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 Melita Belgrave

Chair, ISME Commission on Special Music Education and Music Therapy

The commission on Special Music Education and Music Therapy was established in 1974. The Commission was established in order to contribute to the progressive development of music therapy and music in special education. In order to promote music in the lives of all children and adults in need of special support our mission is to:

  • Provide an international forum for the exchange of ideas regarding the educational and therapeutic professions, and their place within each country's musical culture;
  • Increase the visibility of international research and best practices in the fields of special music education, music therapy, and music medicine;
  • Stimulate international research connections and the initiation of international practice and education projects (e.g. exchange programs) between commission members;
  • Share contemporary technologies and products that enhance the musical lives of children and adults in need of special support;
  • Provide support for music educators and music therapists new to their professions via mentoring in both research and best practices, networking at seminar meetings and the world conference; as well as, between meetings;
  • Inform those responsible for funding and policy making of the significance of music for children and adults in need of special support.

During July 2016, 116 special music education and music therapy practitioners and students travelled to Edinburgh, Scotland for the 21st ISME Commission on Special Music Education and Music Therapy. The Commission seminar occurred over four days (July 20th-23rd) and involved presentations, research posters, workshops, and concerts by 67 presenters representing 18 countries. The theme of the Commission seminar was, Imagine the Future: Everyone Plays Music. Presenters provided full papers, research posters, and workshops on topics related to music therapy approaches, special music education techniques with various age groups, music-based technology utilized in special music education and music therapy settings, and cross-discipline collaborations using music. Additionally, concerts that related to the conference theme were featured throughout the seminar.

We have begun planning for the 2018 pre-conference seminar of the ISME Commission on Special Music Education and Music Therapy and hope that you will consider joining us. The commissioners for the 2018 conference are:

  • Melita Belgrave, United States of America (Chair)
  • Michelle Hairston, United States of America 
  • Markku Kaikkonen, Finland
  • Girogos Tsiris, Scotland
  • Kimberly VanWeelden, United States of America
  • Weichun Wang, Taiwan

The 2018 conference will be held on July 12-14, 2018 at The Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria. We look forward to having you join us as either a presenter or an attendee at the conference in Salzburg. Please consider joining our Facebook page and our email list to receive newsletters and information about the 2018 conference.