Dr. Vicky Abad and Daniel Thomas (Keynote)

Dr. Vicky Abad and Daniel Thomas

Dr. Vicky Abad is the Founding and Managing Director of Music Beat Australia, a multi-faceted business that provides community music, music early learning, music education and music therapy programs for children and adults of all abilities to support them to develop every day. Music Beat offers these services to over 500 clients each week. The business began when Vicky started one music group so that her baby could experience the magic that is making music in meaningful ways between a parent and a child. The business has grown organically from this one group 14 years ago to what it is today.

Vicky heads up a team of music therapists, music teachers, community musicians, and professional administration and support staff to bring these services to fruition. During the recent pandemic Vicky led the team to transition all services online and continue to run a successful business model through fast and flexible adaptations.
Vicky is a Registered Music Therapist and researcher at the University of Queensland, and is currently the President the Australian Music Therapy Association She has worked as a music therapist for more than 25 years and in this time has worked in and established a number of new positions in aged care and early intervention, and paediatric health care. Vicky was the Inaugural Director of the Australian national music therapy program Sing & Grow, a program that continues to offer services to thousands of Australians twenty years on.
In addition to her extensive clinical experience, Vicky researches in the areas of parent-child music therapy, family music therapy, community music therapy and music early learning, with a particular focus on families with young children.

Vicky is an internationally regarded presenter and speaker. She has presented keynote and invited presentations at a number of national and international conferences and events, trained clinicians around the world and presented at numerous international conferences. Vicky has edited a book with Dan Thomas, written a number of book chapters and published in national and international journals.

Daniel Thomas, PGDip (MT), BA (Hons), NMT is Managing Director of Chroma, the UK’s leading provider of Creative Arts Therapies services. Daniel leads a team of 65+ art, drama and music therapists working across the education, health and social care sectors with an active caseload of 150+ at any one time. Having qualified as a music therapist in 2002, Daniel set up Music@Work, a business that created and delivered team building interventions to health and financial service organisations. In 2010, Daniel started a 5 year collaboration with Sing & Grow, an Australian music therapy program supporting “at risk” families with young children. In the UK, Sing & Grow delivered more than 120 programs, including many for adoptive families. In 2013 the merger and rebranding of Music@Work and Sing & Grow (UK) into Chroma enabled adoptive families to be at the forefront of Chroma’s therapeutic expertise via the UK Govt’s Adoption Support Fund. In 2017 and again in 2019, Chroma brought the expertise of Drs Michael and Corene Thaut to the UK to train many of its music therapists, and others in the Neurologic Music Therapy clinical specialism, which underpins its work across the neurorehabilitation and healthcare sectors. Chroma is currently the 5th largest provider of therapy services for adoptive families in the UK, and achieved regulation with Ofsted, the social care and education inspectorate, in 2020. Chroma holds membership of various brain injury organisations such as INPA and BABICM as well as being an active campaigning voice in partnership with Adoption UK and CASA.

Daniel’s collaboration with Dr Vicky Abad started in 2011, over a coffee in a Brisbane café, where they discovered a shared passion in the business side of music therapy practice, as well as similar challenges and difficulties in the day to day running of their organisations. Their coffee led to collaborations on conference abstracts and workshops across the world, culminating in their 2017 book published by Jessica Kingsley “The Economics of Therapy.” Dr Abad and Daniel lecture and present ideas from this book to training programs and qualified music therapists regularly, and still lead successful and growing music therapy businesses.

Vicky and Dan share a friendship and professional relationship that began over a coffee and has continued over many coffees on many continents around the world. They are passionate about helping other creative arts therapists tap into their business skills, skills that they believe are transferrable from the therapy world to the business world. These days they enjoy hanging out on zoom and planning their next business adventures together.