Thinking INSIDE the Box: DAW Applications for MT

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Image of music therapist Chris Millett

The advent of Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) in the 1970s has entirely revolutionized the music industry. Now, more than ever before, beginners and professionals both can make high quality music from the comfort of their homes. Though all music therapists have some level of access to a variety of DAWs, there is still hesitance to incorporating the technologies in the therapy process. This presentation aims to increase the competence and confidence of music therapists to begin using DAWs in their processes with clients for a range of therapeutic applications.

We will explore the basic workflow of free / affordable DAWs (e.g. BandLab, Soundtrap, GarageBand, etc.) for recording, composing, recreating, remixing, and distributing audio content. Participants will be introduced to varying tiers / approaches of technology that could enhance their therapeutic practice. Additionally, we will explore a few basic music effects processors as they apply to mixing and creatively editing audio (e.g. equalization, reverb & delay, compression, and basic mixing concepts). Finally, we will share several examples of therapeutic applications across a variety of populations including: legacy projects, composition / songwriting, improvisation / loop-based performance, podcasting / storytelling, and live music recording.

Learner Objectives

1. Participants will identify situations in which DAW use / music recording might be appropriate for inclusion in treatment plans. (II.D.11)

2. Participants will learn and practice skills relevant to recording and creating digital music. (III.A.5.f.1)

3. Participants will learn and practice skills relevant to recording and recreating modern client-preferred genres. (III.A.5.x, III.A.5.i).

Presenter Biographies

CHRIS MILLETT, MM, MT-BC is an Assistant Professor of Music Therapy at the University of Louisville. He has a wide variety of clinical, presenting, and publication experience and enjoys serving youth in residential foster care, medical populations, and adult addiction recovery.

ANDREW CHAPMAN, MT-BC is the coordinator of the University of Louisville Music Therapy Clinic and enjoys making music with the large variety of clinic artists there, including youth in foster care, the clinic’s All-Abilities rock band, and patients at the UofL Brown Cancer Center.