An interview with Dr. Daphne Rickson and Dr. Sarah Hoskyns. - WFMT ECC interview



Penny Warren:

Welcome to the World Federation Music Therapy Education and Certification Commission Video Series. The following video aims to provide an overview of music therapy training, education and development of the profession in Aotearoa New Zealand.

My name is Penny Warren and I am a member of the Education and Certification Commission of the World Federation of Music Therapy for 2020 to 2023. I am thrilled to be able to introduce and talk with both Dr Daphne Rickson and Dr Sarah Hoskyns. So, just a little bit about my lovely interviewees today.

So, Sarah is the Programme Director of the two-year Master of Music Therapy Programme at the New Zealand School of Music, teaching Principles of Music Therapy, World Music and Music Therapy, and supervising practice and 2nd year Masters Research Projects in music therapy. Sarah is an experienced practitioner, teacher, and researcher in music therapy, and was previously Head of the Music Therapy Programme at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, in London until 2005. Sarah’s doctoral research uses qualitative case study methodology, to explore perceptions about the integration of practice and research in the training of Masters students in music therapy.

And Daphne, Hello! Daphne’s a registered music therapist and she's also Adjunct Professor in the New Zealand School of Music at Victoria University of Wellington. She qualified as a music therapist in the 1990s, through what is now Music Therapy New Zealand. Daphne joined the National Council of Music Therapy New Zealand in 1993. She was Council Chair from 1997 to 2002 and President from 2008 to 2012. Daphne has been instrumental in ensuring that music therapists were recognised within the New Zealand special education system, the establishment of the Music Therapy Registration Board, reviewing the Music Therapy New Zealand Standards of Practice, and the initiation of the Master of Music Therapy Programme at the New Zealand School of Music in 2003. Daphne achieved New Zealand’s first PhD in Music Therapy in 2010. Following the 15th of March 2019 terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, she supported the development of Music Therapy New Zealand’s Aotearoa Crisis Intervention Working Group. Daphne is currently the Australasian Regional Liaison for the World Federation of Music Therapy Council. She's recently retired from her full time, tenured position lecturing and researching in music therapy after 15 years of clinical practice and 17 years in academia.

So welcome to you both. Nice to have you here.

OK after that lovely introduction to you both, and thank you for being part of this video series, I wonder if Daphne, you could share with us about the development of music therapy in New Zealand?

Daphne Rickson:

Sure and thank you Penny. It's lovely to be here with you and Sarah.

When I trained in 1988, there was no tertiary music therapy programme in New Zealand as you have already suggested. There were a handful of music therapists who had travelled abroad to train in Australia, Canada, England, and the United States. Music Therapy New Zealand had started to facilitate what was called a music therapists accreditation programme. Now this accreditation programme involved working through individualised programmes for candidates. So, credits were earned by attending courses which culminated in the writing of a substantial essay, completing music skills examinations, presenting oral and written case studies, and doing a small research project. And then we also had an oral exam which was facilitated by examiners from fields of music therapy , as well as psychology.

So, I attended four or five of these courses which were usually offered annually. And they were residential in nature, so they ran for up to five days. So this meant that we were working with our facilitators and peers for at least 40 hours, and we could use our time relatively flexibly. We had the opportunity for experiencing group processing and other things as a team. And the course numbers were small, so the content could be individualised, and we had good opportunities for experiential learning.

So, it was a very different way of training to what is offered at universities. And it was a long time before we actually got the course established. As I said 1988 I started training. So, in 1992, soon after I had begun training I joined Music Therapy NZ Council.

I think that these things are really important because the way in which music therapy develops in countries where you know it's not well known at all is by people finding their own ways to train and also finding their own ways to be political advocates. The Music Therapy Council consisted of music therapists as well as friends of music therapy who were working hard to develop music therapy in this country. And the kind of things we did was bringing out international music therapy clinicians, researchers, and educators for the training, for conference presentations and workshops, and professional development. And we did a lot of work promoting the national awareness and understanding of music therapy by visiting institutions and government departments. So, we would go to universities, we would go and present to the Minister of Education, and the Minister for Health, to increase this awareness. And then we started developing documents for, and with, authorities like the Qualifications Authority, and eventually the Committee for the Universities Academic Programmes. But we also had our own Registration Board. An independent Registration Board, before even the course started. So, we developed the Registration Board in 2000.

So, in the early days, people didn't know much about music therapy at all. There were just a handful of us here. It was important to show potential employers what might be possible. So, I did this by engaging in small pieces of pro bono work in addition to anything that I could get paid for. And this kind of gradually became larger pieces of employment for me and for other music therapists. And we all gave regular presentations, and we presented at conferences. Not music therapy conferences, but special education conferences um and so forth. And, I think another really important thing to mention before I hand over to Sarah, is that in 1999 the Council supported me to do a tour, and to attend the 9th World Congress of Music Therapy in Washington. So, I was able to go to several places around the world. And then, while I was in Washington, I was able to make personal contact with music therapy lecturers from several countries. And it gave me a real international perspective on music therapy education and training. And I collected information for Council, like music therapy course content and structure, supervision issues, and salary scales. And I made strong contacts internationally with colleagues whom Council could call on for advice in future. So, you know there was a lot of work that was done, and before me too of course. Before 1988, when I started, where my interest in music therapy started. Music Therapy New Zealand was officially formed in 1974, so, you know, there was a lot of work prior to what I've described as well. I think it's really important to hold that in mind.

Finally, in 2003, the Master of Music Therapy programme was established at Massey [University] under the directorship of Robert Krout, and after Robert returned to the States, Associate Professor Sarah Hoskyns arrived. So, I'm going to hand over to Sarah to tell us a bit more about how the programme’s developed since then.

Penny Warren:

Thank you Daphne. Wow, it's really interesting to hear that history. Thank you

Sarah Hoskyns:

Ok, so, I arrived in New Zealand at the beginning of 2005, and I was in the middle of helping develop courses towards Masters level thinking, from postgraduate diploma. Which wasn't the case for every course in the UK. But at that time, I think over five or six courses. And Anglia Ruskin University was the university that first established a Masters course. But at the Guildhall School of Music, I was involved in, and in developing the Masters training. And it was really interesting to have the opportunity to see what another course was doing in another country, around this idea of building clinical expertise but also keeping research as part of it. And I think I'd been thinking a lot about how does research happen? How to coach people towards it? Because I think I'd had a sort of interesting relationship with research in my own career. Of probably being really quite practical person overall, but always having an interest in research.

So, I sort of arrived at the beginning of the training course after Robert, Daphne and Morva Croxson, had been working really hard to establish the course in a secure university setting. And may I just note, they did an extremely good job because they created a situation where there were two lecturers. And I think initially, Daphne’s position was one where it was annually renewed. But I think there was always the framework that there is work for 2 lecturers to support the growth in understanding. And I think having more than one person has always felt like it's a really healthy space, because I think between the two of us over the last 16 and 17 years, we bought different strengths and different interests. And um, just I suppose, students are varied kinds of people, and so are we, just in different areas of clinical work, and interests in research that might be complementary. Like they are an important part of both students in training, but also helping the profession develop here. So, there was a strong basis for, you know, respecting research as part of the university training framework.

I think it's been interesting that it was set up in that way because in in the UK they were all begun as practitioner training courses and gradually research was established.

So, I think the New Zealand course started in an interesting place in world history of what training was like, and I was very excited to be part of this. You know, it was well established here and I should say, with a lot of knowledge and expertise, both from Robert Krout’s experience in America but also Denise Grocke’s experience in Australia, which bought a kind of strong Australasian set of knowledges, and how the course was going to be. So yeah, I mean, and it was interesting coming from another tradition because you realise it takes a long time to understand how cultures are built and developed. And so hearing Daphne’s description of it, and in every situation, it’s an important challenge to try and dovetail the way you train to the culture of the place. And you know, New Zealand has a small population that is quite widely spread so it's something that we had to think about. And we are particularly thinking about it at the moment as we are trying to resource music therapy round the country, in rural areas as well as city areas.

I'll take a pause as there is lots to say, but I think Daphne may have some thoughts about the actual training. So, what kind of courses we have and the way we are approaching that, which might be a useful next step.

Daphne Rickson:

Sure. I think the base, the core of what we try to do is probably, you know, very similar to other courses around the world. Where we obviously need to have very flexible music skills. And maybe that's something that we could discuss for just a moment. Where initially there was quite a focus in our programme on westernised music skills and qualifications that go with that. So, there was an expectation initially that there would be, that a candidate would have music qualifications. And we recognised that the flexibility and the ability to improvise, and to be flexible and adaptive with music, was really important. But music is central to what we do. Understanding music therapy principles is central to what we do. Understanding and being able to be a good researcher is central to what we do. And I think the uniqueness comes through culturally related practices throughout what we do. And I think that's really important that we don't just think that, you know, we have a World Music's course, which we do have, but increasingly trying to find out how that might centre uniquely around New Zealand Māori and Pasifika music and values and cultures. But that that isn't something that we put into the course and leave it . And that's what we teach to. But, you know, we very strongly hold the value that you know, the New Zealand culture, and Māori and Pasifika culture, needs to permeate what we do. So, there's a lot of standardised things in there, but they all have a very unique New Zealand focus.

Do you want to pick up there again Sarah?

Sarah Hoskyns:

So, the courses that Daphne’s mentioned just now include a Principles course. I think she was implying a Methods course using varied musical methods and exploring that in an experiential way amongst groups of students. That's our initial introduction to the field and the programme. And I notice, interestingly, that overtime, and the number of theories that we think about, and introduce to students, has developed in an important way. So, we try to introduce students to world authorities on music therapy and look at how their theories are being used. And we probably started off with three or four, and we are now using seven, eight or nine major theories of how music therapy is practiced in different fields of work.

I should also mention the diverse range of placements which Daphne and Penny have been involved in helping us recruit from different areas around Wellington, where we are based, but also around the country. And we have tried our best to make sure that we represent health areas, non-government organisations, education, some justice areas, and community based providers. And I think we are proud of having a good range of those, in the hope that those will carry on to be areas of employment for students. So, there's been a strong focus on trying to be really pragmatic about introducing music therapy to the students in a range of settings and then hoping that those will carry on. And I think both of you probably agree that we’ve had some pretty diverse and interesting placements. We’ve got placements in children’s wards in hospitals, we used one of the local prisons last year, sometimes in drug and alcohol support, definitely in schools, in mainstream schools and specialist schools, in some acute areas of health and adolescent health. You could probably add some others, both of you. But it’s been really interesting seeing who’s interested about it. There’ve been much more requests about it now because I think the word has begun to spread and people are more aware of it.

But, when I first arrived there were 17 music therapists registered, and it’s delightful to see we are nearer the 80-90 level. And of course, it takes time, but, you know it does feel like we are better known and we feel more strongly grounded in the registration process.

Penny Warren :

I was interested when you were talking about the impact early on, of the different cultural approaches to music therapy. So, you mentioned Denise Grocke and Robert Krout specifically. So, how has that developed and changed, or is it very similar?

Sarah Hoskyns:

New influences on..? Well, I suppose, what’s been interesting in recent years, has been having visiting music therapists who either examined our students, or have taken a role in visiting our training course. I remember Daphne had Barbara Wheeler come and talk to some classes and Mike Viega has a lot of influence on our thinking about arts-based research. And I remember, back in the day, that Mercédès Pavlicevic was an important influence. And I suppose it goes back to what Daphne said earlier on about the importance of international visitors for the original accreditation course. But in recent times our examiners and visiting lecturers have places in our course and have influenced us. I think Professor Kat McFerran and Felicity Baker have both had a strong influence on us by collaborating in research and acting as visiting researchers and being advisors to, you know, the whole frame of the school. So, Felicity did that job for us in recent times. So, I think our relationships with outside bodies has felt really important. I’ve named a few at the moment but I think we’ll all think of individual influences of our outside international colleagues that they felt really important. I’ve only one link in particular with Professor Lesley Bunt. Who I believe trained Penny back in Bristol.

Penny Warren: No you trained me at Guildhall

Sarah Hoskyns: I trained you. Oh yeh, but Leslie was there (laughter)

Penny Warren: But he was there yes (laughter)

Sarah Hoskyns:

But you worked in Bristol, didn’t you. ….I do remember that I trained you (laughter)…. Yeh, so Leslie and I have talked over time about different ways in which our own experiences have influenced our teaching and learning. And Leslie is a Guided Imagery and Music practitioner and has quite strong links with Denise. I think, you know, I'm aware of those influences which make me think and encourage students to go and take an interest and pursue those kinds of links. They get excited by it, and it seems important to their early practice. And our course has grown as an eclectic training course, um, which has had influence from a number of areas.

Now I wonder if Daphne would like to tell us a bit more about Community Music Therapy and your consultancy work, which I think has influenced our training a lot.

Daphne Rickson:

Sure. I think, just to add to what you've said that, our students research, as well as our own extensive research, really does guide our teaching. And as you said, you know, my experience, which was both practice based and research based Of starting out thinking how can we provide music therapy to people in geographically dispersed areas, ended up in being research around consultancy. Which moves you to thinking about Community Music Therapy, and then we're working with vulnerable people which moves us to think about Critical Disability Studies. And so, just, you know, remaining totally immersed in our own research and practice and really encouraging our students to explore different ways of looking at the practices that they're doing on placement. And researching the practices that they're doing and placement as well, has really kept us moving and expanding and growing I think in a really exciting way.

But I just wonder if I could just for a moment go back to placements. Because I think one of the things that might be really important for people who are developing music therapy in their countries is to consider, is the idea that there won't be supervisors for placements when you first set out to do them. And we've had to find really responsible professionals within the organisations who are willing to take our students. Eager to take our students. So, we're using other professionals; allied health professionals, or medical, or educational professionals, who provide supervision for the students while they are on placement. With always a music therapist from the course, or an external music therapist, as an additional supervisor. But that's the model that we've had to use because we can't just put students straight in to work with another music therapist. And I also think it's been quite an exciting dilemma that we do have a lot of organisations and institutions who ask for music therapy students. So, they’re clearly starting to see the value of the work. And it's not difficult at all to place students. But there also needs to be quite a balance of, you know, responding to that request and then making sure that that turns into paid employment and that, you know, these places don't continue to get perpetual students. So, you know, work creation, as Sarah alluded to. Trying to ensure that students create work from their placements. You know, that they can stay on after they've done some good work there and be paid for it is one of our goals too.

Penny Warren:

Yes, and I think what's interesting is, as was mentioned earlier, that the number of music therapists has increased since Sarah's moved here. So, we're now possibly around 80 music therapists thereabouts, from say, 17. And therefore, that indicates that there's probably been a great spread of um, the development of places that people are actually working in, in terms of music therapy. And could you just say a little bit about that, your observations?

Sarah Hoskyns:

Can I just say one thing about that, is that where we began, as Daphne’s alluded, with mostly placing students where there is no music therapist. But it's now a much more luxurious situation where we can actually place students alongside an experienced person. And that of course is very valuable for students to gain that benefit of seeing somebody who has got a framework established and is able to guide them around policies and practices. But I suppose students have also really impressed us with their ability to use that sort of reasonably flexible practical training, to dovetail it into their own work. And we've been really impressed by lots of individual music therapists who have set up very, very capable businesses, which are sustainable and likely to earn a reasonable living. Although we’d always prefer that they earnt more money. And could also create developmental opportunities for work. So, I think that we’re at that stage now where it would be really nice to be able to reward people for their sustained practice and to have higher level of responsibilities. But we are very proud of the work that our graduates produce. And people are going on to continue research too, so that’s exciting with people coming back to do PhD’s. So, lots of thinking in developmental terms about how research might move forward in this country.

Penny Warren: Yes, and it’s a big part of the training as well.

Sarah Hoskyns: Sure, yes

Penny Warren: Did you want to add anything else Daphne?

Daphne Rickson: I can't think of anything right now. As soon as we close I will (laugh)

Penny Warren:

Of course, of course. We probably all will. But I'm just aware that we're coming to the end of time and I want to thank you both for being available and sharing all your experiences. So thank you very much.