List of Faculty

  • Dr. Heidi Ahonen
  • Dr. Carolyn Arnason
  • Prof. Aimee Berends
  • Dr. Amy Clements-Cortes
  • Prof. Sara Klinck
  • Dr. Colin Lee

Faculty Bios - Heidi Ahonen

Heidi Ahonen

Director of the Manfred and Penny Conrad Institute for Music Therapy Research (CIMTR)

Dr. Heidi Ahonen (www.heidiahonen.net), received a PhD from Joensuu University (1998), Finland, and an MA from the University of Helsinki (1990). Heidi worked at the North Karelia Polytechnic, Finland (1990-2001) and established their music therapy training programme prior to moving to Canada in 2001, She also trained music therapists at Sibelius Academy, Finland (1990-2002), and psychotherapists at the Finnish Mental Health Association, Psychotherapy Institute (1999-2005). Since 1990, Heidi has lectured and conducted experiential workshops in the health care community and various Universities in both Europe and North-America.Most recently, Heidi has conducted Vicarious Trauma Workshops around the globe.

 Academic Interests

Heidi’s research program covers a wide range of qualitative music psychotherapy research, i.e. Group Analytic Music Therapy, and clinical improvisation, and evidence-based Music Medicine research, i.e. low frequency sound wave research (www.musicmedicinecollaboration.com). Heidi’s research projects have covered various clinical populations i.e. PTSD, psychological trauma, depression, burn-out, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and Vibromyalgia. Heidi has extensive clinical supervision and research supervision experience. Specializing in phenomenology, grounded theory, fenomenography, narrative inquiry, and arts based research, Heidi has supervised over 50 postgraduate/masters-level theses and research papers in 7 different Universities in Europe and North-America. She has been the external examiner/public opponent of ten doctorate dissertations, and served as an external examiner of CIHR, Canada, several scholarly journals, and other Universities’ arts therapy programmes, i.e. U of Hertfordshire and the Irish World Academy.

Heidi has published widely in psychotherapy, group analysis, and music therapy topics.  Her books include:

  • Group Analytic Music Therapy.Gilsum. NH. Barcelona Publishers. (2007)
  • Musiikki—Sanaton kieli. Musiikkiterapian perusteet. [Music—language without words. The basics of music therapy]. Finnlectura Oy. HKI.,3. prints. (2000/1992)
  • Samalle aaltopituudelle—kohtaaminen musiikin avulla. [To the same tune—meeting in the musical world]. Kirjayhtymä oy. Hki. (1999)
  • ”Musiikillinen dialogi” ja muita musiikkiterapeuttientyöskentelytapoja ja lasten musiikkiterapian muotoja.[Musical dialog and other working methods of music therapists and forms of music therapy for children]. Doctorate thesis. University of Joensuu. Faculty of Education. N:o 45. Joensuu University Printing House. (1998)
  • Löytöretki itseen. [Exploring oneself. Music, picture and movement as a tool of self expression and insight]. Musiikki, kuva ja liike itseilmaisun välineenä ja itsetuntemuksen lisääjänä.Kirjayhtymä Oy. HKI. 2. prints. (1994)
  • Taide Psykososiaalisen työn välineenä.[Arts as a tool of psychosocial work]. (Heidi Ahonen-Eerikainen Ed.). PohjoisKarjalan Ammattikorkeakoulun julkaisu sarja A/2, opetushallitus.Raamattupaino, Pieksämäki2. prints. (1994)


Undergraduate Courses – None

Graduate Courses – MU505, MU507, MU606

For a more detailed biography of Dr. Heidi Ahonen, please see http://www.wlu.ca/homepage.php?grp_id=1169&ct_id=1018&f_id=29

Faculty Bios - Carolyn Arnason

Carolyn Arnason

Coordinator and Graduate Officer, Masters of Music Therapy

Dr. Arnason specializes in teaching clinical improvisation and supervising graduate students in arts-based music therapy research. In addition to collaborative improvisation concerts, she performs duet repertoire on modern piano and fortepiano with her husband Professor Boyd McDonald, Professor Emeritus Laurier. She conducts psychotherapy sessions with adults using the music-centred methods of improvisational music therapy and the Helen Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM).

She has conducted research with international music therapists on their listening perspectives in improvisational music therapy sessions. Her current research areas include arts-based performative inquiry, the interconnections between musicianship and improvisation, and levels of consciousness in imaginal psychotherapy. She is developing a theory of improvisation called musical transparency that encompasses music therapy practice and improvisation performance.


  • Reflections on change in arts-based research: The experiences of two music therapists, co-authored with Deborah Seabrook. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Available: http://www.voices.no/mainissues/mi4001099143.php (2010)
  • Woman to woman: A music therapist’s experience of working with a physically challenged and non-verbal woman. British Journal of Music Therapy, 20(1), 13-21. (2006)
  • Reflections on spiritual dimensions in improvisational music therapy. International Journal of Community Music, Volume B. Available: www.intljcm.com/archive (2005)
  • Music therapists’ listening perspectives in improvisational music therapy: A qualitative interview study. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 12(2), 124-138. (2003)


Undergraduate Courses – MU454, MU464

Graduate Courses – MU506, MU601

For a more detailed biography of Dr. Carolyn Arnason, please see http://www.wlu.ca/homepage.php?grp_id=1170&ct_id=1019&f_id=29

Aimee Berends

Faculty Bios - Aimee Berends

Aimee graduated from Laurier’s  Master’s of Music Therapy Program (MMT) in 2013. She is especially interested the use of music therapy in crisis stabilization, music therapy in detoxification, and the use of clinical improvisation with clients in active psychosis.

 Major Model of Practice:

Aimee’s major models of practice include music psychotherapy, music-centered, and client-centered music therapy.

Specific Interests:

Aimee is interested in researching the use of orchestral instruments in music therapy.

Research interests:

Use of orchestral instruments in music therapy, music therapy in psychiatry.

Recent Publications: 

  •  Berends, A. (In Press). What do orchestral instruments bring to music therapy? Developing my voice on the oboe and English horn as a music therapist. Canadian Journal of Music Therapy.
  •  Berends, A. (In Press). Orchestral instruments. In Lee, C.A. & Pun, S. (Eds.), Creative explorations and resources for music therapists. New Braunfels: Barcelona.
  •  Berends, A. (2013). A collaborative exploration of the oboe and the English horn in music therapy at a mental health outpatient facility.  (Unpublished major research paper). Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo.

Fun facts: I am an avid runner, I love to cook and invent new recipes!



Faculty Bios - Amy Clements-Cortes

Amy Clements-Cortes

Dr. Amy Clements-Corteshas extensive clinical experience working with a variety of clients including: geriatrics, adult psychiatry, palliative care, children, adolescents and adults with learning disabilities and developmental delays, cognitive impairment, Parkinson’s, stroke, etcetera. Dr. Clements-Cortes has worked both in hospitals and nursing homes, including 17 years at Baycrest Centre in Toronto, Ontario.

Amy obtained her Masters and Doctoral Degrees from the University of Toronto. She has given over 80 conference and/or invited academic presentations around the globe at such venues as the World Federation of Music Therapy and the International Congress on Palliative Care. She has 16 peer reviewed journal publications, several book chapters, and has supervised over 30 music therapy internships, 30 undergraduate research studies, and 3 Masters students MRPs.

Amy is the Clinical Commissioner for the World Federation of Music Therapy, Vice-Chair and BOD Member for the Room 217 Foundation and serves on the Canadian Association of Music Therapy (CAMT) Board of Directors as Past President. Amy is on the editorial review board of the WFMT Journal and Music Therapy Perspectives; and is the Guest Editor of the Canadian Association for Music Therapy 40th Anniversary Journal; Managing Editor for Music and Medicine; co-investigator in the AIRS SSHRC Project; Assistant Professor University of Toronto, MAHRC (LTA), and an approved CBMT Provider.

Her business, Notes by Amy, was founded in 1995 and provides a variety of professional services including: Private Music Therapy and Guided Imagery and Music Sessions, Clinical Music Therapy Supervision and Mentoring, Music Therapy Courses, and Research Collaboration. Amy has recorded several CDs, her latest of which is Soothing Relaxation Journeys.

Academic & Research Interests

Amy’s main research areas of interest include: music therapy; successful, healthy aging and wellbeing across the lifespan; dementia and mental health support; arts in healthcare; relationship completion; singing for health; anxiety; burnout; music for sleep, relaxation and pain; music and technology; vibroacoustic therapy, clinical internship and supervision.

Current Research Projects Include: Buddy’s Glee Club: Phase 3; Rhythmic Sensory Stimulation and AD; and Taking Flight: Music Therapy Internship Experiences from the Eyes of the Pre-Professional.

Her recent scholarly publications include:

  • Clements-Cortes, A. (2014). Adultos en Cuidados Paliativos y Hospicio. In J. Allen (Ed.). Guia Para la Practica de la Musicoterapia con Adultos Bajo Atencion Medico. New Braunfels TX: Barcelona.
  • Clements-Cortes, A. (2013). Burnout in music therapists: Work, individual, and social factors, Music Therapy Perspectives, 31(2), 166-174.
  • Clements-Cortes, A. (2013) Buddy’s Glee Club: Singing for Life, Activities, Adaptation & Aging,37(4), 273-290, DOI: 10.1080/01924788.2013.845716
  • Gordon, M., & Clements-Cortes, A. (2013). Music at the end of life: bringing comfort and saying goodbye through song and story. Annals of Long-Term Care: Clinical Care and Aging, 21(11), 24-29. http://www.annalsoflongtermcare.com/content/music-end-life-song-story#sthash.H5Muf5JG.dpuf
  • Clements-Cortes, A. (2013). Freeing the voice within. Canadian Music Educators Journal, 55(1), 19-24.
  • Clements-Cortes, A. (2013). Luba’s theme. Imagine, 40(1), 70-73.
  • Bartel, L, & Clements-Cortes, A. (2014). Dying Healthy: Music in places of palliative care, In G. J. Andrews, P. Kingsbury, & R. A. Kearns, (Eds.). Soundscapes of Wellbeing in Popular Music. Burlington, VT: Ashgate. http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781409443599
  • Clements-Cortes, A. (2013). Music as medicine for interdisciplinary team self care and stress management in palliative care, In C. L. McLean (Ed.). Creative Arts in Humane Medicine, Edmonton, Alberta: Brush.
  • Clements-Cortes, A. (2013). Adults in palliative/hospice care, In J. Allen, (Ed.). Guidelines for Music Therapy Practice in Adult Medical Care (pp. 295-346). New Braunfels TX: Barcelona.
  • Clements-Cortes, (2013) A. healing water: Assessing trauma, abuse and loss via guided imagery and music. Kavod Journal,(3). http://kavod.claimscon.org/


Undergraduate Course – MU352

Graduate Course – MU503

For a more detailed biography of Dr. Amy Clements-Cortes, please see http://www.wlu.ca/homepage.php?grp_id=13584&f_id=29

Faculty Bios - Sara Klinck

 Sara Klinck

Music Therapy Training

I completed my Bachelor of Music Therapy at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2005 and my Master of Music Therapy, also from WLU, in 2013.  I received Accreditation with the Canadian Association for Music Therapy in 2007.

Models of Practice & Areas of Interest

As a music therapist, my approach is multi-faceted.  I consider myself to be therapeutic-relationship-centered, client-centered, and music-centered.  I have experienced profound connections between all three in my clinical work and have drawn from various models and approaches in order to companion clients in their process with music therapy.

My training and education in music-centered models have left their imprint on my use of clinical improvisation in my work.  The influences of music-centered psychotherapy approaches (particularly insight-oriented music psychotherapy) are apparent in my use of both musical and verbal processing with clients in end-of-life and bereavement care.

A significant portion of my clinical experience and interest as a music therapist has been in palliative care.  Over time the professional decision to work in hospice became instrumental in cultivating an approach to music therapy in bereavement care.

Main Research Interests

My area of interest in research is linked to bereavement care, focused on how music therapy can be (and is) accessed by those who are grieving in ways that may aid in the expression of loss, and also in the process of coping and adaptation following profound loss.

Fun Facts

To keep myself grounded, I spend time at the piano and in the garden, and I laugh.

To keep myself nourished, I spend time with the people I love, connect with my community, and I sing.

To keep myself creative, I sew and make things with my hands, and go to experience the arts!



Faculty Bios - Colin Lee

Colin Andrew Lee

Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies

Dr. Colin Andrew Lee received a PhD from City University, London, England. Following piano studies at the Nordwestdeutsche Musikakademie, Detmold, Germany, he earned a Postgraduate Diploma in music therapy from the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Center, London, England. Lee has extensive clinical and supervisory experience and is an active researcher in many areas including HIV/AIDS and the analysis of clinical improvisation.  Recent work includes concert performances of improvisations based on clinical themes.

Colin has published many articles in journals and edited books. Books include:

  • Music at the Edge: The Music Therapy Experiences of a Musician with AIDS (1996)
  • The Architecture of Aesthetic Music Therapy (2005)
  • Improvising in Styles: A Workbook for Music Therapists, Educators and Musicians (Lee &Houde 2011)
  • Paul Nordoff: Composer and Music Therapist (2014).

Teaching Philosophy

I believe that every student brings their own unique contribution and creative gifts to their learning and eventual entry into the field of music therapy. As a music therapist we take a moral responsibility to understand the unique needs of clients and then provide the finest quality music we can to fulfill these needs. My developing theory of Aesthetic Music Therapy promotes the view that music itself is the core of the therapeutic process. The inspiration and quality of music making is paramount and the emotional truths created through clinical composition and improvisation provides a space for clients to discover their full potential. WLU is unique as it is the only music therapy program in Canada that offers an undergraduate and graduate degree as well as an internationally recognized research centre. At Laurier research and practice go hand-in-hand to provide one of the most innovative and established academic centers in Canada.


Undergraduate Courses – MU258, MU362

Graduate Courses – MU501, MU605

Fun Facts

In addition to teaching at Laurier and writing, Colin also enjoys cooking, good wine and working out!

For a more detailed biography of Dr. Colin Lee, please see http://www.wlu.ca/homepage.php?grp_id=1159&ct_id=1010&f_id=29

***These biographies have been generously provided by the faculty and supervisors at Laurier and/or are copied from the Laurier website (www.wlu.ca).  All credit goes to the original authors.***

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