Four years ago I wrote in Voices about my very enthusiastic impressions of one UK community centre (Wosch 2002). The centre was directed by Leslie Bunt, realized and presented at the World congress in Oxford by Beccy Read and Eleanor Tingle. Back in Magdeburg/Germany I could also influence some of my students, who are now alumni, with this great idea. Last year they founded the Magdeburg music therapy centre Grammophon – Mobile Music Therapy e.V. (see also www.grammophon-mm.de ).
Some weeks ago we had here at my University the first conference of this music therapy community centre. Two other German centres were special guests: the Musiktherapie auf Rädern [music therapy on wheels] from Münster/Germany (see also www.musikaufraedern.de ) and a music therapy project from Hamburg for the elderly. All three centres or organizations work especially in the field of music therapy with elderly. But the centres in Magdeburg and Münster also serve other fields of clinical practice. The basic idea is, that an office of three and more music therapists can work much more better, effective and professional then three single music therapists. So in the end it is the idea of a community of music therapist everyday in clinical practice. Three dimensions and perspectives of such centres became very obvious to me in the above mentioned conference.
The first dimension is the community of music therapists. From my point of view they can much better develop their own professional identification. Most teachers, medical doctors, nurses, etc. etc. work with colleagues of the same profession in the first phase of their clinical practice together. They can learn from these others and they can develop their identification together with them. Most music therapists start their clinical practice alone, despite in some big clinics AND in music therapy community centres. Moreover, in music therapy centres they can divide all tasks, for instance the administrative tasks. So one can better specialize for instance in one administrative task. This is much more effective then one person doing all these duties (incl. talks with the medical doctor in chief, etc.). Moreover, in a centre music therapists can share their income for supervision and with this they have much more possibilities then a single person. Moreover, in a music therapy centre music therapists can share their income for advertising and marketing. Three music therapists can order materials from marketing specialists. Mostly one single person do not have this financial power and must do it by him- or herself (often not very professional). Moreover, a music therapy centre has one price for one music therapy session. If there are working three single music therapists they often work cheaper then the other to get an order. These are a lot of advantages for the quality of work of music therapists.
The second dimension from my point of view is becoming aware of music therapy in a community. The above mentioned centre in Münster started its work during Christmas. They played 22 Christmas concerts in four weeks. Because of this all nursing homes of Münster know of music therapy and the centre from the very beginning of its work. To collect the power (and music therapists) means also, that plenty of fields of clinical practice can become aware of the benefits they can get from music therapy. Single persons would become crazy contacting so many institutions in such a brief time.
The third perspective of mine is, that the music therapy community centres also could serve community work, or integration, or inclusion for one community. This time this dimension is left in the examples mentioned above. But if the centres are growing and growing, they also could develop this dimension. The centres can for instance include people with dementia in public life through the means of music therapy. The centres can include elderly and children of a community with the means of music therapy. With all this the centres also can include music therapy and music therapists as an important part and a professional component of the regulation of a community.
I enjoy very much the work of my and our alumni here in Magdeburg and of other German music therapists in Münster and Hamburg. I enjoy very much the idea and practice of working together in everyday communities of music therapists.
Bunt, Leslie (2004). Music Space and Health - the Story of MusicSpace. In Pavlicevic M. & Ansdell, G. (Eds). Community Music Therapy - International Initiatives. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Wosch, Thomas (2002). Four Thoughts about Community Music Therapy [online] Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Retrieved June 19, 2006, from http://www.voices.no/columnist/colwosch260802.html
Wosch, Thomas (2006). Music Therapy Community Centres. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Retrieved May 15, 2013, from http://testvoices.uib.no/?q=fortnightly-columns/2006-music-therapy-community-centres