Jon Parr Vijinski, MS.c, Ph.D

Jon Parr Vijinski completed all coursework for a PhD in Health and Rehabilitation Science at Western before taking a leave of absence to care for his mother. He returned to full time study in the Fall of 2016, completing a PhD in Nursing at the University of Calgary, under the Supervision of Dr. Sandra Hirst. His research focus was on caregiver experiences of how music facilitates communication for people with dementia. His dissertation may be accessed here.

His research interests include: dementia and communication/social engagement, lived experiences of people with dementia, quality of life and care for older people, caregiving, the use of music and creative arts for health and well-being for older populations, ageism, and aging in place/age-friendly cities.

Musically, Jon co-presented in 2002 a small film with Caroline Le Navenec RN, PhD, of the University of Calgary at the Canadian Association of Gerontology conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Jon's interest in music as a mode of healing, led him to co-present a paper with Dr. Le Navenec at the Canadian Music Therapy Association's May 1996 Conference: "What are the Salient Factors in Music that Move People Emotionally"? He is also a composer, arranger, performer and producer, and has had his music featured on CBC radio.

He also developed a new conceptual approach to using music and video as an intervention, entitled "Audio Visual Musical Interaction" (AVMI) for those affected with dementia. An exploratory case study was conducted, and the results presented at the Canadian Association on Gerontology, 2015 in Calgary, indicating that the AVMI may be an effective, non-invasive intervention that creates an environment for increased communication and social interaction. Jon began conducting further research with the AVMI at the University of Calgary, until he had to suspend his work due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID healthcare emergency. His hope is resume AVMI research but expanding it by developing an app which would allow communication and social engagement monitoring by caregivers to optimize quality of life and care for their clients.

Recent Scholarships:

  • 2017 June: $1,000 Scholarship; Alberta Association on Gerontology, Calgary Chapter
  • 2017 March: $20,000 Scholarship; University of Calgary, Faculty of Nursing Graduate Scholarship 
  • 2017 March: $800 Scholarship; University of Calgary, Ching Por Tsang and Yee Ping Tsang Li Memorial Graduate Scholarship


2015: Canadian Association of Gerontology - Calgary, Alberta -  “A Case Study of the Responses of a Person with Semantic Dementia to the Use of Music with Active Video” - Workshop presenter

2014: Canadian Association of Gerontology - Niagara Falls, Ontario - “The Use of Music with Active Video as a Method of Personal Communication with a Person affected by Dementia” - Poster

2009, May : Annual National Initiative for Care of the Elderly (NICE) Knowledge Exchange Day -Toronto, Ontario. - “The Benefits of Music in Long-Term Care: An Evidence-Based Review” - Student Poster

2008 Canadian Association of Gerontology - London, Ontario - "The Effects of Music on Older Adults: A Review of the Literature" - Student Poster

2002 Play and Creative Therapies for Healing and Growth - Kitchener/Waterloo, Canada "Evidence Based Caring Practices: Just What Is The Evidence?" - Presenter

2001 International Conference on Gerontology - Vancouver, Canada - "A Video Soundscape: Using Music And Nature Scenes To Facilitate Well-Being" - Presenter

1999 4th Conference on Effectiveness and Quality of Health Promotion - Helsinki, Finland; Tallinn, Estonia - "The Musical Pharmacy" - Presenter

1998 Canadian Association of Gerontology - Halifax, Canada - "The Musical Pharmacy" - Presenter

Publications/Scholarly Works
Parr Vijinski, J., Pirner, D., & Carole-Lynne Le Navenec, C. (2005). Chapter 11: How music moves people: An analysis of the emotional responses of university students to “A Musical Pharmacy” using Hevner’s mood wheel. In Le Navenec, C., & Bridges, L. (Eds.). (2005). Creating connections between nursing care and the creative arts therapies (pp. 167-186). Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas. [click here to read]

Jon is also working on a number of classical works, including a tone poem.

Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers (SOCAN)
The Canadian Association of Gerontology (CAG)
The Alberta Association of Gerontology (AAG)

A Musical Pharmacy/Pharmacie Musical
An Ode to the Nightingales

As project director of a multimedia production for nurses and other health professionals on the use of music in health promotion and health care, I am pleased that Jon has agreed to compose, arrange and produce the music for it. The timely release of this recording (just prior to the Nurses June '97 meeting in Vancouver), will be welcomed by the nurses from all over the world because of the glorious, exquisite, and beautiful nature of these music narratives that Jon has created and produced.
Carole-Lynne Le Navenec, RN, PhD

As someone who has researched the history of nursing, I would like to commend Jon for this splendid recording that both nurses and those in their care can use to promote health and healing. Indeed, if the Lady with the Lamp, Florence Nightingale -- the founder of modern nursing, was alive today, she would be pleased with this recording given that back in 1959, she stated: "The effect of music upon the sick has been scarcely at all noticed ... wind instruments, including the human voice, and string instruments, capable of continuous sound, have generally a beneficial effect" (Nightingale, 1969: Notes on Nursing).
Diana Mansell, PhD History in Nursing

In my work as a music therapist, I often say that Music Speaks When Words Cannot. I am certain that Jon's music on this tape, and the ones that are forthcoming, will help people in this way.
Jennifer Buchanan, MTA

The sounds produced in Jon's recordings are very health sounds.
Gaile Hayes, A.R.C.T. MTA
To order Jon's music, click here.


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