Celebrate European Music Therapy Day – 4 Easy Steps!

Together We Sing and Dance

How time flies! On 15th November this year we will celebrate the 10th European Music Therapy Day!

The theme this year, chosen by our lovely EMTD team in Croatia, is TOGETHER WE SING AND DANCE. Instead of composing one EMTD song, this year we want to celebrate traditional songs and dances from our diverse continent. We especially want to include people who are sometimes not so ‘visible’, such as those in rural areas, or older people. This post shares everything you need to know to get involved, in four easy steps.

The first step is to get in touch with your country representative. You can find their contact info here. Please let them know what you are planning for Music Therapy Day so they can make sure events and media are coordinated, avoid duplication of effort, and ensure the integrity of the music therapy message.

2. Translate the flyer into your language

Each year we create a collection of flyer translations, celebrating European languages. We encourage you to use the flyer to publicise EMTD events in your country both online and in print. Feel free to add your association logo in the bottom right corner. You can download the Powerpoint files to customise the flyer using the following links:

Once you have translated the flyer, please send a PDF to info@musictherapyday.eu so we can include it in this year’s collection.

3. Organise an event

The European Music Therapy Day website outlines the following steps for organising an event. The sky really is the limit – past events have included concerts, seminars, webinars, panel discussions, drum circles, flash mobs …

  • First: think about how you’d like to present your work. Is it an ‘open house’? Do you want people to come in and have a look, or do you want to play together? Is it possible in your setting for clients to contribute to the event? How could you organise this?
  • Try to find colleagues or friends (musicians?) to join in and make it a special event.
  • All activities on or around 15th November can be considered as ‘music therapy day events’ (up to a week before or after 15th).
  • All activities should be sent to your EMTC country representative before being mentioned on this website, just to be sure that activities were organised by music therapists. Find their email on the CR Contact Info page.
  • Make use of social media: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter (hashtags #musictherapyday, #togetherwesinganddance and of course #musictherapy).
  • Get media exposure on (local) television and radio.
  • Connect with a national celebrity or artist to make this day special.

Here is a photo of one simple, easy-to-organise event that took place in Belgium for EMTD in 2022. Music therapists improvised in the entrance hall of their workplace, placing instruments on empty chairs for anyone who fancied joining in.

4. Make a video

This year the EMTD team invites you to present a traditional song and/or dance from your country. The EMTD website explains the overall concept:

Starting from the theme Together we Sing and Dance and presenting Music Therapy in the Community, we would like to encourage member countries to take a look into their national heritage and think about how traditional songs and dances can be applied to music therapy using traditional folk instruments. This will be a good opportunity for the country associations to get to know more about each other’s music and traditions.

We know that across Europe there are many different song and dance traditions and so invite you to interpret the theme in a way that is appropriate for your country. You can use your phone to record a video if you don’t have access to a ‘proper’ camera. You could even create a slideshow of still images with a backing track. It doesn’t have to be a professional film! We would like to have contributions from as many countries as possible rather than just a few highly polished videos.

To inspire you, here is a 9 second video fragment from the Latvian Foundation Nāc līdzas of ‘unofficial’ dancing during the Latvian National Song and Dance Festival. Nāc līdzas  is not a music therapy organsiation as such, but its mission is

… to establish a leading Center for the Development of Creative Abilities for People with Disabilities, giving them a place as equal practitioners in the cultural landscape and society, making them aware of their human rights to culture and cultural education and activating their civic self-confidence.

So . . . create your video and upload it to Youtube or a file transfer service like Wetransfer and send the link to info@musictherapyday.eu!

We are really looking forward to seeing and sharing videos from all around Europe!