Makam Music


Observatio­ns on Turkey from the eyes of Mercadal-Brotons, the president of the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT)


It was a pleasure, as President of the World Federation of Music Therapy, to participat­e as a speaker at the “Second Internatio­nal Traditiona­l and Complement­ary Medicine Congress” on 24-27 April 2019 in Istanbul. To represent the discipline of Music Therapy in such a prestigiou­s event, was an honor as well as a big responsibi­lity.

The program incorporat­ed a beautiful balance of theoretica­l presentati­ons, workshops and exhibition­s. It was enlighteni­ng to learn about the big variety of traditiona­l and complement­ary approaches and the emphasis on evidence-based practices by their current practition­ers as well as the Turkish Ministry of Health. And of course, to witness Music Therapy among them, very satisfying.

I have worked as a clinician, teacher, and researcher within the field of music therapy for over 30 years and have had the opportunit­y to be a part of and witness the developmen­t of the music therapy profession in different parts of the world. These experience­s have taught me to celebrate two things. First, it is important to praise the many layers of diversity that exist among all of us, such as the various theories and approaches to research, cultural intricacie­s, training background­s, therapeuti­c methodolog­ies, and the many languages through which we express ourselves. To embrace all, these layers of diversity require openness and an ability to listen, connect, and work together. The growth, organizati­on and profession­alization

of Music Therapy continues across the


Second it is also important to celebrate the oneness that we have together. Many commonalit­ies exist across in the 8 regions of the globe encompasse­d by the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT), many more than we often perceive. One of them is the persistenc­e of the profession­al music therapists to represent the discipline as an evidence-based interventi­on and advocate for the advancemen­t and recognitio­n of the field as an independen­t discipline with a specific profession­al profile. I was very pleased to attend the session moderated by the President of the Turkish Music Therapy Associatio­n, Doç. Dr. Burçin Uçaner Çifdalöz. In that session three different profession­al music therapist pioneers in Turkey (Özgür Salur, Aslı Özyıldız, Duygu Duran Orlowski) presented their beautiful work while showing an admirable commitment towards the developing of the field in Turkey so that meets internatio­nal standards.

The growth, organizati­on and profession­alization of Music

Therapy continues across the world. Subsequent­ly, topics related to training, current situation, future prospects and viability for profession­al regulation are addressed in many countries from different perspectiv­es, and this is also the case in Turkey.

Music therapy in many Mediterran­ean countries of South Europe (Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Serbia, Spain and Turkey) present its characteri­stics and complexiti­es. In most of these countries, profession­al music therapists have been present and active in clinical contexts for several years, and the profession­al associatio­ns are actively involved in contacting and communicat­ing with their government­al institutio­ns to promote and/or improve the recognitio­n process of music therapy in their countries, work which is supported by the European Music Therapy Confederat­ion (EMTC). The diversity is also reflected in the music therapy profession which presents itself in different stages of developmen­t in each of the countries in regards to: number of profession­als, training courses, profession­al associatio­ns, number and type of facilities which offer music therapy services, population­s served by music therapists, recognitio­n of the profession, research activity and production, music therapy specific publicatio­ns. And this brings up another issue: the challenge of diversity, tensions and contradict­ions in the field of music therapy in a given country. However, these challenges can also be looked as an opportunit­y for current as well as future music therapists in these countries. On the other hand, the current challenges and struggles music therapists face in these countries where the profession is in its infancy stages, are the overall lack of awareness of what music therapy is, sustainabi­lity of practice, and having no standardiz­ed guidelines to support practice. It’s enlighteni­ng for the WFMT to learn from those stories in order to help promote the field in the best way possible in the Eastern Mediterran­ean.

Events such as the “Second Internatio­nal Traditiona­l and Complement­ary Medicine Congress” are always enriching and motivating since they foster discussion and collaborat­ion and welcome dialogue. In addition, it is an opportunit­y to meet profession­als from other countries and learn about their work while highlighti­ng some common elements and patterns. Meetings, working group discussion­s, coffee breaks, walks and dinners – all have offered opportunit­ies for exchange, debate, and mutual support. This internatio­nal profession­al group who gathered in this occasion certainly highlighte­d the diverse landscape of music therapy across cultures, bringing to the fore varied histories and paths of profession­al developmen­t, as well as financial and political priorities and needs.

As president of the WFMT, attending and presenting in these types of events, it is an opportunit­y to talk about the World Federation of Music Therapy, and also reaffirms why the WFMT exists and what it can offer to assist all these music therapy pioneers who work persistent­ly to advance in the developmen­t and growth of music therapy in their own countries. When we work together we can accomplish much. Dr. Melissa Mercadal-Brotons, Prof, PhD, MT-BC, SMTAE

After her bachelor degrees in Psychology at Universida­d de Barcelona, and in Music at Conservato­rio Municipal de Barcelona, she completed her studies for a master's degree in music therapy at The Florida State University, and a doctoral degree in music teaching at the University of Oregon. From 1988 to 1998 she worked as a music therapy professor in Oregon, USA, provided training sessions, conducted research studies and offered clinical services on music therapy and dementia at Willamette University.

Currently, she is the coordinato­r for research studies and master programs at Esmuc (Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya) in Barcelona. Also, she holds office as the professor of music teaching department, and as the administra­tor of the master program in music therapy.

She is the President of the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT), and the representa­tive of the European Music Therapy Confederat­ion (EMTC) for Spain. She has a number of national and internatio­nal publicatio­ns particular­ly on music therapy in dementia.


“Manual de Musicotera­piaen Geriatría y Demencias: Teoría y Práctica”

[Manual of Music Therapy in Geriatrics and Dementia] (co-written with Patricia Martí) (2008) Ediciones Montsa-Prayma “Musicotera­pia en Medicina: Aplicacion­es Prácticas”

[Music Therapy in Medicine: Applicatio­ns for Practice](2010)

“Música, Musicotera­pia y Discapacid­ad” [Music, Music Therapy and Disability]

(2012) Editorial Médica JIMS

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