The 2016 10th European Music Therapy Conference: Vienna, Austria

By Danny S. Lundmark

In July 2016, Vienna hosted the 10th European Music Therapy Conference at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna. The conference provided an opportunity for networking and cross-education in the field of music therapy, through a series of seminars, workshops and events. Subjects included current music therapy research, music therapy techniques in different populations, and significant dialogues about the opportunities and challenges facing the future of music therapy.

There were representatives from all over Europe and abroad. From Turkey, Özgür Salur, Nil Fatma Aydemir and myself represented both the old and new perspectives on music therapy practices in Turkey. From the representatives, Fatma Nil Özalp gave a presentation on her research from the perspectives of surgeons using music in the operating room.

From University of Jyväskylä in Finland, Esa Ala-Ruona, was elected as the president of the European Music Therapy Confederation (EMTC). Through his student Özgür Salur’s initiation, Esa visited Turkey in April 2016, doing a presentation and workshop at the Istanbul University Çapa campus. The Music Therapy Symposium was hosted by the Arts Psychotherapies Association in Turkey, in collaboration with Istanbul University Psychiatry Clinic Foundation.

Annie Heiderscheit, past president of the World Federation of Music Therapy and current Director of Music Therapy at Augsburg College, was involved in several events at the conference. She had visited Kütahya in May 2016, for the International Hisarli Ahmet Symposium, which was held under the theme of music therapy.

The founder of the music therapy department at Berklee College of Music, Suzanne Hanser, gave a presentation on the possibilities of cutting edge integrative health concepts through music therapy. It was a personal pleasure to see Suzanne in Vienna, as she was my teacher and mentor during my studies at Berklee, and has greatly influenced my work here in Istanbul.

Overall, the conference was a great opportunity to see different approaches and ideas. It was a highly educational experience, and there were fun moments through musical jam sessions, afterhours vocal harmony performances by local Austrians, and the epic Gala dinner in the City Hall of Vienna. We are lucky that music therapy is a profession that welcomes sharing and connection, and together we celebrate the sound of change.