Healing Power of Music header

The Healing Power Of Music

2nd Annual Community Forum

Date & Time

Fri 26 May 2023
10am – 12.30pm


Ian Hanger Recital Hall,
Queensland Conservatorium,
South Bank






All ages

This community event will bring together artists, academics and creatives to share through sound and discussion ancient and contemporary perspectives on the role and purpose of music in our society.


This year will shine a light on musicians’ mental health as we hear intimate personal stories of healing through music, research on artists wellbeing, as well as ideas for how we can promote a broader definition of music—one that brings the practicing musician into the centre of discussions around community wellbeing, educational reform and cultural innovation.


The 21st Century musician is connected to many diverse traditions and cultures, providing them with the tools to bring people together, share cultural knowledge and wisdom through sound and promote healing and understanding.



  • Associate Professor Melissa Forbes (University of Southern Qld)
  • Chiho Kagawa (artist, sound healer)
  • Lachlan Hawkins (artists, educator)
  • Henry Kafoa (PhD candidate Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University)
  • Associate Professor Tim Munro (Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University)
  • Dr Anthony Garcia (Co-founder Artistic Director Sounds Across Oceans)

Melissa ForbesAssociate Professor Melissa Forbes

Melissa is an Associate Professor in Contemporary Singing at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. Melissa is a Churchill Fellow and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK) which recognises sustained contribution to educational leadership in higher education. As a music educator and through her PhD research, Melissa helped establish collaborative learning in music at UniSQ which values the learning and teaching contributions of both teachers and peers. She supervises PhD, DCA and Honours students on a broad range of topics related to singing and music pedagogy and practice.


Melissa researches our lived experiences of singing, with a focus on promoting singing as an everyday wellbeing activity. She has published research in international scholarly journals on elite jazz vocalists, community singers and singing group facilitators. She is proud to have been involved in the formation of Toowoomba’s first singing group for Parkinson’s disease, “Park ‘n Songs”. As a singer, Melissa began her career as a lead singer in numerous hard-working show bands, gaining extensive experience within the corporate entertainment industry. She has performed nationally and internationally in Japan, Singapore, and the USA. She has recorded two albums—No More Mondays, and The Intimacy of Distance (a collaboration with Brazilian singer and guitarist Bianca Obino). Her Spotify royalties from these releases fuel her much-cherished coffee habit.

Chiho KagawaChiho Kagawa

Chiho is a musician and qualified sound healer who translates the energy of the group into an improvised piece suitable for that very moment on the Crystal Armonica, crystal bowls and her voice. She has been leading sound healing and chanting internationally at festivals, wellness retreats and multicultural events. People have experienced automatic movement for healing physical, mental and spiritual blockages while pineal gland is stimulated by the Armonica and her voice. Chiho also plays ethnic instruments like Sanshin (Japanese banjo), Erhu (Chinese violin), and Lyre for meditative sound and tribal music.


The “Crystal Armonica” is a very precious and historical music instrument which was invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761. (It is called “Glass Harmonica” in the classical music). It consists of 30 pure crystal bowls as one instrument and was extremely popular in the symphony orchestra in those days. Composers such as Beethoven and Mozart had written many music for the Armonica and Marie Antoinette also played it. German Doctor Franz Mesmer used it to relax his patients and cure some conditions, the English word ‘mesmerise” came from him using the Armonica in those days. Studies show that the Armonica’s overtones including inaudible range draws our brane wave into theta which is the deepest meditative state.

Lachlan HawkinsLachlan Hawkins

Lachlan Hawkins is an accomplished drummer, handpan artist and educator based in Brisbane. Since graduating from the Queensland Conservatorium in 2015, where he was awarded First Class Honours and the University Medal, Lachlan has continued a diverse and fulfilling career performing with a stellar collection of jazz, contemporary and folk artists including The Ten Tenors, James Morrison, Monique Clare, Jordan Brodie, and the QLD Pops Orchestra.


As a solo artist, Lachlan’s unique and thoughtful playing style combines the handpan and the voice, with his lyrics pressing deeper into themes of belonging, self-acceptance, perseverance and loss. Lachlan has shared his original music with audiences around Australia, in major hospitals through the monumental healing work of The Stairwell Project, and in 2019 celebrated his first handpan studio album No Enemy Within with two Highly Commended Awards at the Queensland Music Awards.

Henry KafoaHenry Kafoa

Hailing from the Tweed Coast, Henry is a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University (QCGU), having completed a Bachelor of Music (Musical Theatre) in 2013 and a Masters of Music Studies (Vocal Pedagogy) in 2020. He is an accomplished performer and singing voice instructor working within the Musical Theatre department of QCGU while running his own private teaching studio. He is currently completing his Doctoral Thesis which is focussed on examining trends in vocal health change of tertiary level Musical Theatre students.


Notable performance credits include The Sunshine Club (Queensland Theatre), Once On This Island (Altitude Theatre), Tick, Tick… Boom! (That Production Company), Best of Broadway (Quid Pro Co.), Forbidden Romance (Brisbane City Opera), Yank! (Understudy Productions), Shine a Light (Echelon Theatre Co.) and Miss Saigon (QCGU).

Tim Munro

Associate Professor Tim Munro

Tim Munro is a Chicago-based, triple-Grammy-winning musician. As flautist, writer, broadcaster, and teacher, he treats audiences as equals, welcoming them into musical worlds with passion, intelligence and humour. In 2023, he becomes Associate Professor of Music at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. Tim was the flautist and co-Artistic Director of Eighth Blackbird from 2006-2015. He toured the US and internationally, premiering more that 100 works, co-curating festivals, playing as a concert soloist, collaborating with artists that ran the gamut and winning three Grammy Awards.


Since, 2015, he has worn many musical hats. As the St Louise Symphony Orchestra’s Creative Partner, Tim works as a curator, broadcaster, writer and artistic consultant. With the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he has appeared as flautist, speaker and teacher. As a teacher Tim brings students into collaborative environments, giving them agency. He has worked as music schools in more than 40 American states including the Curtis Institute, the University of Michigan, Manhattan School of Music and the University of Southern California. Tim is committed to large-scale, immersive projects that put listeners at the centre of the musical experience.

Dr Anthony Garcia

Dr Anthony Garcia

Dr Anthony Garcia is an acclaimed guitarist, composer and educator based in Brisbane. Born in the United States and raised and educated in South East Asia, Australia and Mexico, Dr Garcia has recorded, toured and performed extensively throughout the world collaborating with creatives across a diverse range of artistic disciplines. Dr Garcia’s exploratory philosophy of music-making and teaching has generated a highly personal creative approach that embraces both ancient and contemporary forms, world and ethnic musics and improvisational practice.


Dr Garcia’s PhD research into improvisation, conducted at University of Tasmania between 2012- 2015, has informed ongoing research into intercultural and collaborative learning, teaching artistry, interdisciplinary practice and mindfulness meditation and music. His passion for unifying the interlocking fields of musical performance, composition and education has informed ongoing pedagogical experimentation in schools, universities and the broader community and led to the establishment in 2014, in partnership with his wife Jennifer Garcia, of Sounds Across Oceans, a new music and arts organisation dedicated to exploring ‘the multidimensional capacity of music and the arts to create and share new ideas, uplift, heal, shift energies and ignite new perspectives.’


Through Sounds Across Oceans Dr Garcia has helped design and curate a diverse array of festival programs, community wellbeing initiatives and research partnerships. In 2019, with the support of BrisAsia Festival and QPAC he helped establish the pioneering intercultural art ensemble JADE New World Collective. Since its inception SAO has produced BrisAsia Festival Creative Sector Development Program for the Brisbane City Council, SunPAC Summerfest, Creative Fusions (QPAC), the Tree of Life: seniors music and movement initiative as well as workshops and concerts in Germany, Thailand, Brisbane and regional Queensland.



ACF logoWould you like to show your support for The Ground Beneath Us?


Tax deductible donations can be made via the festival’s Australian Cultural Fund platform. Your donation will assist with cost across a range of areas, including production, marketing & administration, and research & documentation.


In 2023, The Ground Beneath Us will:

  • employ over 20 artists, 12 arts workers, an assistant producer & documentary film maker
  • generate new music, musical forms & stories, multimode artworks, disseminate ancient wisdom & contemporary research
  • link artists from across cultures & genres with researchers, community leaders & the public to develop & promote ideas & perspectives that will nurture our culture.


We are grateful for all contributions, small & large. 🙏

Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University logo
Sounds Across Oceans logo
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