Associate Professor of Music Therapy Dr. Anita Swanson is passionate about the effect music has on individuals. Music is often called a “universal language” and not only connects people from various walks of life, but it has been proven to heal. Dr. Swanson strives to help future and current music therapists succeed. As part of that mission, she serves as a council member of the World Federation of Music Therapy, helping to promote global music therapy connections. The World Federation of Music Therapy mission is to develop and promote music therapy throughout the world as an art and science. On March 1, Dr. Swanson spearheaded World Music Therapy Day as part of her role on the World Federation of Music Therapy Council. Dr. Swanson and her team created the annual event to celebrate and recognize the music therapy profession globally. Participants included music therapists, consumers of music therapy, employers of music therapists, and other supporters. Hashtag stats for #worldmusictherapyday had a potential reach of 1.2 million on March 1.
Music therapy facilitates growth and development in several aspects of a person’s life.
“World Music Therapy Day is a way to celebrate our profession of music therapy,” Dr. Swanson said. “It may also be used as an opportunity to educate the public about music therapy and advocate for our profession on a global scale.” More than 1,000 posts were made using the hashtag #worldmusictherapyday from all over the world: “Happy #WorldMusicTherapyDay to all the fabulous music therapists in the world. I am in awe of you and what you are doing for the people around you.”“Today is #worldmusictherapyday Music therapy changed my life. It didn’t aim to ‘fix me’ or ‘make me less autistic’ (perish the thought); it gave me an outlet for emotions that were otherwise hard to express.”“Today is #WorldMusicTherapyDay! More than 100 patients benefit from our music therapy program every year, and our therapists make such a big difference in children’s hospital stays.” Music therapists across the globe honored and raised awareness about World Music Therapy Day by hosting educational symposiums and local community events. In the months before World Music Therapy Day, Dr. Swanson presented at the annual American Music Therapy Association Conference in Dallas, Texas. Her research was selected as one of the top four research papers and featured in an oral research presentation at this conference. The topic was “Impact of a music therapy group on mobility and non-mobility outcomes in persons with neurologic disorders.” Dr. Swanson takes great pride in being part of a health profession that utilizes the power of music within a therapeutic relationship to effect change. She said, “Since music affects humans in many different ways, music therapy facilitates growth and development in several aspects of a person’s life.”