Instructor, Music Therapy
Faculty of Education
Health & Human Development
School of Allied Health - Music Therapy

604.986.1911 ext. 7399
Fir Building, room FR201a


Vocal Psychotherapist, 2015.

PhD, Leadership and Change, Antioch University, 2014.

Neurologic Music Therapy, 2013.

MMT, BC Open University, 1999.

Guided Imagery and Music (the Bonny method), Level I and II, 1989-90.

Diploma, Music Therapy, Capilano College, 1988.

Diploma, Special Education and Rehabilitation, University of Calgary, 1983.

B.Ed., University of Calgary, 1976.

BPE, University of Calgary, 1975.

"I have a collaborative, compassionate and empowering approach that encourages students to shine their unique light and learn through applied practice, sharing and experiential."


Susan Summers (PhD, Antioch University, 2014) has an extensive history of leadership, professional and community involvement including membership on five boards and collaboration with other therapist and arts organizations.

She is a certified music therapist (MTA) with over 30 years of clinical experience working with adults and older adults in community care, residential care and end of life care in hospice. She has 3 decades of supervisory experience with music therapy practicum students, pre-professional practicum students, colleagues and students from other professions.

Summers has presented at national and international conferences in Germany, Japan, the United States and throughout Canada. She is a singer, a pianist, a guitarist and an improviser. She has over 25 years of energy healing training and practice which she brings to her teaching. Summers has been actively involved musically in many choirs and bands, and currently leads a women's group, Sacred Web Singers.

Summers' research interests centre on music therapy and the use of voice and singing as a therapeutic influence for healing and for community building. She is involved in research teams with the University of British Columbia's departments of neurology, gerontology and developmental cognitive neuroscience studying the effectiveness of music therapy with older adults with dementia.

Summers has specialized training and expertise in vocal psychotherapy, neurological music therapy and speech rehabilitation, and leadership. She has a private vocal psychotherapy and vocal healing practice.

Summers is currently a board member of the Canadian Association of Music Therapists (CAMT), Music Therapy Association of British Columbia (MTABC), Arts Health Network Canada, Music Heals charity and the Federation of Associations of Counselling Therapists of BC (FACTBC). She is a strong and tireless advocate for music therapy's expansion of its services, scope and recognition through statutory government regulation, and with government agencies and officials, the public and other professionals.

I teach third year students about music therapy with older adults and offer voice instruction to third and fourth year students.

Having worked with thousands of older adults as a certified music therapist (MTA) in residential care and in hospice settings for over 30 years, I am passionate about sharing my experience and expertise with our students through classroom learning and community-based clinical practicum supervision.

Having extensive leadership and board experience helps me provide students with relevant information that is up to date and has significance for their future careers. My extensive experience, training and expertise in vocal psychotherapy, energy healing and personal self-awareness supports an integrative approach.

I have been a clinician/researcher for a UBC RCT study entitled, "A randomized controlled study to assess the health benefits of music therapy in patients with Alzheimers disease" from 2010 to present. I am a co-researcher for a second UBC study entitled "A randomized controlled study to assess the benefits of music therapy versus the use of familiar music and/or poetry with iPods, with adults experiencing some cognitive decline" from 2015 to present.

I am also a research mentor for Berkley Care Centre's quantitative study, "Is there a relationship between music and decreased anxiety in a dementia special care unit?" from 2017 to the present.

I also did qualitative research during my graduate degrees.

Arnason, Carolyn., Carroll, Debbie., Lauzon, Paul., Lin Jennifer., Magill, Lucanne., Summers, Susan.Voice and vocal improvisation in music therapy training in Canada. Proceedings from the CAMT conference in Ottawa, ON., 2009.

Hsiung, Robin; Kirkland, Kevin; Summers, Susan; Beattie, Lynn; Jacob, Claudia. Randomized controlled trial of music therapy in managing behavioural symptoms in Alzheimer Disease. Alzheimer's and Dementia: The journal or the Alzheimer's Association, 11, 7, P749, July 2015.

Summers, Susan. A tapestry of voices: Community building with a geriatric choir reflected in a model ofpractise(master's thesis). Burnaby, BC: BC Open University, 1999.

Bird, Noele., Merrill, Terra., Mohan, Heather., Summers, Susan., Woodward, Alpha. Staying alivein our work: A group's experience in peer supervision. Canadian Journalof Music Therapy, VII, l, 51-67, 1999.

Baker, Felicia. & Uhlig, Sylka. The vocal hello space model in hospice music therapy. The handbook of therapeutic voicework in music therapy. London: Jessica Kingsley, 2011 (book chapter).

Summers, Susan. Hello space model,Internationaldictionary of music therapy. Ed. by Kevin Kirkland, London: Routledge Publishers, 2013.

Summers, Susan. Portraits of vocal psychotherapists: Singing as a healing influence for change and transformation. (doctoral dissertation). Yellow Springs, OH: Antioch University, 2014.

Summers, Susan. A tribute to Carolyn Bereznak Kenny (1946-2015). Approaches: An interdisciplinary journal of music therapy, Invited submission, May, 2018.

Summers, Susan. Carolyn Kenny: Influence and inspiration, Voices: A world forum for music therapy. Invited submission, October, 2018.

Award, Life Membership for Outstanding Contributions, Canadian Association of Music Therapists, 2006.

Award, Life Membership for Outstanding Contributions, Music Therapy Association of British Columbia, 2001.