Last August, the Association Québécoise de Musicothérapie lost one of its greatest music therapists. Josée Préfontaine died after a year and a half of combat against leukemia, at age 53, leaving two wonderful daughters.
Josée completed her training at New York University in 1987 and pursued doctoral studies for a few years. She developed several music therapy projects in paediatric, geriatric and palliative cares. Her implication in the French Canadian rights in the Canadian Association for Music Therapy was remarquable. She was an adjunct teacher at Université du Québec à Montréal and was the founder in 1996 of the Institut Québécois de Musicothérapie. Its mission is training, supervision and clinical intervention. Josée has in fact supervised the majority of music therapists in Québec.
She has published excellent scientific and clinical papers, one of which was in Voices July 2006 issue, Vol. 6, No. 2. Josée has received numerous honours such as Le prix des sciences de l’éducation au concours d’affiches scientifiques de l’UQTR (2004), the Prix de la recherche et des publications from the Canadian Association for Music Therapy, and in 2006, the prize FRANI from the Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund.
As in many countries, music therapists form a small community, very much tied together. The lost of one so important thus greatly affects us.
Before her death, Josée chose the music for her funeral; songs and pieces that she highly valued. We had the privilege to play and sing at her funeral and in the afternoon, our group of music therapists gathered to sing songs that connected us to Josée, allowed us to celebrate her and start grieving.
She leaves us with an inestimable heritage, including her knowledge and her passion for music therapy. The Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund created the Funds Josée in her honour a few weeks before she passed away. This fund will finance music therapy projects for people who need it greatly.
It is autumn in Montreal, no more leaves in the trees, heading to winter. Life goes on gently for the music therapists in Québec and in Canada. Our community will never be the same and Josée’s memory will be with us as long as we live.
Vaillancourt (2006). In Memory of a Mentor: Josée Préfontaine. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Retrieved May 16, 2013, from http://testvoices.uib.no/?q=colvaillancourt181206