|Introduction| |Chile| |Music Therapy in Chile| |Music Therapists in Chile| |Events Around the Music Therapy| |The Music Therapy Postgraduate Program| |The Situation and the Professional Status of Chilean Music Therapy| |Where and How do Music Therapists Work| |Economics, Social and Cultural Factors in the Development of Music Therapy| |The Theoretical Background of Music Therapy| |Contacts|
I arrived in Chile in 1991 and, with my most sincere respect for the Chilean people I will try to give you a detailed version of how music therapy grew up in Chile in the last forty years. All of the information regarding the period between 1964 and 1991, I received from my Chilean colleagues, rather than from an article or other kind of publication. I am sure that there is more information hidden in the memories of people here and I hope to bring it together some day. It is also very probable that in some town or little village in the North or South of Chile, somebody is or was working with music therapeutic elements but without any formal studies and without never ever writing it down. As there is still no organisation or association, we have not registered the pioneers of our discipline in Chile.
Chile is a very special country for its geographic situation and also for its history. Chile has been always considered a big island as well as an isolated country; a kind of end place within South America. People who arrived in Chile would stay there the rest of their lives to live in this beautiful place with the Cordillera on one side and the sea on the other. Chile is about 4000 km long, with the big Atacama Desert in the North, a very green middle part which has a lot of different fruits and vegetables, and a very rough and cold Southern plane; home to many sheep. The exotic Easter Island, 4000 km inmost of the Pacific Ocean, with his huge sculptures called Mohair, is part of Chile, as well as the mysterious island of Robinson Crusoe with its treasures, which still excites curiosity. Chile has a population of about 15 million people, five and a half living in the capital, Santiago. The mountains and the sea form part of the landscape from North to South and appear wherever you go, when travelling on the only Highway that runs the length of the country. There are no dialects in the different regions of this large country. You can understand everybody, wherever you go and that can be very surprising when, like me, you have come from Europe.
Chilean music is influenced by indigenous musical sounds such as the sound of the different types of Andean flutes, drums and string instruments. On the other hand, because of the enormous number of immigrants from European countries since the nineteenth century, music has an occidental touch. In Chiloe, for example, a Chilean island in the very South, you can hear a kind of waltz, which seems to be an Austrian traditional song. It is no surprise when you find that an important group of Austrians settled there one hundred years ago.
One of the few surviving Indian cultures, the Mapuche, has always used music in the rituals of healing procedures. The machi is the female figure, who knows all the secrets of the musical healing language, its rhythms and its chants. The sacred drum she uses during the ceremony "ulutrún" is called "kultrún". Other important instruments of the Mapuche culture are the mouth harp and the "trutruca", a kind of primitive flute with just one note, which can be varied. The well-known Chilean anthropologist María Ester Grebe from the University of Chile, investigated and published about these healing ceremonies in the 1960s.
It was also in the early 1960s, when another musician, Elisa Gallán, started a pioneer work in the Psychiatric Hospital of Santiago playing music and singing with schizophrenic patients. Some years later she became Dean of the School of Arts of the University of Chile and her work commitments prevented her from continuing to visit the Hospital. Lamentably, nobody continued with the musical activity in the Hospital. In the early 1970s, Valezca Sigren undertook music therapy work with psychotic adolescent patients in the Psychiatric Clinic. These precedents led to the first music therapy meeting in the School of Music of the University of Chile in 1977. The speakers were Rolando Benenzon from Argentina, Harm Wilms from Germany and Maria Ester Grebe from Chile. The meeting is published in the Revista Musical Chilena RMCH, XXXI/139-140 (July - December), 1977. After this important experience, music therapy activities almost stopped. Chile was then, after the military putsch in 1973, in a difficult social-politician situation. Nevertheless, in the 1980s there were several years when a national dance and music festival for handicapped people took place in Santiago. From what I know about this event, it was very successful and important because it permitted to show "on stage" the capabilities of the person with a disability for the first time.
The year I arrived in Chile, 1991, two other music therapists moved to live in Santiago: Patricia Lallana, from the Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires and Patricia Ubilla, a Chilean music teacher coming back from the Music Therapy Trainee Course in Barcelona. There was also Valezca Sigren, a Montessori teacher, who had studied with Juliette Alvin. Finally, Natalia Gómez, an anthroposophical music therapist, came back from Germany and Switzerland in the early 1990s also. We organised a few music therapy meetings in a school for hearing impaired children, where Valezca was working, in order to get to know each other better. Of course, our common proposal was to develop the music therapy field as well as we could. We also felt, however that it was too early to organise something serious, as Patricia Lallana and myself were foreigners and did not know enough about Chilean costumes, music, education, health and culture and neither did we know people around us.
In 1992, the University of Chile invited Giovanna Mutti, an Italian music therapist from Milan, to present a one-week seminar and two years later Mutti visited Chile again. Both times, her Courses where very appreciated and very well attended, showing great interest in music therapy. Therefore, the University planned a postgraduate program with Giovanna on the head. We were then invited to participate in the discussion about her proposal, but for some reason, the plan did not work out. In 1996, the Psychiatric Service of Hospital del Salvador, where I was working voluntarily, together with the School of Medicine organised a very interesting Seminar "Music, Brain and Therapy". This was my opportunity to speak about music therapy with people who have schizophrenia and have a workshop in group improvisation. It was just by accident, that a few months before, at the World Congress of Music Therapy in Hamburg, I met the first South American music therapists. Three of them, Selva Santesteban, Virginia Tosto and Hugo Uehara, came spontaneously to our Seminar and talked about music therapy in women with Aids. Psychiatrists and Neurologists spoke about several topics close to music therapy: one about the illness of Schumann, another about the experience of being a co-therapist in music therapy sessions in a hospital in Switzerland. In 1998 the University of Chile invited Dr. Gúvenc from Turkey to speak about oriental music therapy. He came back to Chile two years later and will be here again in November 2002.
In 2000, we organised the First Chilean Music Therapy Symposia with guests from Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Our Second Chilean Symposia will be realised from April 10th to April 12th 2003. It will be, at the same time, the Fourth Latin-American Music Therapist Meeting, so all the Latin-American delegates will be in Santiago to discuss about the situation of Music Therapy in this part of the world. Our guests, this time, come from Germany, South Africa, United States and Argentina.
Finally, in 1999, the first Postgraduate Music Therapy Course started, in the University of Chile, School of Music, for professionals of music, pedagogic and health. Since then, the Program has continued regularly. The new students, about fifteen in each intake, are selected every one-year and a half. At the moment (September 2002) we are working with our third intake group. The Postgraduate Program has a duration of two years and offers three semesters of theoretical knowledge and self-experience, followed by a semester of supervised clinical or educational practice.
You can find all the references in the homepage of the University of Chile: www.uchile.cl, then going to "Fac. de Artes" and, finally, to "Postítulo".
In Chile the profession of the music therapist does not yet exist. It is not registered and has no employment code-number. Music Therapy is considered a specialisation within another profession. Most of our students are already qualified as music teachers, musicians, teachers for special education, psychologists or audiologists.
Music therapists are working in the Psychiatric Hospital, the female prison, in two centres for autistic children, in a centre for hear impaired children, in a centre for children with cerebral palsy, in a special school and in private practice. The students of the music therapy postgraduate course do their experience in these places, some of them privately funded, some public. This year, we started a very interesting work with children who have burn injury and their mothers in COANIQUEM (Corporación de ayuda para el niño quemado).
Chile is far from being a country with social equal rights. Most of the people are fighting to have enough for their primary necessities: eating, living, education and health. Psychotherapy and Music Therapy are luxuries, available only for a few people. The economic and social differences are enormous. The economic conditions of the public hospitals are generally very bad, there is no money left for specialist therapies like music therapy. Some of them do not even have enough medication. By law, no public hospital may employ anyone for a few hours, except doctors. So, it is very probably, that the music therapist is working for nothing. In the private sector, there are more possibilities to get a little space and money, however, the selection criteria are not very clear. There are still no budgets for music therapy; this means that it depends absolutely on the institution how much they will pay to you: The proposed health reforms here may bring some good news for us. At this moment, the primary services in all the regions are employing psychologists and psychiatrist, and the health ministry is more and more aware of the importance of mental health to prevent physical illness. Chile is one of the countries, they say, with the highest depression rate, especially in women. This must have a reason and, therefore, a cure. Chilean people are not very "good" in looking for external help. Men are considered very resistant in recognising personal problems. Chile is a very Catholic country, lots of people have their personal and intimate way of explaining and resolving conflicts.
The school system is also in a reform process, which means more space for extra curricular activities. Some schools offer dance workshops, others music workshops and, depending on the criteria of the director, in some places, music therapy workshops are offered. Again, there is no clear structure of payment. It is absolutely arbitrary and unpredictable.
As I mentioned before, all "Chilean" music therapists come from different schools and different countries. In the Postgraduate Program we teach about the different schools, methods and their theoretical background. In the personal work, everybody follows their own way: the anthroposophical one, the morphological one, the Juliette Alvin approach or the group therapy method created by Pichon Riviere. There is no Chilean music therapy concept yet but we hope to find it some day, with our students and future colleagues, through investigation and listening to the own voices, the own culture and the own music.
This year, Patricia Lallana, Patricia Ubilla and myself founded the Chilean Institute of Music Therapy (ICHMU). Our main proposals are diffusion, investigation and clinical assistants in music therapy, but also the creation of a national conscience about our discipline, visiting the regions and having seminars and workshops in schools and hospitals outside Santiago.
Susanne Bauer: Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Chilean Institute of Music Therapy (ICHMU): Email email@example.com.
Pamela Mayer, Carolina Muñoz (ex-students of the Postgraduate program), Web:www.musicoterapiaonline.cl
Bauer, Susanne (2002). Music Therapy in Chile. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Retrieved June 12, 2013, from http://testvoices.uib.no/?q=country-of-the-month/2002-music-therapy-chile