Throughout Europe, music therapy is increasingly becoming an integrated part of health care, preventive health, educational settings, intercultural work and social services. Music therapists form an expanding profession drawing on a rich and increasingly developing discipline with more than 100 European training courses, many of these accredited MA courses.
Since ancient time, music has been used as a preventive or healing agent but it was not until the 1950’s that the first music therapy pioneers in several European countries developed music therapy for systematic intervention. This led to the first music therapy training courses in the sixties as well as the first steps towards a Pan-European network. The result of these local initiatives led to the founding of the European Music Therapy Confederation, EMTC, in 1991.
After initial conferences held in the UK and the Netherlands, the EMTC has initiated European conferences every three years, in the form of professional meetings throughout Europe: In 1992 in Spain (Vitoria-Gasteiz), 1995 in Denmark (Aalborg), 1998 in Belgium (Leuven), 2001 in Italy (Naples), 2004 in Finland (Jyväskylä), 2007 in The Netherlands (Eindhoven), 2010 in Spain (Cadiz), 2013 in Norway (Oslo) and 2016 in Vienna (Austria).
Denmark hosted the 3rd European music therapy conference in 1995. The conference theme was “Music Therapy within Multidisciplinary Teams” with a focus on research, mental disease and developmental disability. The keynote speakers were Even Ruud, David Aldridge, Helen Odell-Miller and Anne Steen. At that time, the music therapy training programme was well-established at Aalborg University and was extended from a four-year cand.phil. to a fiveyear Master’s programme.
In 2016, the programme has expanded further, now also including students from the music therapy training in Vitoria, Spain, in the Master’s programme, and a further education/masters pre-qualification programme (PROMUSA) in Copenhagen. At the postgraduate level, AAU hosts an international three-year PhD programme, the Doctoral Programme in Music Therapy. In 2016, 16 PhD students are enrolled and 45 doctoral researchers has successfully completed their PhD thesis. Training staff and music therapy researchers includes two full time professors, six full time associate professors, four part-time lecturers, and two postdocs.
The training course is linked to the Music Therapy Clinic at Aalborg Psychiatric Hospital. The clinic is a centre for treatment and research and in addition, the staff includes three clinical music therapists.
In August 2015, the training centre previously located at the Aalborg University campus, moved to the Musikkens Hus, a spectacular venue for music and concerts in the centre of Aalborg. The music therapy team sees the European conference as a great opportunity for opening the doors and welcoming national and international colleagues into these new facilities!
Aalborg University (AAU) has hosted the music therapy training since 1982. The university is recognised internationally for its excellence in research with a problem based learning perspective and is in the top 2% of the world's best universities following the international lists of university rankings. AAU counts 21,000 students, 1,000 PhD students and 2,000 fulltime academic staff. Music therapy is placed at the Faculty of Humanities under the Department of Communication and Psychology.
Danish Music Therapy Association, DMTF (Dansk MusikterapeutForening), is a professional association under the academic national trade union DM (Dansk Magisterforening). The aim of the DMTF is to take care of the interests of professional music therapists in Denmark, shaping the policies and ethics of the profession.
Having hosted the 3rd European Music Therapy Conference in 1995, The 6th Nordic Music Therapy Conference in 2009, and several international symposia, seminars and courses, it is a great honour and pleasure for us to organise the 11th European Music Therapy Conference together with the European Music Therapy Confederation. Our visions for this conference are in line with the EMTC. We see conferences as a way to develop music therapy in Europe, meet colleagues, discuss topics relevant to the music therapy profession and clinical practice, disseminate cutting-edge research, and facilitate sharing and networking. Our aim is to organise a conference in close collaboration with the EMTC board, the music therapy training programme at Aalborg University and DMTF in order to provide high scientific quality and a welcoming and agreeable conference atmosphere that allows for reflection, discussion, networking, and, not the least, having a wonderful time. We also look forward to opening the doors for the annual EMTC General Assembly prior to the conference by providing accommodation, meals and meeting facilities.
Hanne Mette Ridder and Stine Lindahl Jacobsen