Country Representative


Music Therapist

I have been a music therapist since 2000. My main field of work is with very young children with multiple disabilities. I currently work in Nexe Fundació in Barcelona, Spain

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Discover more about Music Therapy in Spain

Spain is a culturally rich country where different cultures coexist. This is reflected in the musical heritage characterized by its variety of rhythms and contrasts. In Spain, interest in Music Therapy arose in the 1970s. Since then efforts have been made to incorporate Music Therapy into the academic and professional fields. Although the development and the presence of music therapy in the educational and medical field has advanced considerably, Spain still faces the future with challenges such as the official recognition of the discipline by the competent authorities.

Some Historical Notes

From 1960 to 1990, key figures in the early development of music therapy in Spain include Serafina Poch, Patxi del Campo, Aittor Loroño, Francisco Blasco and Daniel Terán.

Dra. Serafina Poch researched the use of music with children with autism, and represented Spain in the 1st and 2nd world congresses of music therapy (Paris, 1974; Buenos Aires, 1976) and coordinated several National Symposiums of Music Therapy, (from 1979-86) within the context of important psychiatry congresses. She founded the Asociación Española de Musicoterapia (AEMT), and the Associació Catalana de Musicoterapia (ACMT, 1983)

Patxi del Campo created the Escuela de Musicoterapia y Técnicas Grupales (the present Instituto Música, Arte y Proceso – MAP) in Vitoria-Gasteiz, home of the first Music Therapy training course in Spain (1986) and annual Music Therapy Summer Schools. In 1989, MAP hosted the 1st European Music Therapy Seminary, in 1993 the VIIth World Congress of Music Therapy (Ist Congress of the World Federation of Music Therapy) and in 2001, the Ist International Congress of Music Therapy and Creative Therapies in Neurodegenerative Diseases with Fundación la Caixa.

Aittor Loroño set up the Centro de Investigación Musicoterapéutica (CIM) in Bilbao in 1987 and Francisco Blasco set up a branch of the Escuela de Musicoterapia y Técnicas Grupales in Valencia, and founded the Associación Valenciana de Musicoterapia en 1991.

In the early 90s, Music therapy seminars, workshops, and courses proliferated. Short courses were established in various universities in related areas (teacher education, nursing, …) and a selection of postgraduate courses began to appear.

The most international figure in Music Therapy in Spain in recent years is Dra Melissa Mercadal-Brotons, who has published extensively in EEUU and Europe on her research work in Music Therapy in geriatric care and dementias. She was the president of the World Federation of Music Therapy from 2017-2020.

National Congresses of Music Therapy in Spain
I National Congress in Montserrat, Barcelona 7-9 February 2006
II National Congress in Zaragoza, 7-9 March 2008
III National Congress in Cadiz 8-10 October 2010
III National Congress in Madrid, 12-14 October 2012
V National Congress in Barcelona, 17-19 October 2014
VI National Congress in Santiago de Compostela 10-12 March 2017
VII National Congress in Segovia, 18-20 October 2019

Music therapy is a systematic process of intervention wherein a music therapist establishes a helping relationship with the person(s) s/he works with through the use of music and / or its musical elements (sound, rhythm, melody, harmony) in a suitable frame, in order to promote and / or restore people’s health and improve their quality of life, meeting their physical, emotional, mental, social and cognitive needs, and fostering significant changes in them “(AEMP, 2014).

Furthermore, we understand that the music therapist “is a professional with a solid knowledge and identity both in music and in therapy integrating all his/her competencies from the discipline of music therapy. The objective is to establish a socio-emotional helping relationship through musical activities in a suitable frame, in order to promote and / or restore the health of people with whom s/he works, significant changes in them” (Mateos, 2011).

Today in Spain there are many music therapy associations (59 registered) of which 10 are members of the EMTC.

The Asociación Española de Musicoterapeutas Profesionales (AEMP) was set up in 2007 as a trade union association which is registered in the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. The main objectives are the regulation of the academic, professional, ethical and research aspects of music therapy in Spain.

Most music therapists in Spain work in private institutions, particularly in special education, geriatrics, neurological rehabilitation, medicine and psychiatry. Music therapy in Spain is similar to the rest of Europe, using international methods and practices which are adapted to the diverse cultural realities.

Most master’s degrees follow the guidelines of the Bologna treaty and the European Space of Higher Education. Two of these are officially recognized by the Ministry of Education.

The AEMTA-EMTC (associations affiliated to the EMTC) and working groups of the AEMP (Association of Professional Music Therapists) have produced a series of documents aimed at organizing and regulating the profession. These documents take their standards from the recommendations of the European Space of Higher Education and the EMTC.

  1. Recommendations for the evaluation of the design of University Postgraduate Courses in Music therapy (2008)
  2. Criteria required to be a professional music therapist in Spain (2009)
  3. Spanish Register of accredited music therapists (REMTA 2010) and Regulations of the Commission of Accreditation
  4. Code of Ethics of Music Therapy in Spain (2014)
  5. Criteria for the organization of National Congresses of Music Therapy (2015)

The main objectives for the profession today are:
• To achieve official recognition of the profession of music therapy.
• To encourage research in Music Therapy in the educational and health areas.
• To emphasize the importance of working and uniting together as a professional group.
• To establish clear standards of quality for training courses and to encourage their presence in the university system.

There are many associations of music therapy in Spain. The following are a selection:

• Asociación Española de Musicoterapeutas Profesionales (AEMP) (Registered in Ministry of Labour. The Spanish Register of Acredited MusicTherapists (REMTA) and Supervisors (SMTAE) is administered through a commission within this association.

• Asociación de profesionales de Musicoterapia (APM)

• Asociación para el desarrollo y la investigación de la musicoterapia (ADIMTE)

• Asociación Valenciana de Musicoterapia (AVMT) Fd 1991

• Música Arte y Proceso (MAP)

• Asociación CastellanoLeonesa para el Estudio, Desarrollo e Investigación de la Muscoterapia y la Arteterapia (ACLEDIMA)

• Asociación de Profesionales de Musicoterapia (APM)

• Asociación Galega de Musicoterapia (AGAMUS)

• Asociación Gaditana de Musicoterapia (AGAMUT) fd 1999

• Associació Catalana de Musicoteràpia (ACMT) fd 1982

• Asociación Aragonesa de Musicoterapia (AAMT)

• Federación Española de Asociaciones de Musicoterapia (FEAMT) fd 2014

Training is provided through postgraduate and master’s degrees in public and private universities, music conservatoires, and other training institutions. It is recommended that training should have a minimum of 60 ETCS.

Master in Music Therapy offered by Universities, Institutes and Music Conservatoires in Spain:
• Escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya (ESMUC), Barcelona (
• Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (
• Universidad Católica de Valencia (
• Universidad de Barcelona IL3-UB (
• Universidad de Extremadura (
• Universidad de Zaragoza (
• Universidad Europeo de Miguel Cervantes, Madrid (
• Universidad Internacional de la Rioja (UNIR) ONLINE (
• Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca (
• ISEP (

Master’s Programs in Music Therapy offered in private institutes
• Casa Baubo, Galicia (
• Centro Extremeño de Investigación, Musicoterapéutica (CEIM), Cáceres (
• Instituto Música, Arte y Proceso, Vitoria-Gastéiz (
• Instituto de Terapias Globales, Bilbao (


Bengoechea, C. (2005). “La Musicoterapia en España”. In T. Wigram, I. N. Pedersen & L. O. Bonde: Guía completa de musicoterapia: teoría, práctica clínica, investigación y formación. Vitoria-Gasteiz: AgrupArte Producciones.

Betés del Toro, M. (comp.) (2000). Fundamentos de Musicoterapia. Madrid: Morata.

Mateos, L. A. y Fonseca, N. (2008). Asociacionismo y Profesionalización de la Musicoterapia en España. En Actas del II Congreso Nacional de Musicoterapia. “Formación, profesionalización e investigación en Musicoterapia”. Zaragoza, 7 -9 Marzo 2010.Zaragoza: Estudio de Palabras.

Mercadal-Brotons, M. & Mateos Hernández, L. A. (2005). Aportaciones para la consolidación de la Musicoterapia en España dentro del E.E.E.S. Music Therapy Today, 6(4). Retrieved from

Poch, S. (2011). Music Therapy in Spain, Education, Practice and Research: Development and challenges. In Sabbatella, P. (Ed). Evidence for Music Therapy Practice, Research & Education – Selected Readings & Proceedings of the VIII European Music Therapy Congress, May 5-9, 2010, Cádiz, Spain. Granada: Grupo Editorial Universitario. ISBN: 978-84-9915-630-9.

Poch Blasco, S. y Del Campo, P. (1993). “Music Therapy in Spain”. In C. M Dileo (ed.): Music therapy international perspectives ( pp. 534-556). Pennsylvania: Jeffrey Books.

Sabbatella, P. L. (2004). Music Therapy in Spain. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Retrieved March 31 2004,

Sabbatella, P. (2011). Registro Español de Musicoterapeutas (REMTA): Adaptación del Registro Europeo de Musicoterapeutas (EMTR). En Sabbatella, P. (coord). Identidad y Desarrollo Profesional del musicoterapeuta en España. Actas del III Congreso Nacional de Musicoterapia. Cádiz, 8-10 Octubre 2010. Granada: Grupo Editorial Universitario. ISBN: 978-84-9915-629-3.

Sabbatella, P. & Mercadal-Brotons, M. (2013, august). A descriptive study of Music Therapy Profession in Spain: Professional and employment status. Poster presented at IX European Music Therapy Congress, Oslo, Norway. Dr. Patricia Sabbatella (2006)idEC-UPF; Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC) (2014).