15 September 2015
Conservatory of Music (CoM) UPH Invited Dr. Helen Loth to Introduce Gamelan as Therapeutic Media
Saturday, September 10, 2016, the Music Therapy major of the Conservatory of Music of Universitas Pelita Harapan (UPH), held a seminar, which talked about the benefit of gamelan usage for therapy

All participants of the seminar

Saturday, September 10, 2016, the Music Therapy major of the Conservatory of Music of Universitas Pelita Harapan (UPH), held a seminar which talked about the benefit of gamelan for therapy. Although the topic is gamelan, but uniquely, the seminar was brought by a music therapist named Dr. Helen Loth, from Anglia Ruskin University, UK. In this seminar, Dr. Loth talked about her research in therapeutic methods using gamelan, a musical instrument from Indonesia.


Dr. Loth, has a special interest in multi-cultural improvisation. One of the most interesting traditional musical instruments to her is gamelan, which originated from Indonesia and she has been playing gamelan for 23 years, which make her a specialist in music therapy, using gamelan. In England, Dr. Loth has used gamelan in her therapies, to deal with a variety of people with special needs in psychiatry mater, those who has eating disorders as well as children with the inability to learn.


In the seminar, Dr. Loth presented a number of footages which shows her music therapy for children with special needs, using gamelan. In the footage, the children were given the opportunity to pour the emotion by playing the gamelan, while being watched by the therapist.

At the end of the Dean’s Talk, two Business School alumni, Irene Ivana Lasut, from Management 2011, and Daniel, from the Joint Degree program 2014, gave their testimony.  Hopefully, through this session, participants would want know and understand the programs offered in Business School UPH better. The event was continued with a Q&A session and registration consultation with the Admission Team of UPH.  

Dr. Helen Loth

According to Dr. Loth, aside from children with special needs, the use of gamelan in music therapy is also useful for elderly patient. Such diseases like dementia, Alzheimer and depression, could be treated with this method.

After the video footage, participants, consisted of UPH CoM students as well as students from other universities and institutions, were asked to play and to feel the gamelan. Participants enthusiastically went forwards to the stage to play the gamelan, along with the gongs in its side. Even without any preparation, participants were able to play the gamelan and create a beautiful harmony.

In her session, Dr. Loth was very playful, she sang with a guitar while she walked around participants’ seats.  No wonder if her presence and her presentation itself became an unforgettable memory for the participants, such as one of the participants, Roswina Amelinda, who works as a psychiatrist in Bandung.


“This seminar is really fun! It opens our minds about new things, such as gamelan, a local musical instrument from Indonesia, which unexpectedly, is very famous in foreign countries, both for entertainment and therapy. Because of this seminar, I become very interested to learn gamelan even more,” said Roswina.


Regarding the development of music therapy in Indonesia, Dr. Loth explained that she is pretty enthusiastic in visiting music therapy clinics in Indonesia, with one of them being in the Conservatory of Music of UPH. According to her, the development of music therapy in Indonesia is not impossible and it will surely work if the people want to open themselves towards this method.

On the other side, the popularity of Gamelan Jawa in foreign countries, especially England, has grown unexpectedly high. “In England, we already had collaborations between gamelan and electronic music. We try to attract the interest of young people towards this unique musical instrument,” explained Dr. Loth.


In Indonesia, Dr. Loth has also been invited to many events, in order to socialize gamelan as a therapeutic method. Especially in UPH, Dr. Loth was invited to teach Music Therapy students, with a topic ‘Music Therapy and Cultural Contexts’ for three days, during September 7 to 9, 2016. This project is a part of collaboration between UPH and Anglia Ruskin University, UK.

 “I really hope that this event will provide more insight and knowledge for the participants, and I also hope that they become inspired, after hearing stories about music therapy in other countries. Especially, I hope that this event can motivate students to deepen their knowledge about local culture, in order to expand and develop music therapy practice in Indonesia,” said Monica Subianto, as the Head of Music Therapy Department of the Conservatory of Music UPH.


She also added that she hopes this seminar, which was held for public, could be a mean to introduce music therapy to the people, in order for it to flourish within vast society. (kl)

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