Austrian Professional Association of Music Therapists

Österreichischer Berufsverband der MusiktherapeutInnen (ÖBM)

339 members

Viennese Institute for Music Therapy

Wiener Institut für Musiktherapie (WIM)
9 members

Country Representative

Elisabeth Kaczynski

Music Therapist

I have been a music therapist since 1999. My main field of work is psychiatry.  I currently work at an acute psychiatric ward.

Contact me at

Discover more about Music Therapy in Austria

1959 – 1970 In 1959, the first European music therapy training programs were initiated, one at the former Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, the other one in London. In the very first years (1959 – 1970), multi-disciplinary structures were formed between important clinics and the Academy. This multi-professional aspect was typical for the Viennese music therapy. At the beginning of this period, the science of world harmonics (after the model of the Swedish school of Aleks Pontvik) provided the theoretical background of education. Other influences came from rhythmic education. Pioneers in the field of music therapy were: Editha Koffer-Ullrich, Albertine Wesecky, Ilse Castelliz, Georg Weinhengst, Margit Schneider, Stella Mayr, and Alfred Schmölz.

1970 – 1992 From 1970 to 1992, Alfred Schmölz headed the “Lehrgang für Musiktherapie” [training course for music therapy]. Both theoretical and practical backgrounds changed during this period. In close co-operation with famous medical directors (Erwin Ringel, Andreas Rett, Otto Hartmann, Raoul Schindler), practical courses were established in the fields psychosomatics, paediatrics, and psychiatry. The main characteristics of the training course at that time were:

  • shift from receptive to active methods
  • development of the “musical partner play” (Schmölz)
  • emphasis on the therapeutic relationship
  • music therapy oriented introspection training

1992 – 2003 A definite direction towards psychotherapy, mainly based on psychodynamic and humanistic methods, took place in 1992, when the “Lehrgang” was formally changed into a six-semester “Kurzstudium” [short course of studies]. Also, the Academy was transformed into University of Music and Performing Arts in 1998. Since 1992, music therapy is included in the Austrian psychotherapy law as a “Quellenberuf” [source profession]. Training therapy, both individual (90 hours) and in group (180 hours), and clinical practice under permanent supervision of a music therapist in more than four fields (650 hours) characterise the music therapy training. Obligatory practical courses are in the fields of child and adolescent neuropsychiatry, psychosomatics, and psychiatry. For alternative practical courses, students can make their choice between the fields of neurological rehabilitation, child psychosomatics, special education, paediatrics, elderly people, people with learning disabilities, and neonatology. Due to a new law for Austrian universities, the former “Kurzstudium” could be changed into an eight-semester “Diplomstudium” [diploma programme] in 2003, enabling graduates to earn the degree Mag. art. (Magister/Magistra artium, equivalent to Master of Arts).

2008 – today Since June 2008, Austrian music therapists have their own regulation of the profession by law (“Musiktherapiegesetz”). In July 2009, the Music Therapy Law came into effect. This regulation is only for music therapy professionals, it does not contain art therapists. The list of music therapists is kept by the Federal Ministry of Health. Following the Music Therapy Law, there are now two types of exercise of one’s profession: independently (based on a master qualification in music therapy), and jointly responsibly (based on a bachelor qualification in music therapy). Two training courses were recently established in Krems/Lower Austria (2009), and in Graz/Styria (2010); see below for contact details.
In May 2009 and May 2011, the professional organisations ÖBM and WIM (see below, Members of the EMTC) hosted the annual meetings of the EMTC in Vienna. 29 delegates from European countries came to join their working groups and the General Assembly. Several EMTC delegates gave lectures and presentations of their work and research at two symposia arranged on the occasion of the events. In recent years, an increasing number of continued education events is organised by the Austrian Association of Music Therapists (ÖBM) in order to help music therapists fulfill their statutory professional duty of continuously attending advanced vocational training.
In 2016 ÖBM, WIM and the University of Music and Performing Arts hosted the 10th European Music Therapy Conference.

According to historical research of the roots of music therapy in Austria, important influences contributing to the early theoretical background of music therapy as practiced and taught in Vienna reach back to times well before the Second World War; they include the life reform movement of the early 20th century with its emancipatory power, al holistic and humanistic concept of man, the idea of dialogue being essential for the development of every human being, and free improvisation as for example carried out in dancing classes at that time. In the period from 1970 until 1992 the theoretical and practical backgrounds were changing as for example reflected in a differentiation of active music therapy methods, an increasing emphasis on the therapeutic relationship, and introducing music therapy in the field of psychosomatics. During the 1990s the curriculum was built upon the three pillars, theory, practice under supervision in several fields, and self- experience and a definite emphasis on psychodynamic and humanistic approaches within music therapy.

The training program which is now located in Krems has its roots in what had started as “School for Traditional Oriental Music and Art Therapy” founded by Gerhard Tucek in collaboration with Turkish psychologist Oruç Güvenç in 1989, taking up a traditional system of knowledge and musical treatment that was practiced as an Islamic art of healing in hospitals over one thousand years ago. In 1999, the Institute for Ethno Music Therapy was established by Tucek, and several efforts were made to transfer and adapt the original concept to fit local conditions both in terms of training and clinical requirements. The music therapy approach taught at the IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems today incorporates findings from medical, psychological and music therapy research as well as concepts and ideas from the field of social and cultural anthropology.

The youngest of the current three training programs in Austria is a course located at the University of Arts Graz, conducted as a cooperative project together with the Medical University of Graz and the University of Graz. It is based on a humanistic- anthropological idea of health and has a bio- psycho- socio- spiritual background, integrating music therapy concepts with musical- artistic, psychological and psychotherapeutic approaches.

Since the Music Therapy Law came into force on July 1, 2009, after a decades- long process of efforts and negotiations to gain state recognition and a unanimous parliamentary vote in June 2008, music therapy is now one of the legally regulated health professions in Austria. The Music Therapy Law defines two types of professional qualifications: music therapists who are entitled to work independently (based on a master qualification in music therapy), and those who have a jointly responsible occupational qualification (based on a bachelor qualification in music therapy). Music therapists in Austria have to fulfil certain criteria (regarding training, occupational duties, etc.) to be registered in the official Music Therapists List run by the Ministry of Health.

Please see also the article about the professional situation of music therapists in Austria:

University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna:

Contact Person: Antonia Sinko,

Address: Metternichgasse 12, 1030 Vienna

Telephone: 0043-1-71155 3914

Fax: 0043-1-71155 3949 F


Director: Prof. DDr. med. Thomas Stegemann (

Degrees awarded: BA/MA/PhD

University of Music and Performing Arts Graz

Grazer Ausbildung Musiktherapie Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz Institut für Musikpädagogik

Address: Leonhardstrasse 82-84 A-8010 Graz Austria


Head: Monika Glawischnig-Goschnik / Christian Münzberg


Phone number: +43-316-3894343.

IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems

IMC Fachhochschule Krems GesmbH A-3500 Krems Austria

Information about bachelor program:

Information about master program:

Telephone: +43 2732 802-367

Head: Prof. (FH) Dr. Patrick Simon


In October 2013 Austria´s first PhD training course was implemented at The University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna (German: Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien, abbreviated MDW).The PhD training course is also headed by Thomas Stegemann. His first group of students working on their theses includes four students from music therapy and one from music sociology.

Doctoral dissertations (completed and ongoing) in the field of music therapy by music therapists trained in Austria:

Dorothea Oberegelsbacher has done an investigation into music therapy with a disabled adult for her doctorate degree in psychology at the University of Vienna, and has recently done research on the working factors of music therapy with psychosomatic patients. Dorothee Storz has developed a model for focused short-term music therapy in psychiatry (Storz, 2003). Doctoral training in musicology at the Hamburg University of Music and Theatre.

Elena Fitzthum has done historical research on the roots of Austrian music therapy before 1959 (Fitzthum, 2003). Doctoral training in musicology at the Hamburg University of Music and Theatre.

Christian Gold has done empirical research on the efficacy and effectiveness of music therapy in the field of psychiatry as part of his PhD training in music therapy at Aalborg University (Gold, Voracek, & Wigram, 2004).

Karin Mössler. Within her doctoral thesis she investigated the theoretical and methodological development of the Viennese School of Music Therapy (Mössler, 2008). Doctoral training in musicology at the Hamburg University of Music and Theatre.

Monika Smetana conducted a qualitative study investigating the meaning of musical objects in music therapy with adolescents suffering from structural disorders. PhD training at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.

Edith Wiesmüller. The thesis focuses on music therapy with adults who are suffering from complex posttraumatic stress disorder (cPTSD). Quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Doctoral training in musicology at the Hamburg University of Music and Theatre since 2009.

Monika Geretsegger is conducting a randomised controlled trial on effects of improvisational music therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders in Vienna which also forms part of an international multi-centre study (TIME-A). PhD training at the Doctoral Programme in Music Therapy at Aalborg University from 2010 until 2014.

Further Research: Christian Gold is currently principal researcher at Uni Health, Bergen/Norway, Professor at the University of Bergen, Adjunct professor at Aalborg University, editor-in-chief of the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, associate editor for the Cochrane Developmental, Psychosocial and Learning Problems Group (CDPLPG), and involved in many projects and ongoing multicentre studies. His main research interests include outcome research (clinical trials and meta-analyses), their methodology and application in music therapy in mental health, and research connecting process and outcome.

Karin Mössler is currently employed as senior researcher at Uni Health, Bergen/Norway, joining the research team of Christian Gold. Her research comprises historical, process-outcome and outcome research, with a special interest on mixed methods design (Mössler, 2011a). From 2008 until 2011, she was collaborating on an international multicentre (Norway, Austria, Australia) randomised controlled trial investigating the effects of music therapy in patients in mental health care. In recent studies, she is focusing on outcome predictors in music therapy (Mössler et al., 2011a) and the choice of outcome measures in relation to therapy goals. Her research is mainly based on collaborations between music therapists at the State Psychiatric Clinic Wagner Jauregg Linz, Austria, and the Nordfjordeid Psychiatric Centre, Norway. She is furthermore interested in bridging the gaps between clinical practice and research by focusing on clinical aspects of outcome studies (Mössler et al., 2011c). Her latest publication was an update on the Cochrane Review “Music therapy for people with schizophrenia and schizophrenia-like disorders” (Mössler et al., 2011b).

References: Fitzthum, E., Oberegelsbacher, D., & Storz, D. (Eds.) (1997). Weltkongresse Wien Hamburg 1996 [World Congresses Vienna Hamburg 1996]. Vienna: Edition Praesens.

Fitzthum, E. (2003). Von den Reformbewegungen zur Musiktherapie. Die Brückenfunktion der Vally Weigl [From reform movements to music therapy. The bridging function of Vally Weigl]. Vienna: Edition Praesens.

Fitzthum, E., & Gruber, P. (Eds.) (2003). Give them Music. Musiktherapie im Exil am Beispiel von Vally Weigl [Give them Music. Music therapy in exile using the example of Vally Weigl]. Vienna: Edition Praesens.

Gold, C., Voracek, M., & Wigram, T. (2004). Effects of music therapy for children and adolescents with psychopathology: A meta-analysis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 45, 1054-1063.

Illner, J., & Smetana, M. (Eds.) (2011). Wiener Schule der differenziellen klinischen Musiktherapie – ein Update [Viennese School of differential clinical music therapy – an update]. Vienna: Edition Praesens.

Mössler, K. (2008). Wiener Schule der Musiktherapie. Von den Pionieren zur Dritten Generation (1957 bis heute) [Viennese School of music therapy. From the pioneers to the third generation (1957 till nowadays)].Vienna: Edition Praesens.

Mössler, K. (2011a). Mixed methods Forschung am Beispiel musiktherapeutischer Forschungsarbeiten [Mixed methods research on the example of research studies in music therapy]. In J. Illner & M. Smetana (Eds.), Wiener Schule der differenziellen klinischen Musiktherapie – ein Update [Viennese School of differential clinical music therapy – an update] (pp. 153-160). Vienna: Edition Praesens.

Mössler, K. (2011b). “I am a psychotherapeutically oriented music therapist.” Theory construction and its influence on professional identity formation under the example of the Viennese School of Music Therapy. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 20, 155-184.

Mössler, K. (2011c). Historische Reflexionen musiktherapeutischer Techniken der Wiener Schule der Musiktherapie [Historical reflections of music therapeutic techniques of the Viennese School of Music Therapy]. In J. Illner & M. Smetana (Eds.), Wiener Schule der differenziellen klinischen Musiktherapie – ein Update [Viennese School of differential clinical music therapy – an update]. Vienna: Edition Praesens.

Mössler, K., Assmus, J., Heldal, T. O., Fuchs, K., Gold, C. (2011a). Music therapeutic techniques as predictors of change in mental health care. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Mössler, K., Chen X. J., Heldal, T. O., & Gold, C. (2011b). Music therapy for people with schizophrenia and schizophrenia-like disorders. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 12.

Mössler, K., Fuchs, K., Heldal, T. O., Karterud, I. M., Kenner, J., Næsheim, S., & Gold, C. (2011c). The clinical application and relevance of resource-oriented principles in music therapy with psychiatric clients. British Journal of Music Therapy, 25, 72-91.

Österreichischer Berufsverband der MusiktherapeutInnen (Ed.) (2000). Symposium “Bilder einer Landschaft. Wien 1997. [Symposium “Pictures of a landscape”. Vienna 1997]. Vienna: Edition Praesens.

Smetana, M., Heinze, S., & Mössler, K. (2005). Stille – Sterben – Erwachen. Musiktherapie im Grenzbereich menschlicher Existenz [Silence – dying – awakening. Music therapy within the borderland of human existence]. Vienna: Edition Praesens.

Storz, D., & Oberegelsbacher, D. (Eds.) (2001). Theorie und Klinische Praxis [Theory and clinical practice]. Vienna: Edition Praesens.

Storz, D. (2003). Fokale Musiktherapie. Entwicklung eines Modells psychodynamisch musiktherapeutischer Kurztherapie [Developing a model of psychodynamic music therapeutic short term therapy]. Vienna: Edition Praesens.

Storz, D. (2006) „In mir fällt alles auseinander“. Fokale Musiktherapie als Unterstützung zur Integration der Psychose [Inside myself, it all falls apart]. In U. Rentmeister (Ed.),Lärmende Stille im Kopf. Musiktherapie in der Psychiatrie [Noisy silence in the head. Music therapy in psychiatry.]. Wiesbaden: Reichert.

Storz, D. (2011). Musiktherapeutische Techniken. Überlegungen zur Entwicklung eines Grundlagenverständnisses [Music therapy techniques. Considerations for developing a basic understanding]. In J. Illner & M. Smetana, M. (Eds.), Wiener Schule der differenziellen klinischen Musiktherapie – ein Update [Viennese School of differential clinical music therapy – an update]. Vienna: Edition Praesens.

Storz, D. (2011). Freie, pentatonische und tonale Improvisation. Zur Sinnhaftigkeit klanglicher Bezugssysteme. [Free, pentatonic and tonal improvisation. The meaning of sounding reference systems.] In J. Illner & M. Smetana (Eds.), Wiener Schule der differenziellen klinischen Musiktherapie – ein Update [Viennese School of differential clinical music therapy – an update]. Vienna: Edition Praesens.

Suggested Reading:

Austria's contribution to the "30 Objects" exhibition at the 2022 EMTC conference in Edinburgh:

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.

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