper, Panel, Pecha-Kucha and Leaders in Conversation accepted presentations will be required to be pre-recorded. You will then engage in the question and answer time live at a specific scheduled time in the program.

Workshops will be scheduled fully live.

You will have approximately 6 weeks from presentation acceptance notification date to prepare your pre-recording. Pre-recordings will be due approximately 2 weeks prior to the Conference to allow time for uploading and testing.

For further information on each of the categories, you can click on the Presentation type.

Brief description:

Papers are traditional oral presentations lasting 15 minutes followed by 5 minutes question time. Paper Presentations will be streamed into sessions of 60 minutes duration, with three papers on a related topic in each session.

Detailed description:

Papers are designed for one to two presenters to provide a detailed presentation of research, a case study, clinical or professional topic. The conference committee will allocate Papers into a stream, with two other Papers presenting on a related topic. Papers are best suited to speakers who wish to pre-prepare a presentation and speak didactically to the audience. Papers are encouraged to include some sort of visual aid, such as a PowerPoint presentation, audio or visual material (as applicable). Oral Paper Streams will have a technical assistant to provide support with moderating the chat thread and the Q&A session at the end.

Brief description:

A workshop is a longer, interactive and participatory session in which presenters teach a skill or demonstrate new approaches, methods or tools. A workshop can focus on developing musical skills, clinical skills, supervisory skills, assessment or research/evaluation methods.

Detailed description:

Workshops are designed for presenters who wish to host an interactive virtual session, focusing on the exchange of information about a particular skill or technique. A Workshop should be hosted by a maximum of two presenters, with the intention to introduce and teach a skill. Workshops will involve active discussion between the presenter and the participants and can include practical tasks for the attendees to engage with. Workshop presenters should outline the skills or techniques that participants should expect to learn, and a specific take home message for attendees. Workshop presenters can utilise virtual breakout rooms to separate participants into small working groups. A moderator / technical assistant will be provided to support allocation to breakout rooms and moderating of the chat thread. Workshops should allow for breaks in longer sessions, and end with a Q&A session.

Brief description:

A panel is a crafted collection of presenters speaking on a specific topic, guided by questions from a moderator. Those wishing to submit a panel abstract should be prepared to articulate the topic of their panel as well as their proposed line-up of panellists and their moderator. Panel submissions must include their proposed presenters, though speakers can be finalised/confirmed at a later date.

Detailed description:

Panels are designed for presenters who have a desire and capacity to curate several people together to discuss their proposed topic. The conversation should be centred on a specific topic, such as a population, context, clinical issue or intervention, funding, or research idea. Panels must be guided by a moderator, but the moderator does not have to be the person proposing the panel. Panels should include two to four panellists, plus the moderator. In curating a panel, a diverse range of speakers should be selected who all have some form of experience on the topic and are interested in sharing this experience. For example, panels could involve an experienced clinician, a researcher, a new graduate, and someone with lived experience. Panels are designed to be dynamic, interactive conversation between the speakers and moderators, rather than pre-prepared presentations. The moderator’s role is to ask questions of the panellists and guide the conversation. Panels will each have a technical assistant to provide support with moderating the chat thread, and each panel will end with a Q&A session inviting questions from the audience.

Brief description:

PechaKucha is a presentation methodology for speakers who have conducted research or evaluation to share their work in a format of 20 slides for 20 seconds each (6 minutes and 40 seconds). PechaKucha is designed to be concise and focused on the ‘story’ of the research. PechaKucha sessions are perfectly suited to researchers, graduate researchers, minor thesis presentations, student/new grads, and evaluation/quality improvement projects. All PechaKucha presentations will be allocated to a session relevant to their research.

Detailed description:

PechaKucha sessions are designed for presenters who wish to share research findings in an engaging and concise format. The PechaKucha style of presentation translates to “chit chat” in Japanese, and the purpose is to “talk less, show more”, strictly limiting the format to 20 slides for 20 seconds each. Presenters must utilise visual imagery for their presentations and should consider the most efficient way to verbally deliver their research in the 6.40 minutes timing. PechaKucha sessions are perfectly suited to researchers, graduate researchers, and minor thesis presentations, as well as evaluation projects in clinical contexts. Each presenter will be allocated to a session with other presenters. PechaKucha sessions will have a technical assistant to provide support with preparing speakers, moderating the chat thread, and moderating the Q&A session at the end.

Brief description:

Leaders in Conversation sessions provides opportunity for two leaders in a field to offer contrasting perspectives on a given topic. Those wishing to submit for a Leaders in Conversation session should be prepared to articulate the topic of their session, the two presenters who will be speaking, their points of difference, and how they will approach and construct their conversation.

Detailed description:

Leaders in Conversation sessions provide a more informal opportunity for two Leaders in their field to engage in rich discussion and constructive debate on a particular topic. The conversation should be centred on a specific topic, such as a population, music therapy approach, clinical context, or other issue impacting the music therapy discipline and community. The two speakers should each prepare a short presentation presenting their perspective (approximately 10-15 minutes each), followed by a conversation about their differing perspectives and the questions that each raises for the other. There should be opportunity provided towards the end of the session for attendees to submit questions for consideration by the two speakers.

Leaders in Conversation speakers should ensure they have an agreed upon topic, and a clear difference in experience or perspective between the two speakers. Examples of pairings for Leaders in Conversation may include:

  • Two music therapists working in differing ways within the same field
  • A music therapist and another clinician working together within a clinical setting
  • A music therapist and a non-clinical staff member working towards a common goal
  • A music therapist clinician and a researcher

To inspire you and help you plan your presentation, here are some suggested topics for Paper, PechaKucha, Panel and Leaders-in-Conversation presentations; and suggested topics for workshop presentations.

Suggested Topics for Presentations (Paper, PechaKucha, Panel, and Leaders in Conversation):

  • Music therapy approaches
    • Resource-Oriented Music Therapy
    • Community Music Therapy
    • Neurologic Music Therapy
    • Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy
    • Psychodynamic approaches
    • Guided Imagery and Music
    • Anti-Oppressive Practice and critical approaches
    • Family-oriented music therapy practices
    • Emerging practices and approaches
  • Advocacy & advancing the profession
    • Culturally safe/responsive practice
    • Community-building and advocacy
    • Planning and policy
    • Research and evaluation
    • Supervision
    • Reflexivity
    • Collaboration / multi-, inter-, and trans-disciplinary practice
    • NDIS
    • Music Therapy & Allied Health
    • Training and Education
  • Justice-oriented
    • Lived experience and representation
    • Whiteness, race, colonisation
    • Gender, queerness and intersectionality
    • Disability justice, access and accessibility
    • Systemic and structural trauma
    • Pathologisation, deficit and ‘vulnerability’ discourses
    • Urban, rural, remote communities
    • Music therapist and participant perspectives
  • Music therapy contexts & settings
    • Aged care and dementia
    • Bereavement
    • Community
    • Disability
    • Early intervention
    • Education
    • Grief and loss
    • Infants
    • Interpersonal trauma
    • Justice system
    • Medical
    • Mental health
    • Neurodiversity / ASD
    • Oncology
    • Paediatrics
    • Palliative / End of life
    • Rehabilitation
    • Wellness & Supportive Care
    • Young people
  • Music therapy and technology
    • Telehealth music therapy
    • Virtual reality in music therapy
    • Technological advances

Suggested Topics for Workshops:

  • Instrumental upskilling
  • Emerging practice and techniques
  • Culturally safe/responsive practice
  • Music technology education
  • Clinical technique development (e.g. song writing, improvisation, song learning, advanced methods)
  • Assessment skills
  • Non-musical professional development (e.g. verbal counselling skills, business skills, marketing, NDIS audit process)
  • Age group or population-specific education
  • Supervision skills
  • Self-care/community-building
  • Research Methodology/undertaking real-world research
  • Grant writing and getting funding

Abstract Format

Abstracts should address the conference theme, must not exceed 400 words and must not contain tables or graphs. To ensure a blind review, please ensure your abstract does not contain identifying material. This includes reference to unique features about the setting, context, client or author, or the city in which the work/study has been undertaken.


Please include a brief biography, no more than 50 words.


Submissions are to be made online via the link at the top of the page.

Submission criteria and review process

Each abstract will be peer reviewed by two scientific committee members and ranked according to the following selection criteria:

  • Relevance to the conference theme
  • Contribution of new knowledge/understanding to the music therapy profession
  • Clarity and coherence of written expression

Successful applicant terms & conditions

Successful applicants will be offered a place in the conference program. Where possible, successful applicants will be offered their first preference of presentation format at the conference. However,, some authors may be invited to make their presentation in a different format. All presenters will be required to formally accept the invitation by registering and paying the conference registration fee.


Abstract submissions open CLOSED
Notification of Acceptance Monday 23 August 2021
Draft program available September 2021


Technical questions about submissions and program can be sent to the Scientific Chair Dr Lucy Forrest, at

Please direct all other program enquiries to:

AMTA2021 Conference Secretariat
T: +61 (07) 3255 1002

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters throughout Australia, and pay respect to the Elders past, present and emerging. We recognise the importance of connection to culture, land, kinship and community to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander families. We acknowledge the cultural practices and traditions still carried out today and being passed down to future generations.