View of Interview with Patxi del Campo San Vicente

Interview with Paxti del Campo San Vicente

By Barbara L. Wheeler

Patxi del Campo San Vicente
Patxi del Campo San Vicente was chair of the VII World Congress. Patxi Del Campo San Vicente, music therapist, Fellow of the Association for Music & Imagery, is the Director of the Master Course in Music Therapy at the Music, Art and Process Institute in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. He is the author of several publications about music therapy and the director of Música, Arte y Proceso Journal. He is one of the co-founders of the European Committee of Music Therapy (1990). In 1993 he was the chairman of the VII World Music Therapy Congress in Vitoria. From 1993 to 1999 he was the Secretary of the World Federation of Music Therapy. He was Coordinator of the Ninth European GIM Conference, which took place in Laguardia (Álava, Spain) in September 2010. The theme for the conference was “Music, Imagery and Psychotherapy.” Website:

How did it come about that the World Congress was held in your part of Spain?

In an assembly held during the VI World Congress of Music Therapy, in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), from the 15th to the 20th of July 1990, the city of VitoriaGasteiz was presented by “the School for Music Therapy and Group Techniques” (Today Instituto Música Arte y Proceso ( as a candidate for hosting the VII World Congress. This candidacy was supported at the time of presentation by the city's mayor, Mr. José Angel Cuerda; the Director of the Institute for Educational Science, Mr. Jesus Arzamendi; and the Director of the Basque Government's Social Welfare Department, Mr. José Antonio Perez de Arróspide.

During this assembly, the 21 countries agreed unanimously to nominate Patxi del Campo San Vicente (Head of the Instituto Música Arte y Proceso) and the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz as organizer and host, respectively, of the VII World Congress.

During recent years music therapy has seen a great deal of both academic and scientific development in different countries. The United States, Germany, England, etc., are all clear examples of places where music therapy has become quite habitual within rehabilitation or pedagogical process of different teams of professional people.

The fact that the VII World Congress of Music Therapy was held in Vitoria-Gasteiz  allowed Euskadi to get a little nearer to the scientific and professional reality of a subject, which within Spain has been concentrated in the developments made over 8 years in Vitoria-Gasteiz.

Since 1987 Vitoria-Gasteiz had been the venue of an annual Summer School as well as a European Seminar of Music Therapy. (This year, 2011, will be the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Summer School.) It was precisely in the framework of the “European Seminar of Music Therapy” in 1989 – in which several European countries were involved - when the “European Committee of Music Therapy” was born.  Because of that, the candidature (editor’s note: candidacy) of Vitoria-Gasteiz was supported by music therapists from different countries of Europe, with the" Institute Music, Art and Process" as the organizing of the event. The VII World Congress was planned to be both an open door and a meeting place for those people taking part in the Congress, so that they can go back at the end of the Congress to their respective countries with an idea which has been created from personal contacts, the taking part in different scientific events and cultural visits to both the city and the country which received them.

Who besides you was involved in the organization and who had what role? Was a Spanish music therapy organization involved in the planning?

Just to bear it in mind, it might be said that that Conference was at the same time the “I Conference of the World Federation of Music Therapy.” It was supported by public institutions from both state and regional, as well as the “European Committee of Music Therapy.” In this way, the “VII World Conference of Music Therapy” was the first edition of the World Conference that had an International Scientific Committee. Apart from this, that Conference had the recognition of “Health Event of Interest” by the “Health Department of the Basque Country Government.” On the other hand, the “VII World Conference of Music Therapy” had the support of Her Majesty the Queen of Spain, and the collaboration of the following public state institutions: Education Department; Health Department; and Social Services Department. In addition to this, the Conference had also the collaboration of the “National Association Committee for the Art and Creativity for people with disabilities” (in Spanish ACEAC Asociación Comité Español para el Arte y la Creatividad de las Personas con Discapacidad).

How was the congress organized? Were there plenary sessions and also smaller sessions? What social activities were planned? How many people attended and from how many countries?

Tony Wigram, the Scientific Coordinator of the Conference
Tony Wigram, the Scientific Coordinator of the Conference.

The scientific areas of the VII World Congress on Music Therapy were drawn up in an attempt to include the needs and interests of music therapy professionals from different countries. The idea was to create a forum for scientific exchanges of an international level.

The VII World Congress was structured in four areas in the following way:

  1. Clinical music therapy
    • Music therapy in people with:
      • physical disabilities
      • mental disabilities
      • sensory disabilities
    • Music therapy and mental health
      • Music therapy and neurotic problems
      • Music therapy and psychotic problems
      • Music therapy and addictions
      • Music therapy and neurological deterioration
      • Music therapy in the social framework/Music therapy in general medicine
    • Music therapy and terminal illnesses              
      • Music therapy and birth
      • Music therapy and general operations
  2. Music and Experimental Research
    • Psychology and music
    • Neurophysiological variables and research into music therapy
    • The development of the function of music
    • Acoustics and sound perception
  3. Music and Music Therapy
    • Technical-musical aspects
      • Sound research and creation.
      • Musical therapeutical pedagogy
      • Technical materials and innovations
      • Computer software
    • Culture, music and music therapy
      • Musical philosophy and sociology
      • Folklore and music therapy
      • The aesthetics of sound perception
      • Contemporary creation, musical composition, aesthetics and sensitivity
    • Music and musical development:
      • Musical creativity and personal development
      • Using music for a complete education
  4. The training and role of the music therapist
    • Schools: Methodology, programming, objectives
    • Interdisciplinary training designs
    • The role of the music therapist in institutions
    • A professional profile of the music therapist
    • Ethical codes of the music therapist

Different forms of participation were used to make it more able for participants to obtain information and contrast opinions. Thus, the Congress was structured around the following:


Date: July, Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th



Data of interest

Other events held during the Conference   

What were some of the highlights for you - in terms of the formal congress content and personally?

From a session at the conference with amongst other Ruth Bright and Patxi del Campo
Ruth Bright (Australia), Patxi del Campo, Jesús Loza (Director of Social Services), Aguirre Bravo (Provincial Director of Telefónica). Playing the Txalaparta (Basque musical instrument) Sara Gómez y Maika Gómez.

The VII Congress worked along the lines of previous Conferences, where it was considered vital that all those professionals who are directly or indirectly involved in music therapy and the rehabilitating processes of communication should take part. The Congress was designed based on the general objective of music therapy and multiprofessional groups.

We had the opinion that a World Congress should be where research and experiences were exchanged, which can then be used within therapeutic techniques. It should also be a place where new resources were presented. The aims of the VII World Congress of Music Therapy were the following:

  1. To promote scientific research, experimental development and the theory of music therapy.
  2. To make known different ways music therapy can take part in an interdisciplinary and multiprofessional context.
  3. To enable different professionals and associations related to music therapy to exchange research and ideas and contrast experiences.
  4. To promote discussion about the training of music therapists in European countries and in comparison with other countries around the world.
  5. What was the relationship of the congress to the World Federation of Music Therapy, which by that time was well-established?

From my personal point of view, one of the most important things of the conference was the fact that several countries collaborated together to go on with it (not only the host country). An example was the international scientific and organizers committees. 

Design, theme and subject, members of the different committee, etc. were agreed together by the Organization of the Conference and the WFMT through the meetings held. With the goal to establish a way of communication between the community of music therapist of Spain and the international community, a National Committee for the Music Therapy was created and almost the whole associations for the Music Therapy of Spain were presented on that Committee.


Pais Vasco. VII World Congress of Music Therapy, Conference Program

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