Musicians Without Borders programs impact thousands of young people every day through music. Working in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities, we work closely with local musicians and organizations to build sustainable projects in response to local needs.
We are currently active in Kosovo, Palestine, Greece, Northern Ireland, Germany, Rwanda, Uganda, El Salvador, Italy, and the Netherlands.
Music Connects brings together youth from ex-Yugoslavia’s divided communities through a shared love of rock music.read more >
We train young Palestinians to become music workshop leaders for children in camps and isolated villages in the West Bank.read more >
Together with local musicians and organizations, we deliver Community Music Leadership training, outreach programs, music therapy, and large music events for families.read more >
A multi-year collaborative project to create sustainable community music programs within Northern Ireland’s divided communities.read more >
Training youth leaders to use the power of music to address the effects of HIV in young people.read more >
Bringing comfort, solidarity and hope to war refugees through music.read more >
Together with Salvadoran music teachers and community leaders, we share tools to give children at-risk feelings of safety, inclusion, creativity and joy.read more >
El Salvador is a country that suffered a brutal civil war from 1980 to 1992. Today in El Salvador, many years after ‘peace’ was declared, inequality, fear and violence still prevail.
We are training 35 Salvadoran music teachers and community facilitators to become community music leaders, and use music as a tool to promote inclusion and social harmony.
The training is based on our Community Music Leadership training that has been developed and delivered in Central-East Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Following an assessment visit in March, our team has further developed and adapted the program to the local needs in El Salvador.
For more information about the program, please contact email@example.com
Music is an integral part of human nature. It has the potential to connect and bring people together. We use music as a tool to alleviate the disastrous effects and causes of war and mass violence, collaborating with organizations and change-makers globally so together we can:
On the ground, this can sound like rock music, Burundian drumming, rap music, a cello sonata, or a stick hitting the bottom of a bucket. It’s not up to us to decide what the music will sound like. Our role is to create access to music-making that is guided by our working principles of safety, inclusion, equality, creativity, and quality. This approach opens a musical space that enables people to communicate and share. It defines how we work.
Learn more about our core values and the 5 principles of our methodology.read more >
Community music-making is based on working together to create music, giving each participant the opportunity to develop his/her own musical potential within the context of a supportive group environment.read more >
Musicians Without Borders offers several types of training for professionals in community music leadership. Based on our working principles and methodology, our trainings are based on expertise developed from working in current and post-conflict regions.
Please see our current course listings for upcoming trainings.
A 2 day introductory course to Musicians Without Borders’ principles and methodology.
A 4 day practical course to expand the knowledge and skills in community music leadership.
A 6 day in-depth course to gain skills and experience in facilitating training for community music leaders.
Trainings for musicians who wish to work with refugee communities in Europe.
We offer external and tailored trainings and/or workshops in community music for organizations, business, conferences and universities. To discuss your specific requirements, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Musicians Without Borders offers professional training in community music leadership based on our working principles and expertise developed from years of working in current and post-conflict regions. Below is an overview of upcoming trainings by and with Musicians Without Borders.
For more information please contact Meagan Hughes at: email@example.com
An introductory course to Musicians Without Borders’ principles and methodology.
This course is an introduction to the 5 principles of our community music training methodology: Safety, Inclusion, Equality, Creativity, and Quality. We will cover diverse approaches to community music making, including body percussion, drumming, singing, movement, and songwriting.
Duration: 12 hour course | 2 days
Dates: July 20-21, 2019 (arrivals on evening of July 19)
Location: Akoesticum, Ede, The Netherlands
Deadline: March 31, 2019
View the 2018 Preliminary Program (2019 program coming soon!)
Musicians Without Borders has partnered with CONTACT to run a three week professional training program in peacebuilding and conflict transformation with electives in community music leadership. The training is open for participants who are active in their communities as musicians, workshop leaders, teachers or social activists, who would like further their knowledge of using music as a tool for peacebuilding and social change.
Dates: June 3 – 21, 2019
Location: SIT Graduate Institute, Brattleboro, Vermont, USA
Cost: More information on registration & fees here
Please send expressions of interest to m.hughes[at]mwb.ngo
An in-depth course to gain skills and experience in facilitating training for community music leaders based on Musicians Without Borders’ principles and methodology. This course covers the skills and knowledge needed to train others in leading community music workshops. We will examine our training methodology in relations to the 5 principles. The course examines concepts related to nonviolence, trauma and self-care. We will practice facilitating training sessions that cover didactic, pedagogic and musical skills.
Duration: 36 hours | 6 days
Dates: October 20-25, 2019 (arrivals on the evening of October 19th)
Location: Akoesticum, Ede, The Netherlands
Application: Application process opens April 2019, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org for expressions of interest.
View the 2018 program here
Have a question about a training? Here are some of our Frequently Asked Questions.
Our training programs share the knowledge and skills of Musicians Without Borders’ trainers with individuals from a variety of musical levels and backgrounds who are actively involved or wish to be involved in different programs combining music and social change. Participants will deepen their leadership skills while exploring concepts related to creativity, improvisation, and nonviolence. They will learn how to facilitate music workshops that strengthen communities through bridging divides and creating empathic connections between people within an inclusive and safe environment.
We offer training for various levels of experience, both to non-musicians and musicians who are active as workshop leaders, teachers or social activists and wish to develop their knowledge of using music as a tool for peace-building and social change. Trainees must be able to demonstrate empathic sensitivity and active listening skills, which are key elements of fostering positive relationships within a group based on an ethos of mutual respect.
For our Workshop Leader Training and our Training of Trainers courses, trainees need to have a high degree of musicianship with the ability to simplify and break down the elements of music making. This is necessary in order to lead and teach workshop participants at any level of musicianship.
Our training programs address skills across four subject areas: pedagogical, didactic, musical, and workshop leadership.
Pedagogical skills refer to the behavior and attitude of the workshop leader. Strong pedagogical skills can enhance emotional and social well-being, receptiveness of participants, and feeling of safety within the group. These are crucial in (post) conflict areas. The workshop leader uses didactic skills to transfer knowledge and build competence within the group. This refers to the how of leadership. Workshop leadership skills define the preparation needed to carry out a workshop. This involves the preparation of the structure and content of the workshop, ensuring optimal environmental conditions, and taking an inventory of the materials needed.
We focus on how to use music as a tool for peace-building and social change. We do not provide musical instruction per se, rather we use musical activities such as drum circle facilitation, singing, movement, songwriting, and improvisation in order to illustrate and fully utilize the power of music and nurture a culture of nonviolence.
Our Training of Trainers prepares participants to be able to train other workshop leaders using these principles.
Musicians Without Borders trains (adult) workshop leaders to work predominantly with children and young adults and teach others to do so as well, with the understanding that introducing skills related to cooperative music making and nonviolence at a young age can help to influence social change across generations. While some activities that we use in the training are child-oriented, we encourage our trainees to think creatively to adapt these activities for their own target groups through small group work. We also see the inherent value of playfulness that is embedded in these activities as useful skill sets to explore across age groups, encouraging creativity, helping to construct valuable problems-solving skills and building empathy among participants.
Musicians Without Borders grounds its approach to peace-building in the conviction that, while cultural differences often come to play a role in war and armed conflict, they are almost never the real root of the conflict, but often the tools of those who benefit from the conflict.
While we often work in places that have been divided along ‘ethnic’ or ‘cultural’ lines, ‘intercultural dialogue’, as it is usually understood, is not part of the practice of Musicians Without Borders. The idea of ‘intercultural dialogue’ implies that the problems of post-war communities have their roots in cultural differences and can be addressed by bringing representatives of the different ‘cultures’ into contact and engaging them in conversation with each other.
To support processes of re-connection without identifying people by ethnic or cultural labels, Musicians Without Borders works to create a neutral musical space in which participants can both identify themselves and relate to each other primarily through music. We take their talents, passions, and potentials seriously and offer them real chances for musical growth and creative development, contact, and connection with individuals they may not otherwise have the chance to meet. We then trust the music to do its work and leave it to them to choose whether, and how, to meet ‘the other’ outside the musical space. What we invariably see is friendships emerging, along with empowerment and a feeling of relief at not being primarily defined by ethnicity, religion or culture.
Yes! Visit our Resources & Publications page to learn more.
The contexts in which Musicians without Borders work are often fragile and challenging. Resources can be limited, and the difficulties faced by people can be extreme. The trust that has been developed with our partners and their beneficiaries is vital, and the well-being of participants in our programs is always our primary concern. When we do have occasional openings in our international projects, we have to consider any placement of personnel very carefully. Therefore, only a select number of training participants may have the opportunity to work as a ‘trainer intern’ within one of our programs. This consideration would be based on a mutual fit between the skill sets of the individual and the needs of the program and would be on a voluntary basis.
Click here to read testimonials and see what past training participants have to say about our courses.
Participants are encouraged to seek out funding sources within their own communities or organizations to cover the cost of participation, however, a limited number of scholarships may be available on request.
We recommend the following funding resources supporting artist mobility:
The Prins Claus Ticket Fund supports travel costs for cultural professionals living in developing countries. Applications must be sent 8 weeks prior to travel. N.B. The fund will open again in February 2019.
STEP Beyond Travel Grants are designed for up-and-coming artists and cultural workers to travel between EU and EFTA (European Free Trade Association), and countries bordering the EU. Priority is given to individuals who are under 35 years old and/or who are in the first 10 years of their career. Applications must be submitted 60 days prior to travel.
The Asia-Europe Foundation offers travel grants between Asia and Europe for arts professionals. Applications must be submitted 45 days prior to travel.
Other funding advice can be found via the following websites:
For further questions, contact Meagan Hughes at: email@example.com
A Musicians Without Borders initiative, ART27 is a coalition of 15 organizations striving for quality arts education, inclusive arts performance practices and active engagement of the arts in social justice and peace building.
Officially announced on June 20th, 2017, World Refugee Day, the coalition seeks to:
Organize gatherings of socially engaged artists and arts organizations in Europe, to share expertise and to forge collaborations in promotion of social inclusion.
Collect and openly share resources, knowledge and contacts among all artists, arts organizations and arts projects wishing to contribute to a welcoming, inclusive Europe.
Seek to impact the public narrative on war, refugees and migration. Art27 aims to counter fear and xenophobia and promote social inclusion through participatory art projects, arts education, community arts initiatives, exhibits, installations and performances.
Read more about Art27 at: http://art27.art
Musicians Without Borders has resources for staff, partners, donors and the public.
Laura Hassler, Chris Nicholson (2018)
Pamela Burnard, Valerie Ross, Laura Hassler, and Lis Murphy (2017)
Fabienne van Eck, Contributor (2015)
Fabienne van Eck (2014)
Musicians Without Borders Founder and Director, Laura Hassler, speaks at many events around the world. Born and raised in New York, Laura has been active in US civil rights and peace movements from an early age. Laura studied cultural anthropology and music and later worked for social change organizations in the US and Europe.
Laura moved to the Netherlands in 1977, where she developed a career as a musician, linking music to social causes, and specializing in cultural diversity in the arts. Laura has been recognized for her vision and leadership as the recipient of the Reijer Jan Zwaan Culture Prize, Coornhert Prize, Joke Blom Award and the Arabella Carter Award.
Metallica Bassist’s Wife Creates Special T-Shirt For Musicians Without Borders
In partnership with Los Angeles-based artist and fashion designer Chloe Trujillo, Musicians Without Borders has announced a special edition T-shirt… Read more
METALLICA Bassist’s Wife Teams Up With MUSICIANS WITHOUT BORDERS To Launch Limited-Edition T-Shirt
Musicians Without Borders has announced a partnership with Los Angeles-based artist and fashion designer Chloe Trujillo… Read more
Chloe Trujillo and Musicians Without Borders Launch Limited Edition T-Shirt in Support of 20 Years of Music Making and Peacebuilding
Musicians Without Borders is pleased to announce a partnership with L.A. based artist and fashion designer, Chloe Trujillo. To mark 20 years of music making and peacebuilding… Read more
Kosovo: A young country, being shaped by its youth
16 February 2018, On the 10-year anniversary of its independence from Serbia, half of Kosovars want to move West. The others want to shape its future… Read more
Kosovo marks 10 years of independence but its people remain divided
16 February 2018, On Feb. 17, Kosovo celebrates the 10th anniversary of its independence from Serbia. Still not recognized by about 100 nations… Read more
Musicians and miners hope to heal Kosovo’s division
15 February 2018, “Most of our students stay here until they finish school and then leave for Belgrade or Pristina,” says Emir Hasani, a musician from the Serb-majority northern Mitrovica. He works with the Mitrovica Rock School, which runs daily music classes on both sides of the city… Read more
Peacebuilding through music: the connector and the mirror
03 October 2017, There are different ways of experiencing music, as we all know, but also very different ideas about what music is. In European related cultures the dominant idea of music has, over history, become ‘something’ outside the person… Read more
Giving peace a chance? Music can drive us apart as much as it unites
20 September 2017, To avoid hardening the borderlines, some projects have harnessed musical styles that are perceived to be politically or culturally neutral. For example, in modern-day Kosovo Musicians without Borders… Read more
Teaching through trauma
16 August 2016, De Jong was un-phased by the participants’ behavior. As a trainer for Musicians Without Borders, an international nonprofit organization that uses music education to assist in healing conflict-ridden communities, he has led courses everywhere from Rwanda and Palestinian territories… Read more
‘Alles in mijn leven leidde naar wat ik nu doe’
20 June 2015, “Mijn ouders waren medeoprichters van een coöperatieve woongemeenschap. Met vijfenveertig families woonden we in aparte huizen op een groot stuk land dat zij samen hadden gekocht. Allemaal idealistische gezinnen… Read more
This course is an introduction to the 5 principles of our community music training methodology. We will cover diverse approaches to community music making, including body percussion, drumming, singing, movement, and songwriting. more info >
Training dates: July 19-21, 2019
Location: Akoesticum, Ede, The Netherlands
An introductory course to Musicians Without Borders’ principles and methodology. This course is an introduction to the 5 principles of our community music training methodology. We will cover diverse approaches to community music making, including body percussion, drumming, singing, movement, and songwriting.