It is 20 years since I delivered our pilot project in Romania under the guidance of brilliant music therapists Una McInerney and Penny Birnstingl, who both remain on our Advisory Panel to this day. In fact all three of us were among the team which delivered a big project in Romania last month, when we brought together 70 people from different care settings all around Romania, all of whom are developing the use of music therapy in the treatment and care of a variety of different client groups. The project was hosted by the University of Transylvania, which now offers a Masters Programme in the study of music therapy. Among the participants were students, graduates and lecturers from this course, alongside people we have trained through our introductory projects and Distance Learning Programme over the years.
It is hard to put into words the extent of the transformation I have witnessed within Romania’s care system during the past twenty years. And the commitment of pioneering individuals to improving attitudes towards people living with disabilities and the opportunities afforded to them. To see a locally-led music therapy practice developing is very exciting indeed and something we wanted to celebrate with this conference. It was with enormous pride that I listened to our Local Partners describe the practical nature of their music therapy practice and debate its fit with the University's theoretical teaching. Vigorous discussions showed a disparity between their approaches, but over the weekend it seemed like it might be possible to work towards mutual respect and collaboration. In fact, the leader of the Masters Course and our host Prof. Stela Dragulin, invited our Local Partners to come and speak to her students as part of their studies on her course. This openness comes from Prof. Dragulin's absolute passion for music therapy and a genuine commitment to doing everything she can to see it more widely practiced and more widely recognised in Romania.
After two days of presentations, debates, networking, Poster Displays and workshops our closing discussion focused on the future of music therapy in Romania: What does it hold and what is needed to make it happen? The Music as Therapy International team listened with keen interest as the suggestions from participants would determine our role in Romania from 2016. We are now in the process of consolidating everything we learned from this phenomenal event, from which we will decide our strategy and activities in Romania next year. News on this will be added to our Romania pages of the website next year.
For now, though, if you are interested to see more from the conference you can click here to browse our Gallery.