International Symposium of Musicians in Healthcare

The virtual symposium examines how reciprocal music making, music experiencing, and wellbeing are intertwined in diverse contexts of healthcare.

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About the event

Through a wide range of contexts, cases, and approaches, we aim to advance a mutual understanding of the applicability of practices in the field of music and healthcare.

The symposium raises the following question: In what ways are professionals using music in healthcare, and how can the field be developed in terms of interprofessional and interdisciplinary collaboration?

The international and practice-oriented symposium is mainly directed at professional musicians working in hospitals and other care environments, but students and professionals working in the related fields are also warmly welcome.

The symposium is organised by the Centre of Educational Research and Academic Development in the Arts (CERADA) of the University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland.

Symposium is part of Year of Research-Based Knowledge 2021, a joint initiative organised by the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Academy of Finland and the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies. Its aim is to make research-based knowledge even more visible and accessible, and to intensify the collaboration between organisations working with research-based knowledge.


Session 1 Chair: Sanna Kivijärvi


Opening words: Research on musicians in healthcare by Krista de Wit, Prince Claus Conservatoire and Taru Koivisto, University of the Arts Helsinki


Keynote: On the professional performance of musicians in health care contexts by Rineke Smilde, University of Music & Performing Arts Vienna


Music in hospitals, where music performance, informal education and health meet: A cultural action model by Costanza Preti, UCL, Institute of Education


Building programs: Sensory Storytelling and Rhymetime programs by Kate Page, Sensorium Theatre

12:45-13:15 Lunch break

Session 2 Chair: Taru Koivisto


Promoting cultural well-being in Espoo Hospital by Sari Laitinen, MART / University of Helsinki


Training musicians to work in hospitals and reception centersby Philippe Bouteloup, Musique et Santé

14:15-14:20 Break

Session 3 Chair: Soila Sariola


Co-creativity: exploring the possibilities of working co-creatively with the Arts to support wellbeing for people living with dementia, care staff and artists by Julian West and Hannah Zeilig, Royal Academy of Music


Rucksacks, Toolboxes & Ghost Musicians – making music in healthcare sustainable by Philip Curtis, Embrace Nederland


Final words – Kiitos! Thank you!


Open discussion forum 


Sari Laitinen

  • MART (Music, ageing and rehabilitation team), University of Helsinki

Sari Laitinen is a music therapist, Fil Lic, interested and involved in the development and implementation of neurological music therapy interventions in stroke and brain injury rehabilitation and in dementia care in multiple research projects.

Philip Curtis

  • Embrace Nederland

Philip Curtis is actor, singer, theatre-maker and teacher. He was teacher and co-developer of modules for the New Audiences and Innovative Practice master’s degree at the Prins Claus Conservatoire, Groningen, including the Music and Dementia module. He is Co-founder and Artistic Leader of the Embrace Nederland Foundation, which promotes the sustainable use of music in healthcare and uses professional musicians and therapists to deliver musical interventions for vulnerable people of all sorts and trainings for musicians, healthcare staff and volunteers.

Kate Page (she/her)

  • Sensorium Theatre
  • Building Inclusive Communities 

Kate Page currently lives in Boorloo, on Whadjuk Noongar Boodjar (Perth, Western Australia). She works with Sensorium Theatre as a Senior Performer and as Project Leader, Building Inclusive Communities. Over the past fifteen years, she has developed a diverse and unique skill set as a performer, facilitator, collaborator, researcher, educator and arts manager. With a BMus in Performance from the University of Western Australia (2003) and a MMus in Leadership from Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London (2009), Kate has broad experience working as a facilitator and musician in formal education settings alongside her work in hospitals, in aged care, the disability sector and community & performing arts centres. Kate is the co-author of a 2014 publication ‘While The Music Lasts: On Music and Dementia’.  

Costanza Preti

  • HammondCare, Centre for Positive Ageing (NSW)
  • UCL Institute of Education (Culture, Communication and Media)

Costanza Preti is a Research Fellow at HammondCare, Centre for Positive Ageing (NSW) and Honorary Clinical Teaching Fellow at UCL Institute of Education. She completed a PhD in music and health at the UCL Institute of Education and subsequently worked as Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for research into the Arts and Wellbeing at the University of Winchester. Her research focuses on the interface between music, therapies, medicine and education.

Rineke Smilde

  • Hanze University Groningen, Research Centre Arts&Society
  • University of Music & Performing Arts Vienna 

Flautist, musicologist and music educationalist Rineke Smilde is professor of Lifelong Learning in Music at Hanze University in Groningen, and former professor of Music Education at the University of Music & Performing Arts in Vienna. Her main areas of research are biographical research in music and qualitative research in learning fields with ‘new audiences and innovative practices’.

Julian West and Hannah Zeilig

  • Royal Academy of Music, London
  • University of the Arts, London

Unmapped is a partnership between Dr Hannah Zeilig and Julian West. Julian is a musician and researcher. He is Head of Open Academy at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he is an honorary fellow. Hannah is a senior lecturer at the University of the Arts in London, and a visiting research fellow at the University of East Anglia. They have a particular shared interest in exploring the possibilities of working co-creatively with the Arts to support wellbeing. 

Krista de Wit

  • Research group Music in Context of Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen
  • Prince Claus Conservatoire
  • Foundation MiMiC Muziek 

Dr. Krista de Wit (PhD, MA)  is a senior researcher, music educator and a violinist. She teaches person-centred music-making in healthcare to conservatoire students and works as a musician primarily in the hospital and nursing home care contexts. Krista completed her PhD research into healthcare professionals’ experiential learning in participatory music practices at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna in 2020. 

Sanna Kivijärvi

  • University of the Arts Helsinki

Dr. Sanna Kivijärvi is a researcher and educator at the Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki and Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. She also co-directs Just Accessible Music, an inclusive music school and research centre, located in the USA.

Taru Koivisto

  • University of the Arts Helsinki

Taru Koivisto is a music therapist, music educator, and a research associate at the Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki. She has extensive experience in applying a wide range of music practices in education and healthcare, in public health, and in the area of arts, health and wellbeing. Her research interests also include hybrid working and learning environments, health promotion, and social justice issues. 

Soila Sariola

  • University of the Arts Helsinki

Soila Sariola is a singer and a musician. Her big interest is the artistic process itself and how art with its multiple layers is emerging in different environments. As a hospital musician she has worked mostly with early born babies and children’s departments. One of her tools to approach artistic holistic work in a hospital environment is improvisation. 


Contact information for the symposium

    • Taru Koivisto

    • Tohtorikoulutettava, tohtoriseminaari, musiikkikasvatus, MuTri-tohtorikoulu, Sibelius-Akatemia
    • +358505949042


8.12.2021 at 10:30 – 16:00


Link to event in Zoom: Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 695 0480 4322 Passcode: 081221

Further information

Register for the symposium by filling the registration form