30 Years - That's a long time!

In Austria, music therapy training institutions have existed since 1959, starting with the first academic training course in Vienna. Nowadays, there are 3 Bachelor and Master courses, in Vienna, Krems and Graz .
And, as it happens, in all three cities there are ancient clocktowers with timekeepers that make wonderful music.


The Anker Clock is actually a bridge and connects the two building parts of the “Ankerhof”. The Art Nouveau painter Franz Matsch designed the clock.
It was built in 1911-1914. In the course of twelve hours, twelve figures or pairs of figures from the history of Vienna walk across the bridge. At 12 noon, all the figures parade to the accompaniment of music. During Advent, Christmas carols are played daily.


On Christmas Eve 1905, the melodies of 24 bells rang for the first time. They fell silent during the Second World War because the bells were used for the weapons industry. Since 1956, the carillon has again played three melodies three times a day, changing the “track list” five times a year. Alpine songs and yodels alternate with Christmas carols and pleasant melodies by contemporary composers. When the arcade windows in the gable open, you can see a wooden dancing couple in colorful traditional costumes. As a “crowing” conclusion to the performance, the golden cock lifts his wings.


The Steiner Tor is a city gate of Krems in the Wachau valley, representing the symbol of the city. It was built in 1480 as part of the wall, which surrounded the city of Krems until the last third of the 19th century. Outside the portal are two towers flanking both sides, which, like the lower floor of the gate, date from the late Middle Ages. However, the middle tower building dates to the Baroque period during the reign of Maria Theresia around 1750. Until today, the Steiner Tor is the main gate to the pedestrian zone of the city center with many shops and cafés. The carillon is a main tourist spot of the city, playing twice each day.

belgian cookie
belgian cookie

The lyre is the inspiration for our object. It corresponds to Thracian & Greek ancestry personified by Orpheus, the ancient healer, who tamed and comforted all nature with his mastery of the instrument and whose home was the Rhodope Mountains, the greater part of which today lie within the borders of Bulgaria.
This lyre symbolizes the cosmic tree and the three zones of the known world, also reminiscent of the dynamic structure of the human psyche. At its foundation is the rising sun, whose rays merge with the strings of the ancient instrument while gradually turning light into sound. The snake, ruler of the underworld (Lower Earth), stands as the symbol of healing and wisdom. Blooming rose bushes branch out and fill the Middle Earth, with their scent and freshness striving upwards, where birds dwell as rulers of the sky. Thus, all the senses have been stimulated and represented through the symbolism of this object.
The lyre, as a symbol, represents the tradition and profession of music therapy in Bulgaria, an harmonious unity of symbols, which holds and transmits the resonance of fundamental values, to connect past present and future.

Bulgarian lyre

We are glad that music therapy in our country is recognized at the  Institute for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation in Zagreb as a discipline that contributes to the well-being of patients in a multidisciplinary intervention. Croatian music therapists offer receptive music therapy service at the  Institute for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation in Zagreb. Music therapy at the Institut is a service that can be obtained on a medical referral from the Croatian Health Insurance Institute since 2017.
On the 30th anniversary of the European Music Therapy Conferences, Croatia brings a gingerbread heart (Licitarsko srce),  an autochthonous and traditional symbol. In the middle of the Gingerbread heart is the logo of HUM - Croatian Association of Music Therapists. Let this Gingerbread heart on this anniversary remind us of the service at the Cardiovascular Institut  as well as the unconditional acceptance of all clients to whom we, music therapists, provide the best service in all other institutions in Croatia.


“Koncovka” is a traditional folk wind instrument which opens up the player’s voice. In the past, highland shepherds used it to communicate from one hill to another. It is a fipple flute producing a stimulating and harmonizing sound and natural overtones. The deeper the player breathes, the fuller the sound, so the players are naturally led to breath gymnastics and training. It is made mostly of black elderberry wood. It can be used in the therapy of voice and breath disorders; it develops the body map awareness as well as pair and group communication.

Estonia 1
Estonian Small Zither

... is the simplest, clearest, gentlest, most acceptable and least pretentious instrument for many therapy clients. It can be fingered easily - it is for everyone to express themselves, inspiring to play enchanting sound combinations, inviting to dance or listen and immerse themselves - then even the most restless souls will calm down ...

Estonia 2
"Born in the forest, grown up in the forest, now crying on the knee of a man" (Estonian proverb)

The Estonian zither is the oldest stringed instrument in Estonia (2000 years old) and is closely connected with the Finnish and Baltic folk cultures. It represents the connection of Estonians with their tradition, primitive sense of nature and ancestors, dating back to the time before our epic “Kalevipoeg”. The zither’s sound is characteristic of the Nordic soul: pure, gentle, lyrical, thoughtful and introverted.

Finland 1
Finlandia hymn

The Finlandia hymn (Finnish: Finlandia-hymni) refers to a serene hymn-like section of the patriotic symphonic poem Finlandia, written in 1899 and 1900 by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. It was later re-worked by the composer into a stand-alone piece. With words written in 1940 by Veikko Antero Koskenniemi, it is one of the most important national songs of Finland. Although not the official national anthem of Finland, it has been continuously proposed as such. Choral arrangements of the hymn are very popular in many countries.
In 2022 it was adapted for Ukraine "Oi Ukraine" - Oh, rise, Ukraine, rise!

Finland 2

Figurenotes is a system of notating music originally invented in Finland by Kaarlo Uusitalo that makes it possible for almost everyone to play music and learn more of it step by step, in a concrete way, by means of colours and shapes. All the player has to do is match two identical symbols – Figurenotes and Figurenotes stickers on the instrument.

Almost all Finnish music therapists use Figurenotes in one way or another in their practice.

See more at

Figurenotes are also well known in Scotland:

Finland 3

Using Figurenotes it is even possible to reach a place at the semi-final of the Eurovision song contest!
Watch the video of Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät playing the song Aina Mun Pitää live at Eurovision 2015. Following their Finnish national final win, the band garnered media interest from international press commenting on the fact that the band was composed of middle-aged men with developmental disabilities. The band's manager, Teuvo Merkkiniemi, stated: "They try to change the world by their songs and playing: they are an example to other people with handicaps." (Wikipedia)

previous arrowprevious arrow
next arrownext arrow