Special feature ‘Music therapy: A profession for the future’

Volume 9 (1) 2017 Special feature (published on 30 September 2017)

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Music therapy: A profession for the future

Why music? Why and when is a music therapist needed?

Lectures and reflections from the international symposium
Aalborg University, Denmark, 15 April 2016

Guest editor: Inge Nygaard Pedersen


This special feature is a series of papers from a symposium held on 15th April 2016 at Aalborg University, Denmark on the topic: ‘Music therapy: A profession for the future’. The two core questions listed in the title: ‘Why music? Why and when is a music therapist needed?’ were the vehicle of the day for both the lectures presented on the symposium day and for the following discussions among the participants.

All together 15 authors have contributed from five universities: Aalborg University (Denmark), University of Melbourne (Australia), Anglia Ruskin University (United Kingdom), University of Bergen (Norway) and University of Oslo (Norway). The special feature brings worked-through reflexive introductions, lectures and reflection papers in three parts, where each part is related to one of the three populations chosen for the roundtables on the symposium.

The organisers of the symposium wondered if common answers to the two core questions in the profession of music therapy would emerge at an international base during the day, or if multiple ideas and subjective answers to the questions would come up.

As the contributions show, it is mostly multiple ideas; yet with regard to case material, the way of carrying out music therapy in a relationship with the users of music therapy is very similar. The theoretical understanding and ideological positions are different. There still seems to be, however, a growing integration of theories and ideas by many presenters and discussion partners, and there seems to be an interest in finding overlapping concepts in the field that can clarify and simplify the dissemination of information relating to the music therapy profession.