Vilmante Aleksiene1, Loreta Kaciusyte Skramtai2, Jautre Sinkuniene3, Jurgita Zebrauskaite – Talockiene4, Zita Abramaviciute – Muciniene5
1Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Faculty of Music, Vilnius, Lithuania
2Vilnius Balsiu Progymnasium, Vilnius, Lithuania
3Mykolas Riomeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania
4Lithuanian Music Therapy Association, Vilnius, Lithuania
5Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Vilnius, Lithuania
In late 1970’s Lithuania marked the beginning of music therapy on amateur basis in medical and psychotherapeutic areas of practice. Research into the role of music in treating psychosomatic diseases started in the Laboratory of Resort Treatment Research. In 1985 – 1990 music activities were being introduced in Republican Vilnius Psychiatric Hospital. However, in 1990’s, funding of music therapy practice and research was discontinued because of political situation and financial restrictions in a period of restoration of Lithuania’s Independence.
The law on Social Integration of Disabled (1991) forced the establishment of music classes “Credo” for people with disabilities and lately (1995) a PhD program at Vilnius Pedagogical University. Researchers investigated active music therapy msethods for handicapped that had not been previously applied in Lithuania (Aleksiene, 2001; Kaciusyte Skramtai, 2002; Sinkuniene, 2001; Vilkeliene, 2000).
The Lithuanian Music Therapy Association was established in 1997 aimed to develop competencies of music therapy pioneers. The Association launched courses given by renowned music therapists from Europe and USA. Working relationship was established with the Norwegian music therapists, seven Lithuanians received grants of Nordic Council for music therapy studies in Norway (1998 – 2004).
From 2002 projects were fulfilled: PHARE 2000 ACCESS project “Social-interactive model of musical activities with cerebral palsy teenage” (2002 – 2003); Geneva Initiative in Psychiatry project “Artistic self-expression of persons with severe mental problems” (2004 – 2005); European Social Fund project “Music Therapy Model for Schools” (2011 – 2013).
In 2014 Ministry of Health approved an Order for professional qualification requirements of arts therapist. This document was necessary for accreditation of music therapy training program. A joint Music Therapy Master’s program (Vilnius University – Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre) started in 2015. Therefore, 2017 the graduates of this program will continue music therapy development in Lithuania.