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WedMar 1

World Music Therapy Day – March 1, 2023

World Music Therapy Day on March 1 every year is a day for people all around the world to celebrate the healing power of music. People have always known and spoken about the power and benefits of music. Music therapy exists as a clinical field. Music therapists use music to help people, especially children, people with disabilities, people with mental issues, and the elderly. Music therapy is an established health profession where music is used therapeutically to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. Music therapy isn’t just about therapists playing or recommending certain types of tailored music to soothe their clients and meet their needs. Music therapy actually allows people who may find it difficult to communicate through words to communicate through music instead.

History of World Music Therapy Day

World Music Therapy Day was launched by the World Federation of Music Therapy (W.F.M.T.) in 2016. The W.F.M.T. defines music therapy as the use of music and/or its musical elements by a qualified music therapist with a client or group. The World Federation of Music Therapy was formally established in Italy in 1985 by 10 founding members from all over the world. They were from Argentina, Italy, France, the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Germany, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Poland. 

Music therapy has existed long before the formation of the World Federation of Music Therapy. In 5000 B.C., Egyptian priest-physicians used music for healing. Philosophers like Plato and Aristotle also argued about the benefits of music for emotions and highlighted its possible usage in treating mental disorders. Hippocrates played music for his mental patients as far back as 400 B.C. Music therapy has also been a part of many cultures. Aesculapius, son of the ancient Greek god of music Apollo, was said to cure diseases of the mind through music and songs. In the U.S., Native American medicine men used chants and dances to heal patients. The same can be seen in many other cultures where local medicine men and native doctors used incantations, musical chants, and dances to cure patients, especially those with mental disorders.

Over time, music therapy began to gain more standing in the field of medicine, especially with the works of 16th and 17th-century scholars like Ernst Anton Nicolai, Michael Ernest Ettmuller, and Robert Burton. These theories were also seen in practice during World Wars I and II, when musicians would go from hospital to hospital, playing music for soldiers suffering from emotional and physical trauma. By the 20th century, music therapy gained acceptance as a field of therapeutic medicine.

World Music Therapy Day timeline

Ernst Nicolai Connects Music To Medicine

In his book, “The Connection of Music to Medicine,” Nicolai explores the power of music over the nerves.

The ‘Music And Health’ Journal is Created

Eva Vescelius, musician and founder of the National Therapeutic Society of New York, creates the ‘Music and Health’ journal.

Bachelor’s Program In the U.S.

The first music therapy bachelor’s degree program is established at Michigan State College, now Michigan State University.

The First Textbook In The U.S.

Harriet Ayer Seymour, a music therapist to World War I Veterans and founder of the National Foundation of Music Therapy, writes the first handbook on music therapy.

World Music Therapy Day FAQs

What is the World Federation of Music Therapy?

The World Federation of Music Therapy (W.F.M.T.) is an N.P.O. gathering music therapy associations and individuals interested in promoting music therapy worldwide through exchanging information, and collaboration among professionals.

Is there a theme for World Occupational Therapy Day?

There are many ways to promote and celebrate World Occupational Therapy Day. The theme for 2021 was ‘Belong. Be You.’  This year’s theme is ‘I will change the world by…’

How long does it take to become a music therapist?

Music therapy students complete 1,200 hours of clinical training, including 900 hours in a clinical internship. Music therapy graduates must pass the national certification. exam with the Certification Board for Music Therapists before practicing music therapy in a clinical setting.


How to Observe World Music Therapy Day

  1. Thank a music therapist

    If you or someone you know has benefitted from music therapy, World Music Therapy Day is your chance to show them how much you appreciate their work. You can do anything to thank them, from writing a thoughtful gift note, referring them to someone else, or sending them a gift basket.

  2. Get musical

    You can enjoy Music Therapy Day by playing your favorite kind of music. Pick music that makes you laugh, that makes you want to dance, that makes you feel at peace, or that gives you joy. If you have any musical talents, you can go to a local hospital, senior center, or orphanage (with permission of course) and bless the people there with some of your beautiful music.

  3. Donate

    On World Music Therapy Day, you can make a donation to support music therapy. Find your local or national music therapy association and ask how you can support their needs. You can also donate to programs like Bring The Joy, which provides music and art therapy programs for seriously ill children.

5 Facts About Music Therapy That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. It’s healed millions

    Music therapists serve over 1.6 million people every year, and the number is still increasing.

  2. It’s not just for kids

    Contrary to the stereotype that music therapy is mainly for children, it can actually be used for people of all ages.

  3. You don’t need to be musical

    You don’t need an amazing singing voice or skill with a musical instrument to benefit from music therapy.

  4. It can help with addiction

    Music therapy isn’t just used for mental disorders — it can also help as a treatment tool for addiction and substance abuse.

  5. It’s not just mental

    Music therapy can also heal the body physically by helping with improved respiration, lower blood pressure, reduced heart rate, and relaxed muscle tension.

Why World Music Therapy Day is Important

  1. It brings people together

    World Music Therapy Day brings people together. In music therapy sessions, patients are often put in groups together to perform musical numbers. There is a certain light that comes on people’s faces when they perform or listen to healing music together as a community.

  2. Music can heal the world

    People have always said this in vague metaphorical terms, but we mean it literally. Music has the power to heal the world, and more people need to know how to harness it to heal themselves and their loved ones. Music moves us all, and it can affect our feelings, moods, and actions.

  3. Music therapy is underrated

    Chances are that you never even heard of music therapy before today. Music therapy is underrated and underappreciated. We love World Music Therapy Day because it shines a light on the work of music therapists around the world and spreads awareness about the benefits of music therapy.

World Music Therapy Day dates

2023March 1Wednesday
2024March 1Friday
2025March 1Saturday
2026March 1Sunday
2027March 1Monday
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