Learn about music through the life span

by Deb Bartlett

We know people are busy, and there are limited dollars for professional development. That’s why Room 217 hold a one-day only conference and packs it with content to educate, stories to inspire, and music to entertain.

Music across the lifespan – knowing that music literacy begins in infancy and stays with us into older age and even neurodegeneration – is the focus of this year’s Music Care Conference being held Friday, Nov. 8 at McMaster Innovation Park in Hamilton.  Organized this year by Room 217’s Education and Research Manager, Chelsea Mackinnon, the conference features two plenary presentations and a choice of two of seven workshops. Music Care Conference is a great way for caregivers to learn more about care through music via research in the field, and to meet and network with other professional, volunteer or family care providers.

Upon arrival, mingle, enjoy coffee and a snack as you listen to the Mountberry Ukulele Club. Grab a seat and settle in for a welcome and introductions, including hearing about An Instrument for Every Child, which ensures that children from Hamilton’s inner city have access to music education. Dr. Laurel Trainor’s opening plenary is on the importance of music in early development. Dr. Trainor is a cognitive neuropsychologist who is recognized for her research on musical development in children and infants, which spans perceptual, cognitive and social aspects of pitch and rhythm.

During your coffee break, stroll through the exhibit hall and visit with our colleagues in music care. The onsite music store will have great deals on instruments and music books, as well as some great ideas for you to integrate music into your day, whether for work or personal pleasure. 

After break, head back for Dr. Amy Clements-Cortes’ plenary on intergenerational music making. Leaders and participants from three unique contexts will share stories and research, so conference delegates will learn about Intergenerational Living at Oakcrossing, IMHope, and international music therapy.

During the meal break, access the music store and exhibit hall. If you’d rather keep learning, Room 217 will be holding a Lunch and Learn on the topic of Room 217’s Music Care Training, and how this baseline training can teach care providers how to integrate music into their scopes of practice.

From 1:15 to 3:40 p.m., you will have your choice of two of seven workshops. Delegates can attend: an interactive drumming and percussion workshop with Terri Segal, and learn why drumming and music-making is a creative outlet to express feeling, release stress and have fun; a session by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on how research is showing the many ways that music plays a role in health and well-being, as she guides you through musical experiences that can support wellness at any stage of life; psychotherapist and neurologic music therapist Melissa Tan’s session about music’s communicative capacities that she’s experienced in her practice with clients with autism, neuro-disability and neuro-rehab, learning disabilities, early development, and dementia; a session with music therapist Aaron Lightstone about how instrumentation, improvisation and other factors were curated to meet the needs of palliative care patients from around the world; fitness instructor Margo Glatt’s session how to create a safe, entertaining and balanced chair exercise program for older adults; Dr. Marshall Chasin’s workshop about hearing loss and how hearing in noise changes across the lifespan, including the implications of listening through earbuds; or for anyone working with or raising girls, Adrienne Pringle and Cathy Thompson’s presentation on Sing It Girls will show you how this program builds strong voice, nurtures self-confidence and learning skills.

After one last refreshment break, it’s time to head as a group one last time for the finale, featuring the soon-to-be announced industry musician.

Registration for Music Care Conference is open. Early bird rate of $125 for the day is in effect until Sept. 30. After that, registration goes up to $145. Our seniors (60+) and student rate is $85. Also, did you know that Room 217 offers group rates for five more people attending from an organization? Save 25% by coming with four friends or colleagues. You can access that rate by contacting Deb at 905-852-2499 or by email.