WFMT Education & Certification Commission:  Video Series Transcript (Italy)


Interview transcript

Ms. Mariagrazia Baroni AIM (Italian Association of Music Therapy Professionals) past President, hosted by Ms Francesca M. Rubbettino.

Rubbettino: Welcome to a new appointment with the video series on training and certification in music therapy offered by the Education and Certification Commission of the World Federation of Music Therapy. The goal of these short informative videos is to provide an overview on training and certification in music therapy around the world.

Let me briefly introduce myself: my name is Francesca Rubbettino, I am an Italian music therapist and psychologist. I'm a member of the WFMT Education and Certification Committee for the term 2020/2023.

Today I’m delighted to have with me Ms Mariagrazia Baroni, a seasoned music therapist with twenty years experience in end of life, hospice and palliative care and with elderly people suffering from dementia and chronic degenerative diseases.

Mariagrazia Baroni has been Chair of AIM the Italian association of music therapy professionals from 2016 to October 2022.

Good morning, Mariagrazia

Baroni:  Good morning Francesca and thank you for inviting me.

Rubbettino: There are so many topics to talk about..but… The first question I’d like to ask is:  in your experience, how has the music therapy profession grown over the last few years?

Baroni: Thank you for this very interesting question. If I remember the beginning of my profession, I observe with great satisfaction that first of all the opportunities for work in different contexts have expanded. 20 years ago music therapists worked in teams in disability and psychiatry contexts, in schools, and in preventive contexts. Recently more opportunities have been opened in the health and social-health context such as the one I currently work in: hospice, adult oncology, and pediatric oncology…and the delicate context of prison. I think that the professional figure of the music therapist has been included in different organizations and in different working teams. This also makes me say with satisfaction that music therapists have obtained a quality job placement within these interdisciplinary and multi-professional teams being able to contribute and collaborate in the drafting of individual and group rehab projects within public and private institutions.

Rubbettino: Of course!... you say “quality”. Do you think that Law number 4/2013 has influenced in a specific or important way this process of growth?

Baroni: Law 4/2013 is a great acquisition for Italy even if it is difficult to understand its scope. We do not read laws every day indeed!

Rubbettino: Of course.

Baroni: So... it’s quite complex... What I can say is that Italy has transposed a European directive on the free circulation of professionals around Europe…. this is to allow professionals to work in all European countries... France, Spain, Austria, etc. This directive, which is embodied in Law No 4, has brought a great deal of change… for example, professional associations - such as ours - represent a professional figure. This representation is expressed through the instruments used by other international associations or regulations: the code of ethics, for example. The main novelty is that Law 4 requires continuous professional training: professional updating is mandatory. This makes a substantial difference from the past: professionals cannot remain anchored to their initial training, but they have to always attend new courses and training, having the support of a colleague's network and the opportunity to draw on the knowledge made available by the international community.

Rubbettino: Yes, the internationalisation of the figure is important! It is also important for WFMT. The ECC is very interested in providing support to professionals who want to leave their home country to work abroad. Obviously, this is often made difficult by the difficulty of obtaining the equalisation of certifications. From this point of view, Europe has already started a process of equalising certifications through competencies with the Bologna Process. It would be useful for this process to be extended to music therapy. Generally, in music therapy, an international reference is made to the American Certification Board as a clear example of certification, but…. referring to a more humanistic vision of training – such as ours – we prefer to talk about skills and competencies rather than certification. What is your point of view?

Baroni: Of course. I would like to add information about Law number 4 which has given an important tool to associations. Italian law allows associations to issue professional and service quality certificates to their members. The law also provides certification issued by independent bodies, recognized by the Italian Government. This certification is issued only by passing a written and oral examination... This is a fairly long process. However, it aims to assess and certificate specific skills acquired through professional practice. It investigates how professionals have fulfilled the obligation of continuous training. The certification tool is very important. In Italy it was carried out through independent bodies on the basis of agreements within European Community State Members. It has as an advantage: the possibility to see recognized the competences of professional qualification externally to the association.

Rubbettino: Yes... So.. May I say that we already have a certification system in our country and that it is a tool that can also be used around Europe, since it refers to European Community legislation. Is there the possibility of using Italian certification in another European Country?

Baroni: At the moment some European Countries have their own professional regulatory process… or different laws regulating music therapy profession… Certification is the tool that can connect these different ways of framing music therapy profession.

Rubbettino: Of course... It really seems like good news even for those who now embark on the training.... to have a clear idea of their professional future.

I now would like to move our attention to an important event that will take place in Italy in 2026: AIM has managed to get the organisation of the next World Congress of Music Therapy to be held in Bologna in 2026. Italy has played an important role in the foundation of the World Federation itself... will you remind us of this historic moment?

Baroni: In 1985, the WFMT was founded in Genoa and it is with great pride and honour that we are hosting the next world congress to be held in Bologna in 2026. It was an intense work carried out together with my colleague Marinella Maggiori and the AIM board. We are satisfied and excited to have to organise this important meeting that will host colleagues from all regions of the world.  We aim to be able to meet the various cultures of music therapy because we know the great variety and mode in which music therapy is applied in the daily work of all those who continue in the daily clinic….  we think that these differences are not a limit but a great opportunity to learn and deepen our practice.

We’ve already started some activities within the association’s members to prepare us for the Congress: we have organised meetings since last year to increase the possibilities for members to be able to present their work at the congress. This is the path we are making; we called it “Road to Bologna”: it is a 4/5 meetings a year program to prepare AIM members to the Congress. There will also be local awareness initiatives to increase the knowledge of our profession. One of the fundamental objectives is to meet the representatives of the most important institutions that can benefit from the presence of music therapy within the interdisciplinary teams and then dialogue with all scientific associations in the various fields of Health and well-being.

We aspire to be able to deepen the topic related to the certification of skills so that it will be easier to move not only in Europe but also around the world.

Rubbettino: This surely is one of our main objectives….. together with continuous training…it is absolutely essential... I think this is a globally shared issue. It’s important for us to be up to date with new approaches and new possibilities for using music therapy in different contexts…… well...  It has been a great pleasure to have this conversation with you... I may say: Good luck for Bologna 2026?

Baroni: Thank you so much for this opportunity Francesca and for the opportunity to share these ideas together with our colleagues. Have a nice day. Thank you.