My visitors today

Tuesday 20 December 2016

On stage at the Vigádo

It seems like years ago that I was asked by Dr Erzsébet Balogh and Dr Júlia Horváth to take part in one of the three discussion tables at the WCCE9. It probably was more than a year ago when I said yes, then I worried about it for months even though I am so passionate about the subject that I had been asked to speak about – art, art therapy and my conductive work.

I was delighted when I discovered that I would be taking part in the discussion at the Vigádo where I have attended several concerts over the past twenty-five years.

I realise now that I need not have worried so much about this event. I ended up quite enjoying it but the worry did mean that I was well prepared. When I got up on the stage last Sunday, in that beautiful auditorium, I was not as terrified as I had thought I might me.

I had wonderful support before the event and on stage from Mel Brown and Júlia Horváth and felt very much at ease sitting beside my teachers from 1989-93, Anna Klein and Eszter Daróczy. Dr Zsebe broke the ice by conjuring up coffee and tea for us all.

The pictures above are courtesy of the Pető website –

Below is the text of my contribution to the discussion –

WCCE 2016
Discussion Sunday 11th December 2016
Vigadó, Budapest

Dr Júlia Horváth (H, PAC), Dr Melanie Brown (UK, NICE), Thorsten Gegenwarth (A)


Dr Andrea Zsebe (APC), Eszter Daróczy (APC), Anna Klein (APC), Susie Mallett (Germany)


· Clients for Cond. Ed
· Conventional and unconventional indication for Cond. Ed (borderline problems)
· Acceptance of children/adolescents/adults with undiagnosed status
· Vocational training lead to be skilled worker (workman, trade)
· Question of integration/inclusion
· College level training of Cond. Ed

The question put to me was

How do working conductors incorporate other professional knowledge that they might have into their conductive practice?      
As an art teacher and art therapist, I knew some pedagogy and psychology but I did not know about disability or learning difficulties.

Merging conductor training to my previous expertise gave me a holistic conductive philosophy – just as Professor Schaffhauser was saying this morning – this framework enveloped all my skills, bringing them together in an all-encompassing framework of learning and upbringing.

Creative art, also including creative writing, became a powerful motivating tool in conductive groups. Other conductors merge their own areas of expertise with great success, such as swimming, gardening, woodwork, sport, cooking.

My conductive work is never without my art teaching or therapy expertise. Being an expert in any field gives a conductor more confidence, we can use passions to motivate clients and build task series’ around them, and maybe even new hobbies will be taken up – so important in developing a healthy soul.

Artistic creativity in art therapy and conductive groups constructs a path towards psychological and physical development, giving a focal point to discussions, reasons for making active movements.

I learnt to implement art skills and art therapy techniques into conductive sessions, especially with adult stroke survivors; encouraging communication and movement through painting. The artwork can be large, encouraging the artist to open up, to stand up, to lift their head and look out at the world, encouraging large motions as a brush held in a closed fist sweeps across a canvas, resulting in activity previously not thought possible.

Small scale art encourages different skills, focusing eyes on fine detail, pincer grasping a small brush while making fine deliberate movements with hands. Art in whatever form can prevent unwanted movements. 

In art therapy and conductive sessions art works are not the important factor, but the learning and development through their production is and should be observed and documented. 

I have developed my own method of assisting families to construct their own conductive lifestyles. You can see this in my poster. Art has been important in this, a frequent path to developing happy souls, essential before the real hard work can begin.

Successful conduction not only brings together the development of clients’ personalities, it is also brings together everything that the conductor has to offer.

Susie Mallett
December 11th 2016

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