It was an inspiration to meet Samite Mulondo today. He is a Ugandan musician living in Ithaca, NY, the founder of Musicians for World Harmony. Over the years, Samite has returned frequently to his native Uganda to work with the traumatized youth who were child soldiers in the Lord's Resistance Army. In 2007, Music Therapy Professor Karen Wacks from Berklee College of Music joined Samite on a trip to Uganda to work with the children. Professor Wacks has been able to continue a relationship between Berklee and the children in Uganda ever since, and returned to Uganda in February 2013.
The question of "What happens when you leave?"
The universal concern after international service trips is how to maintain continuity. In this case, thanks to new technology, a remarkable relationship was forged. The town of Lira and its residents are connected to the students at Berklee College through Google Hangout and meet weekly to continue sharing music and dance with each other!
Later in the afternoon we discussed an interesting challenge, which I suspect will be the central discussion of the 2013 American Music Therapy Association conference: "Is there a bright line between music therapy, therapy as performance and healing music?" The second question I'd add is "Should there be?"
Music therapists Karen Wacks and Rebecca Vaudreuil, paired with "Music Spiritualist" Samite Mulondo proposed that there is no bright line that sets Music Therapy apart, but a continuum.
As a physician who spends a lot of time thinking about, playing and advocating for music as healing, who is not trained as a music therapist, I am very much in favor of this idea of a continuum that brings together the music therapist, the musician who performs in healing spaces and the medical professional who plays music. At the heart of it, we are all musicians interested in healing. We have all come to this work from different directions, but are united in our desire to decrease pain and to serve and comfort with music. We can and must learn from and support each other.