Interdisciplinary dialogues in music, health and wellbeing: Difficulties, challenges and pitfalls

Giorgos Tsiris, Philippa Derrington, Pete Sparkes, Neta Spiro, Graeme Wilson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In recent years, there has been an increased interest in interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration within the area of music, health and wellbeing. This interest is reflected in, and has led to, collaborative practice and research initiatives, as well as emerging multi-professional networks and related conference themes. Interdisciplinary dialogue, however, remains a difficult task; it requires learning (and re-learning) of concepts, ways of thinking and practicing, while it is often underpinned by different (and, at times, competing) professional vocabularies, frameworks and agendas. Although these challenges create barriers to optimal interdisciplinary dialogue, they are rarely discussed. This paper explores some common difficulties, challenges and pitfalls in interdisciplinary dialogue, with the aim to identify emerging opportunities and areas for further mutual exchange and development within music, health and wellbeing.

The paper brings together multiple perspectives of presenters from diverse professional backgrounds (to include music therapy, psychology of music and community music). Based on examples from presenters’ work and with a focus on the UK scene, the paper will consider some difficulties, challenges and pitfalls in interdisciplinary dialogue with regard to five inter-related areas: 1) academic training of music and health practitioners, 2) interdisciplinary practice projects, 3) collaborative research, 4) academic publishing, and, 5) professional expectations. Drawing from their diverse experiences and areas of expertise, presenters will pose some critical questions forming the basis for an open discussion with the audience. By exploring potential barriers to interdisciplinary dialogue, this paper will raise awareness of the difficulties, challenges and pitfalls involved. Looking ahead it will also point towards opportunities for development and highlight considerations for future collaborations in practice, research, and training.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 21st International Seminar of the ISME Commission on Special Music Education and Music Therapy
Subtitle of host publicationDrake Music Scotland and University of Edinburgh Edinburgh, Scotland 20-23, July 2016
EditorsMelita Belgrave
Place of PublicationGlasgow
ISBN (Electronic)9780994205575
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jan 2017
EventInternational Society for Music Education 2016: Preconference seminar on Special Music Education & Music Thera - University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 20 Jul 201623 Jul 2016


ConferenceInternational Society for Music Education 2016: Preconference seminar on Special Music Education & Music Thera
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • health and wellbeing
  • music
  • interdisciplinary dialogue
  • challenges


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