Music Beat Symposium

Music Beat Symposium

The annual Music Beat Symposium is an opportunity for Registered Music Therapists (RMTs) across Brisbane to gather, share, collaborate, and be together with the Music Beat Australia team for a day of information sharing, networking, laughing, eating, and engaging musically.

The symposium is also open to members of the Music Beat Australia community, from parents, carers, and family members to clients and students.

The symposium is organised by Music Beat Australia, led by Founder and Managing Director Dr Vicky Abad and convened by Catherine Vesic, RMT.

Vicky has achieved international recognition for her clinical work and research in the area of music therapy parent-child intervention and the impact of music early learning on family health and well-being.

Under her leadership, Music Beat Australia is proud to be supporting the professional development of RMTs, as part of our ethos of ‘developing every day’ to match the needs of the families and communities we work with.

Event details


Saturday 2nd December 2023


Music Beat Australia HQ, (NEB Church)
25 Chapel Street Nundah


Saturday: 09:00 – 17:30


$130 for Symposium

Event Schedule


09:15 - 10:15Keynote: Ash Rowbottom from Kindred Music Therapy
10:15 - 11:00Guitar glitter - Riza Partoredjo from Music Beat Early Learning Programs
11:00 - 11:15MORNING TEA BREAK
11:15 -11:45Management - paper or discussion of choice - Vicky Abad / Tara Cronin / Kate Fletcher-Becroft
11:50 - 12:30What Now? Building the practice of evolving - Katja Enoka from Music Beat Therapy Services
12:30 - 13:30LUNCH
13:30 - 14:30Pathological Demand Avoidance Disorder - Kristy Sanderson
14:30 - 15:00Managing chronic illness and mental health - Anna Kirkman from Music Beat Therapy Services
15:00 - 15:30Teaching and mental health - Kelsey Passlow from Music Beat Lesson & Therapy Services
15:30 - 15:45AFTERNOON TEA
15:45 - 16:45Art therapy workshop - Jane O'Sullivan from The University of Queensland
16:45 - 17:15Movement activity - Georgia Renee from Bloom & Flow Music Therapy
17:15 - 17:30CLOSING

The Symposium begins in:


Symposium convenor

For all symposium queries please contact our Symposium Convenor Catherine Vesic

Event Speakers

Keynote speaker: Ash Rowbottom

Ash Rowbottom (BPsychSc., BSocSc. (Psych.) (Hons)., MMusTh.) is a Registered Music Therapist and Director of Kindred Music Therapy, a mobile private practice offering trauma-informed services which operates across Meanjin/Brisbane. 

Ash is Chairperson for the AMTA (Qld Branch) and also offers clinical supervision for RMTs in the areas of business development, marketing, ethics and organisation.

Working in mental health as an RMT can bring some of the most valued and rewarding experiences in our careers. It can also be nerve-wracking and uncertain at times! We may wish to assist our clients and participants in the most inclusive way possible but find ourselves questioning all of our actions long after the session has ended. We may also aspire for more confidence and conviction in our personal approaches to mental health music therapy.  How can we navigate this?

During this hour together we will consider ways to challenge stigma not just in our sessions, but in our everyday lives.  We will reflect on inclusive mental health practices, and skill-building for music therapists. We will also consider the role of the trauma-informed approach to music therapy which informs not only my work as a music therapist, but also how I have specifically designed the structure of my private practice.  I look forward to collaborating with you at the Symposium.

Guest speaker: Riza Partoredjo

Riza Partoredjo is a passionate educator and musician who loves sharing the power of music with everyone in the community, from newborn babies, to great grandparents and everyone in between.

In her workshop, Riza will explore the following questions:

How does flow and mindfulness relate to well-being in our Music Early Learning Programs (MELPs)?

What skills help guitar-playing group facilitators (especially the glittery ones) create that magical sense of “being in the zone” for their participants, as well as for themselves?

Bring your guitar and be prepared to explore some ideas, tricks and thinking routines that might bring out your own inner “guitar glitter”.

Guest speakers: Vicky Abad / Tara Cronin / Kate Fletcher-Becroft

Managing change and expectations in music therapy: “The Music Beat Way.”

The past year has seen Music Beat Therapy Services set up and move into a purpose-appointed clinic, transition 150 clients and establish new services both in clinic, in home and in the community.

While change is never easy, it is one of the only constants in life. This presentation will reflect on how we managed these changes while keeping both our clients/customers and our staff front of mind.

Initiatives and learnings will be shared on ways to manage rising costs in a fiscally tightening business world, ensure staff wellbeing in a services output environment, and bring the magic that is making music to people while remaining true to ourselves.

These learning can be adapted to suit other businesses small and large, and individuals whether they work for themselves or are employed by a small or large organisation.

Guest speaker: Katja Enoka

Katja Enoka is a Registered Music Therapist and is Clinical Quality Innovation Manager for Music Beat Therapy Services. She has experience working in dementia care, disability, and mental health.

Her presentation will ask the question ‘Now what?’ Building the practice of evolving.

Evolving language and models has been a major focus within the disability and mental health space over the last few years.

Whilst we have all worked to change our lens, how do we build a sustainable practice that continually evolves with increasing knowledge of others in our society?

Join Katja for a reflection on where we have been, where we are now and what the future might look like, as well as considerations in taking collaborative work into reporting and advocating.

Guest speaker: Kristy Sanderson

Kristy Sanderson is a parent of two neurodivergent children and is passionate about learning about neurodivergence from adults with lived experience.

Kristy is especially committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) which is unique subset of Autism.

Kristy has completed a Masters in Community Development, a Graduate Certificate in Education on Strategies and Practices for Autism, and is currently studying a Graduate Diploma in Psychology.

Kristy has over 15 years’ experience working with people in crisis in Cambodia through her organisation Voice. In line with Kristy’s philosophies, Voice’s motto is “First, we listen”.

Guest speaker: Anna Kirkman

Anna Kirkman is a Registered Music Therapist with Music Beat Therapy Services. 

She is passionate about music’s role in facilitating learning and the potential to develop language and literacy skills in early childhood and primary school.

Anna will be drawing from her own life experiences to speak to you about the impact of chronic illness on mental-health, work performance and work-life balance.

Guest speaker: Kelsey Passlow

Kelsey Passlow is Lessons Team Leader for Music Beat Lessons + Tuition and a Registered Music Therapist with Music Beat Therapy Services.

In her presentation, she will be delving into the concept of mental health support within an instrumental teaching context.

She will explore the importance of using music as self-care for teachers, how to set boundaries with the people we work with (parents, colleagues and students alike) as well as teaching our students how to be kind to themselves, practicing and what self-care through music can look like for them.

Guest speaker: Jane O’Sullivan

Jane O’Sullivan – DIP. T; B. ED; M.A (Expressive therapies) Cambridge USA; Life member NETA; AthR originally trained as a music and drama teacher working at Somerville House.

Jane retrained as an Expressive Therapist completing her MA in Boston, USA and upon her return worked in the Child and Youth Mental Health Service at the Mater Children’s Hospital Brisbane for 13 years, working with young people and their families.

In 2004, Jane co-founded the art therapy strand in the Master in Mental Health Program in the School of Medicine University of QLD. Jane has continued her involvement as a lecturer and in 2012 coordinated the program for 10 years. She now supervises students completing their research courses in the prorgam.

Jane has recently co-authored papers in the Australian Journal of Creative Art therapies JoCAT online, October 2022 and the International journal The Arts in Psychotherapy, June 2023.

Jane has a keen interest in group programs and has worked with various client populations within her private practice including adult oncology, parents living with mental illness, adults at risk of homelessness and children from refugee backgrounds.

She recently finished working at a school in Logan QLD within a trauma informed practice facilitating individual therapy, group and class programs and is currently the wellbeing officer at the Samford Valley Steiner school.

Guest speaker: Georgia Renee Pitts

Georgia Renee Pitts is a Registered Music Therapist, Singer-Songwriter, Performer and lover of all things natural health, dance, expression and movement.

Newly based in Brisbane, Georgia spent 2022 travelling the east coast in her Campervan and continues to on her life-long journey of discovering what sets her soul on fire. Georgia integrates dance, music and movement as a form of self-expression and connection to her mind, body and spirit.

Her Embodied Dance workshop will encompass self-expression and connection while we individually and collectively embark on a journey guided by a carefully curated playlist.  Georgia will leave space for free movement and exploration as well as offer some guidance to help you feel more grounded in your body, drop out of your mind, more connected to your inner wisdom and feel open to move freely.

So kick off your shoes, close your eyes, turn off your phone, listen to, and feel the music. 

About the venue

North East Baptist (NEB) Church, Nundah

25 Chapel Street, Nundah (corner of Bage and Chapel Streets)

The Music Beat Symposium and RAMSR Training day will be held at the North East Bapist (NEB) Church, Nundah.

The keynote presentation will be held via Zoom.

There is some onsite parking with limited street parking available due to venue’s proximity to the popular Nundah Village precinct.

Public transport or ride sharing to get to the venue is recommended (especially on Friday).

Nundah train station is located within easy walking distance of the venue.


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