Town Hall - Music Education & Mental Wellness

February 23, 2021

Music has a well-established and increasingly utilized ability to help people of all ages and stages of life cope with challenges and foster mental wellness. Given that the restrictions of the current global pandemic have added significant levels of stress and strain to teaching and learning, this live MusiCounts Learn Town Hall brought together perspectives from music educators and music therapists, for an open conversation about how teachers can use music to support their students’ - and their own - mental health needs during this difficult time.

Moderated by Nick Godsoe (Manager of Programs & Education, MusiCounts)


Dr. SarahRose Black

Music Therapist & Psychotherapist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON

Dr. SarahRose Black is a certified music therapist and registered psychotherapist, specializing in palliative care and psychosocial oncology at both the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Kensington Hospice in Toronto. She is a pianist, vocalist, violinist, and music health educator, and has performed, taught, and presented on her clinical work and research across Canada. SarahRose’s research interests include music therapy and assisted dying, and the role of group music therapy for adolescents and young adults with cancer. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy, and currently trains graduate music therapy students, along with providing music therapy and psychosocial care in her clinical practice.

Kathy Conway-Ward

Music Educator, St. Matthew's School, St. John’s, NL

Kathy Conway-Ward is a music teacher, oboist, singer, and proud Newfoundlander. In an 18 year career as a music education specialist, Kathy has taught K-12 music in various contexts, including classroom music, choir, concert band, jazz band, string orchestra, and more. Currently, she teaches K-7 classroom and choral music at St. Matthew's School in St. John’s. A graduate of Memorial University, she holds a Master of Education degree in Teaching and Learning (music education and social justice, focus on restorative justice), and conjoint Bachelors degrees in Music (Oboe Performance) and Music Education. As an oboist, Kathy has been a long time member of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with many musical ensembles in St John's. As well, she sings Alto 2 with Lady Cove Women’s Choir.

Dr. Bina John

Assistant Professor of Music Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

Dr. Bina John is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto. She teaches undergraduate/graduate courses in Music and Urban Engagement, Psychological Foundations, Social Psychology of Music, and Music in Childhood. She is the Co-Chair for the Anti-Racism & Anti-Oppression Committee at the Faculty of Music. Currently, Dr. John is working on several collaborative research projects; providing youth residing in detention centers access to music education, developing music curriculum for a mixed reality video game for children with cerebral palsy; and exploring experiences of performing during the COVID-19 pandemic across three distinct groups of athletes, pianists and vocalists.

Steve Holmberg

Music & Media Production Teacher, Learning Alternatives School, Nanaimo, BC

Steve Holmberg is a musician and music educator who lives, learns and plays on the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw, Stz’uminus, and Snaw-naw-as Nations. As a working musician Steve has had the opportunity to play and perform a myriad of music styles with a number of creative musicians both locally and abroad. As an educator, Steve has had the opportunity to teach music to students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 in various ensembles including Concert Band, Jazz Band, Contemporary Ensemble, Guitar and General Music. Steve currently has the privilege to teach in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District on beautiful Vancouver Island. In SD 68, Steve runs Alt68 Studios as part of the district’s Learning Alternatives program where he engineers and produces students as they create, perform and record music that they connect with.


Looking for More?

MusiCounts Learn holds national conversations on topics that matter to music educators. Tune in to past Town Hall events and engage with the community of music educators across the country.

This Town Hall was Presented by