About this event

  • Date and time Fri 10 Mar 2023 from 9:00am to 11 Mar 2023 at 8:00pm
  • Location Royal Society of Medicine
  • Organised by Psychiatry

Join us for this two day event on music and medicine with UK and international speakers and facilitators.

The first day will be a conference, with talks and panel discussions, going through the neuroscience and psychology of music, and the evidence for clinical interventions in general medicine and psychiatry. There will an overview of the history of the use of music in medicine, and future possibilities will also be discussed.

The second day of the meeting will be an experiential day, consisting of workshops allowing participants to explore in greater depth particular themes of interest for them. This might be the integration of music in clinical practice, bringing music in medical education, or the practice of music therapy in various settings, such as trauma, and integrative work, neuropsychiatry, neurodisability, or dementia, all using different musical modalities.

There will be work on conflict and reconciliation, as well as easing the wounds of war and displacement, and the opportunity to learn more about the social and public health impact of musicians. Active participation and music-making will be encouraged throughout the workshops and there will be musical interludes during both days.

Key learnings attendees will gain about music and medicine: 

  • Learn the history and current state of affairs. 
  • Find out more about clinical practice and outcome studies.
  • Look into research in neuroscience and psychology.
  • Explore theories and future possibilities.

The purpose of this meeting is to provide an overview of the history of the fruitful interface between music and medicine, with a particular focus in emotional and experiential dimensions, going on to describe current practices, research and evidence, as well as considering future possibilities. This is a two day event, with the first day being a conference and the second day experiential workshops.

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View the programme 10 March 2023

Registration, tea and coffee
Welcome and introduction

Dr Gordana Milavić, President, Psychiatry Section, Royal Society of Medicine

The neuroscience of music

Professor Morten L, Kringelbach, Professor of Neuroscience, Aarhus University

The psychology of music

Professor Eric Clarke, Heather Professor of Music, University of Oxford

Panel discussion
Tea and coffee break

Music therapy in clinical populations: General medicine

Dr Lisa Wong, Assistant Clinical Professor, Arts and Humanities Initiative, Harvard Medical School

Music therapy for clinical populations living with dementia, and adults with mental health issues in psychiatric settings

Professor Helen Odell-Miller OBE, Professor of Music Therapy and Director, Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research

Panel discussion

The ancient connection of music and healing, or, why the musician was summoned before the physician at the healing temple of epidaurus

Dr Bruce Victor, Visiting Scholar, University of Cambridge, Former Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 

Music, medicine, arts, and sciences: On musical medicine’s fall from grace

Professor Darin Weinberg, Professor in Sociology, Fellow and Director of Studies, King's College, University of Cambridge  

Panel discussion
Tea and coffee break

Polyrhythmicity in language, music and society

Professor Richard Andrews, Emeritus Professor of Language Education, University of Edinburgh

A human medicine: Phylogeny, ontogeny, resonances and wholeness

Professor Colwyn Trevarthen, Emeritus Professor of Child Psychology and Psychobiology, Psychology Department, University of Edinburgh

Panel discussion

Musical performance by doctor musicians and friends
Close of day

For those who have pre-registered

View the programme 11 March 2023

Registration, tea and coffee
Welcome and introduction

Dr Gordana Milavić, President, Psychiatry Section, Royal Society of Medicine

Morning workshops

Music and trauma: Mending the wounds of war

Professor Nigel Osborne, Composer, University of Edinburgh

Creative practice: Ideas for educating the next generation in arts and health

Dr Lisa Wong, Assistant Clinical Director, Arts and Humanities Initiative, Harvard Medical School, Professor Aaron Williamon, Professor of Performance Science, Royal College of Music and Dr Flora Smyth Zahra, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Interdisciplinarity and Innovation Dental Education, Kings College London

The voice and the psyche: Sounds of the self

Tina Warnock, Vocal Psychotherapist, Post Graduate Researcher, Anglia Ruskin University, Founder and Director, Belltree Music Therapy and Professor Helen Odell-Miller OBE, Professor of Music Therapy and Director, Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research

Song as medicine: Metabolizing the ambiguous grief of adult children of refugees

Linda Thai, Mental Health Clinician, Storyteller, and Educator, Trauma Research Foundation

Medical music therapy approaches across the life span - NICU-MT, neurologic music therapy and MATADOC

Kasia Sikora-Black, Music Therapist, Director, Culture Development and Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead, Chiltern Music Therapy and Rosie Axon, Director, Life Support, Corporate Connector and Designated Safeguarding Lead, Chiltern Music Therapy

Sound affects - the therapeutic altered states of consciousness induced by sound and music

Lyz Cooper, Founder and Principal, British Academy of Sound Therapy

Teenagers, tech and trauma: Exploring the role of music therapy in adolescent mental health and recovery

Jonathan Cousins-Booth, Director of Education and Professional Affairs, British Association for Music Therapy


Afternoon workshops

The music of healing: Let the circle be wide

Tommy Sands, Folk Singer, Songwriter, Radio Broadcaster, and Political Activist and Professor Gabriel Scally, Associate Fellow, Institute for Public Policy

Building a musical toolkit for clinical practice

Dr Lisa Wong, Associate Co-Director, Arts and Humanities Initiative, Harvard Medical School, Katya Herman, Great Ormond Street and Professor Suzanne Hanser, Chair Emerita, Berklee College of Music

Community-based music-making for wellbeing: Insights from musicians working in socially engaged practice, and implications for medical practice

Professr John Sloboda, OBE, Research Professor, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Dr Jo Gibson, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Research Associate, The International Centre for Community Music, York St John University

Music and emotions

Dr Simon Procter, Director of Music Services (Education, Research and Public Affairs), Nordoff Robbins

Music therapy for dementia

Adrienne Freeman, Music Therapist, Barnet Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust and Alison Gabriel

Music, heart rate variability, and a cure for depression

Vera Brandes, Research Director, Paracelsus Medical University Salzburg

Integrating music therapy in the health services

Jonathan Cousins-Booth

Close of meeting

Optional film screening


Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St, Marylebone, London, W1G 0AE, United Kingdom

Registration for this event will close at 1:00am on Thursday 9 March 2023. Late registrations will not be accepted.

The agenda is subject to change at any time

If the event is recorded, we are only able to share presentations that we have received permission to share. There is no guarantee that all sessions will be available after the event, this is at the presenter’s and RSM’s discretion.

All views expressed at this event are of the speakers themselves and not of the Royal Society of Medicine, nor the speaker's organisations.

This event will be recorded and stored by the Royal Society of Medicine and may be distributed in future on various internet channels.


Domus reception

While you’re attending this event

Stay in the comfort of our hotel, Domus Medica, or hire one of our private dining rooms to socialise with your peers.

RSM members enjoy access to our enviable club facilities. For more information, please contact our team at domus@rsm.ac.uk or restaurant@rsm.ac.uk.

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