When this column is online, we will be attending the V Latin American Congress of Music Therapy (V Congreso Latinoamericano de Musicoterapia) in Santiago de Chile, under the motto "Music and Identity". This event takes place every three years in a different city and gathers music therapists from the whole continent, from Mexico to Argentina. Since the previous congress, a special out-of-the-region guest is also invited; in 2004 we enjoyed the lovely presence of Clive Robbins in Montevideo (Uruguay) and on this occasion Even Ruud will share his experience with us.
Which is the importance of a congress of these characteristics? The attendance to Music Therapy Congresses is an ethical condition for all the members of this professional community. And it is because sharing the knowledge built by the music therapists is the only way that Music therapy will grow. Research is the great engine that allows moving ahead. But the results of research of an individual or a group are useless if they are not shared and seized by everybody. In this sense, papers have a central role. These texts, thought over the solitude of an office or rose from the discussion of small groups, are taken by students and colleagues and contribute to improve their professional quality. And congresses and professional meetings have the same influence. They are the chance of gathering and interchanging between music therapists. This means a step forward for music therapists, and also to Music Therapy.
This is the moment to enjoy how some ideas exposed several years ago have evolved. It is also the instance in which the ones that have quite a long road behind can see how some of our former students show their growth. And it is the chance to discuss all the doubts and questions that we thought of since the last time we said goodbye.
For five days music therapists from Chile, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, and colleagues from other disciplines from these and other Latin American countries participate in this party of knowledge and recognition. In these five days we also build our professional identity. We come out of the small boundaries where we move everyday, to share this space with other colleagues. We come out of universities, hospitals, offices, community centers, clinics, nursing homes, to discuss ideas, to learn from each other, but mainly to remember that each one of us is part of a professional community.
On this occasion, we will have to additional reasons to celebrate. Besides the new books. Besides the new application areas. On this occasion, we celebrate the creation of two new Master in Music Therapy. One was created a few months ago at the Universidad Nacional de Bogot, Colombia. The other will be announced at the congress and it will start on August at the Universidad de La Habana, Cuba. I feel very proud to have had something to do with both of them. In the case of Colombia, I made several proposals during the time in which it was designed. With respect to Cubas Master, it is an honor and a pleasure to have participated in its design, and also to be part of its excellent teaching team, coordinated by Dr. Teresa Fernndez, along with Music Therapy professors from Argentina, Brazil and Spain. I have no doubt that this experience of collective work between colleagues from several countries will drive the creation of new post-degree courses in Latin America.
At the end of these five intense days of theoretical discussions, and also of night parties, shared beers and songs, and hot coffees to face Chileans chilly winter, we will come back to our homes and works. Once again, with the nice feeling that every day we get up in the morning to work with our clients and our students, we are not alone. We belong to a very big community, that goes on building knowledge so we will work better, and feel better while we do it.
Schapira, Diego (2007). Knocking at the Identity Door. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Retrieved June 11, 2013, from http://testvoices.uib.no/?q=colschapira150707