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.