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Welcome to Music Therapists for Peace

Dear colleagues, friends, visitors:

It has been a long cherish dream to have our web page.  A “Home” for all of us who want to make a contribution through music therapy, arts, education and the likes to help create a Culture of Peace and Non Violence in our wounded planet.
I would like to share this letter that I wrote for the Canadian Music Therapist Newsletter Drum Beat invited by Susan Baines, which gives an overview of where we come from and what we are doing as Music Therapists for Peace.
This web page is still in progress…

Music Therapy is love in action… Edith Boxill

Early beginnings

I met Prof. Edith Boxill in 1983 when doing my master’s degree in Music Therapy at New York University.  Since then we developed a strong connection and I adopted her as my spiritual mother. We shared the same concerns about life and what we could do to improve the lives of people “beyond” our treatment rooms.  In 1988, together with MT Gillian Stephen Langdon we signed our “Not for profit Organization by Laws”. 
As I returned to Argentina I developed projects there and Edith in the New York area.  One of such projects was S. A. V. E. (Students Against Violence Everywhere).
We presented at most international Congresses of Music Therapy on how we could extend our modality to reach the community and the world which is globalized by violence.
In the year 2000 I returned to New York and connected with the Peace Resource Center at Columbia University.  We participated with Edith at different events which took place at the U.N. and gave support to the MT community after the September 11 terrorist attack.
We held a demonstration at Central Park and had meetings at Edith’s place in New York.
We also held a Peace Vigil, with the cooperation of MT Joe Moreno Vigil at the World Congress in of 2002 in London. 
At the end of 2002 I came back to Argentina and started working with other world peace organizations. One of them is IPRA (Institute for Peace and Research Association) I am a co-convener of the Art and Peace Commission.  I have presented in different countries about the power of music and music therapy to raise awareness and consciousness of our possibilities to create a better world by transforming violence into appropriate behavior through techniques unique to our profession.
In 2003 to counter act the war that started in Irak, I started  a radio program called “Imagine: Peace is Possible” now in its 8th year of existence.  In this program I interview people locally or internationally about their endeavors in creating a culture of peace.  We talk issues relating to the environment, health, democracy, enriching spiritual life among others.  Music is chosen carefully to share diversity and empathy with people of different nations. It is also a space to promote our profession, since many people still don’t know what Music Therapy is.
Another project of MTP is the exchange of music therapists to share their culture, their music and clinical observations/interventions. We had the experience of a music therapist from Spain and another from Colombia coming to Argentina. It is until now, that my clients at the Center of Rehabilitation for the blind remember their visits through their songs.


Present
Besides the Radio Program, there are two undergoing projects: one is the Humanitarian Art Manifesto and the other is Teacher’s training workshops to reduce stress, prevent violence and create harmony in the classrooms. (This is a synthesis of music therapy, logotherapy and peace education).
At this moment we are about to give birth to our Web Page. There you will be able to listen to the radio program which will be in Spanish, however, you can still enjoy the music and once in a while there will be a guest who will speak English…
Philosophy
What it is important to understand is that Music Therapists for Peace is more of a movement than an organization per se.  Being a music therapist for peace is about developing an attitude towards life.
It is about how we create harmony and understanding in our daily lives, and how we contribute with our technical abilities and our humanness to empower people around us.  Music Therapists for Peace doesn’t have any political or religion affiliation.  We adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and connect with other music therapists, educators, peace organizations to strengthen possibilities for a better world. However we are rooted in the Humanistic Psychology and in Logotherapy of Viktor Frankl . It is important as MTP to strive for excellence in our profession, keeping in mind that:
…By developing our higher consciousness, in sync with the rhythm of our hearts, we can all take part in the great symphony of life.  Learning to transform dissonance into harmony, we can unfold a melody of hope, unity and creativity for the third millennium.(1)

We welcome all your voices to be part of this universal symphony…

Although Edith Hillman Boxill has passed away in 2005, her spirit and passion remains in our work.

Maria Elena Lopez Vinader, M.A. New York University.
Intl. Director Music Therapists for Peace.
MT at a Center of Rehabilitation for the Blind.
Private Practice. Teacher training workshops.
Group Music Therapy Workshops to achieve Inner Peace.




Bibliography:

Boxill, Edith: Students Against Violence Everywhere, 1997.
Lopez Vinader, Maria Elena: Music in Conflict Transformation edited by Olivier Urbain (I.B.Tauris, 2008).  Chapter 11: Music Therapy: Healing, Growth, Creating a Culture of Peace, p161.