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Release: Immediate

Koreans attend music therapy conference at the University of Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- More than 60 Koreans are convening at the University of Iowa for a two-week music therapy conference. The conference, which runs July 22 through Aug. 2, is intended to impart new and advanced skills to Koreans interested in music therapy.

In previous years the conference has been held at the University of Kansas. The conference was moved to the UI at the suggestion of Byung-Chuel Choi, a music graduate of the University of Kansas who is paving the way for the field in Korea. He recently started the first music therapy degree program in Korea at SookMyung Women's University in Seoul, South Korea.

According to Mary Adamek, assistant professor of music at the UI and a lecturer and instructor for the conference, the workshop is one of three being offered this summer in the United States strictly for Korean students. Other than the fact that the field is just getting established in Korea, Adamek isn't sure why there is the sudden surge in Korean interest in music therapy. In addition to Adamek, the conference is featuring other instructors from the UI and around the country.

Along with basic lectures, the conference will include experimental activities workshops utilizing techniques including instrument playing, movement and singing. "There's really a broad variety of techniques and topics in the field," said Adamek. "Music therapy is active and often visually stimulating."

Music therapy is a field that combines musical skills and health care objectives. Music is used to help people with disabilities improve their social skills, expression of feelings, self-esteem, anxiety reduction, and leisure skills.

The conference is sponsored by SookMyung Women's University in Seoul, South Korea, in collaboration with the UI School of Music and the UI International Programs. Workshops run from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the UI's school of music. Sunday workshops run from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information or a description of daily activities, contact Mary Adamek at 319-335-1643.

The music therapy program at the UI is accredited by the National Association for Music Therapy and provides the courses required to become a certified music therapist. The UI has offered the degree for more than 20 years.