President Presents: World Music Therapy Day

(Thank you to North American Regional Liaison Bronwen Landless and Treasurer Andrea McGraw Hunt, who assisted in writing this Presidents Presents.)

We are excited to commemorate #WorldMusicTherapyDay on March 1, 2022! As music therapists across the globe prepare to celebrate, support, and lift up the people we serve, each other, and the field of music therapy, we reflect on the history and purpose of this day over the last several years.

How World Music Therapy Day Came About

During the 2011 - 2013 membership term, the global membership of the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT) requested a worldwide music therapy day or week. The idea of a designated day to bring awareness, advocacy, and gratitude for a profession and workers was consistent with other healthcare professions. To support this request and as part of the strategic planning process of November 2012 – July 2014, the WFMT Council’s Strategic Planning Workgroup performed a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats analysis and consulted its members, stakeholders, and external persons through three surveys. From the information received, the Strategic Planning Workgroup identified WFMT priorities and stated goals and objectives for moving forward.

One of the objectives of the strategic planning process was to “launch a music therapy day or week” for the goal of “Building Community Awareness.” Music therapists around the globe could use this opportunity to educate the public, celebrate collaborative successes with music therapy participants*, and advocate for pressing issues around the world.

The WFMT Council conducted an extensive investigation to determine a day that would work for all the countries represented by the WFMT. Via the Regional Liaisons and other council members, all regions were consulted and provided feedback, suggesting that the 1st of March would work well in their annual schedules. The Public Relations team noted that March 1st was also United Nations Zero Discrimination Day (no other corresponding designated days were discovered during the lengthy search). The WFMT council, representative of a global membership, voted to observe World Music Therapy Day. As the day is commemorated throughout the world, it has taken on multiple meanings and identities across many cultures, nationalities, and regions, and continues to further the goal of building community awareness.

Global Purposes and Meanings of #WorldMusicTherapyDay

Awareness and Advocacy

Since its inception, World Music Therapy Day has become increasingly important in developed and developing countries where music therapy awareness and advocacy are challenging - in different ways. Although music therapists around the globe advocate for music therapy participants, themselves, and the field on a daily basis, an official day to bring about increased awareness provides music therapists in some countries with an entry point into business and political arenas that would otherwise not exist. It also provides increased visibility and credibility, boosting and supporting music therapists in their awareness and advocacy efforts. World Music Therapy Day furthermore provides another avenue to connect with other healthcare professionals, education specialists, parents, and organizations. Overall, this day creates an opportunity to showcase the music therapy profession and educate others as to its potential benefits. It supports such efforts by fueling our personal and professional motivation to continue the work of increasing awareness and advocacy.


World Music Therapy Day also provides an opportunity for music therapists to come together and be tangibly reminded of the fact that we belong to a field and community beyond ourselves. This also takes on different meanings in different places, where music therapists may feel isolated in their work, not only in a particular facility, but possibly as the only music therapist in their country or region.

Sharing successes, challenges, and losses and knowing that we are not alone is important to music therapists as individuals and as a collective community. This is true even more so in an ongoing global pandemic. Many therapists have lost participants, contracts, and employment. Several therapists have lost family members and friends. It is an excruciatingly difficult time for numerous people. Having a global community of professional music therapists can help us support each other during challenging times. Seeing and interacting with others on World Music Therapy Day may inspire and rejuvenate people who have seen so many losses during the last few years.


As mentioned above, sometimes we mourn… and to be able to do so in solidarity is comforting and can be meaningful too. While World Music Therapy Day was not established with mourning in mind, we are cognizant that on this day, we hold sadness alongside joy. This is particularly true where March 1st is also designated as the Disability Day of Mourning (we learned of this last year). Our hearts break over deaths to filicide; and on this day, we honor and mourn those in the disability community who have died.


Worldwide, music is employed in mourning and in celebration. Our opportunities to make music with others in ways that are transformative are worth celebrating, wherever we find ourselves in the world. In our celebrations, we honor music therapy participants, music therapists, supporters of music therapy, and our local and global communities. We also celebrate the power of music, humbly recognizing that music has been used for healing in many cultures and traditions for centuries.

President’s Invitation

Though music therapy is a rewarding profession, it is also a challenging one. Music therapists face many personal and professional obstacles, hindrances, and inconveniences each day. Joining together, online or in person, can be rejuvenating. It can also lead to increased advocacy efforts. Increasing public awareness about music therapy eventually leads to increased access to music therapy services, and is well worth the ongoing effort.

Thus, as this World Music Therapy Day (March 1) approaches, I invite you to consider how you can help our global community learn about music therapy. I invite you to consider the needs of your community and seek resources and assistance to meet those needs, whether it be via music therapy or another means of development.

I also invite you to reach out to me or any WFMT council member about any suggestions or comments you have about World Music Therapy Day.

*Participant/s is used to describe people who receive music therapy services. This is an intentional choice to refrain from medicalizing or commodifying people with whom we are honored to work.