In 2001, the continuing education center AMDOR in Martinique organized a training for professionals in health and special education. A first group of 16 people from Martinique and Guadeloupe, French islands in the Caribbean attended a class of Introduction to Music Therapy with Sylvie Ouellet, music therapist from Quebec, Canada. In the following year, another group participated at the level 1 in Music Therapy and Level 2 in 2003 with myself, Guylaine Vaillancourt, a music therapist from Montreal, Canada.
Music is already very alive for this population; it is part of their lives. Their cultural background from Africa and Europe mainly uses percussive instruments like tam-tam and other wooden percussion instruments. Singing and dancing are very much enjoyed in this region.
The people who have attended the training are already using music in their work with children, adults and elderly patients in the hospitals and special schools, but they wanted to learn more about music therapy techniques and intervention plans.
Most of the participants to whom I taught, were musicians, using percussion. They are very strong caregivers with a wonderful sensibility about the needs of others. They are very close to the children and patients they are taking care of. I felt a great respect for the healing process. They have this shaman-like quality. The classes equally included theory and practical aspects. They were very motivated to learn and experiment with music.
In 2004, the "music therapy interns" as they prefer to name themselves, since they are very aware that they are not music therapist yet, came to Quebec for a two-week visit. They visited 6 music therapy settings: geriatric, special school (autism, multi-handicap children and teenagers), and a creative arts therapies center for intellectual challenged adults. They also attended the pre-conference from the Institut québécois de musicothérapie (IQM) and the Association québécoise de musicothérapie (AQM) conference, where Professor Carolyn Kenny, the renowned music therapist was the main guest and speaker. The theme from her book The Field of Play was explored with the conference attendees.
It was a great occasion for them to meet with music therapists from Quebec and France who were also present.
The "Association Filibos" from Martinique, which Marie-Charles Piram and Christiane Lesmond are responsible and AQM, decided on a partnership to have the continuing education training and exchanges between us, here in Quebec and in Martinique.
It is indeed a great joy for the music therapy francophone community to see more countries getting together like this new relationship with this French island.
Vaillancourt, Guylaine , Piram, Marie-Charles & Lesmond, Christiane (2005). Martinique. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Retrieved May 15, 2013, from http://testvoices.uib.no/?q=country/monthmartinique_february2005