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Welcome Notes

Bringing comfort, solidarity and hope to war refugees through music.


‘Welcome Notes Europe’ is Musicians Without Borders’ response to the arrival of refugees and migrants, people fleeing war, abject poverty and climate change, who have arrived in Europe since 2015. Welcome Notes began in the Netherlands but soon expanded to include trainings and pilot projects in Germany, Italy, Greece and Bosnia and Herzegovina. MWB adapted its already developed trainings from conflict regions to different target groups and situations among refugee populations in Europe.

Musicians Without Borders has engaged in various levels of partnerships and pilot projects with Musicians for Human Rights (Italy), Landesmusikakademie NRW (Germany), El Sistema Greece, SOS Emergency Response (Italy), IOM Greece and Save the Children NWB (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Projects have focused on capacity building and training of local musicians, who are then integrated into the regular programs of the partner organizations. MWB has tailored its expanded training program (with new modules incorporating training in trauma and self-care, Hip-Hop, working with adolescents and use of technology in workshops) to different target groups. Our expanded trainer team is now capable of adapting the program to suit local needs.

The main beneficiaries of the projects so far have been children and adults with a refugee background and unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASCs).

Training for Musicians

We offer training for musicians, music teachers and workshop leaders from all cultural backgrounds who wish to increase their ability to use music as a tool to work towards the social inclusion and support of refugees and newcomers. This training has been specially adapted from our advanced training course and offers the necessary skills to lead music workshops with refugees in European communities.

The following skills and subjects are addressed in the training:

  • Community music approaches to singing, (body) percussion, movement, songwriting
  • Trust-building and teamwork
  • Basic trauma awareness
  • Nonviolent communication and building empathy between participants
  • Nonverbal techniques for music making
  • Creativity and improvisation
  • Connection with organizations and initiatives working in local refugee centers and communities

We’re open to discussing the implementation of Welcome Notes training opportunities with partner organizations in other European countries. Please contact: [email protected]

Vision Going Forward

Currently Welcome Notes Europe is moving out of a pilot phase of activities with Save the Children in Bihać, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and we see the opportunity for a continued collaboration. This will include further training work with the local team of musicians and social workers, the alignment of MWB’s training program with Save the Children’s education activities and the delivery of regular music workshops for refugee and local children within Save the Children’s work in the Una-Sana region.

In addition, the collaboration in Heek, Germany, with the Landesmusikakademie NRW will continue with 3 more trainings Musicians Without Borders and MWB will remain able to respond to requests for training, advice or other collaboration with organizations in other countries, especially Greece and Italy.

Blog / News
November 10, 2019
We talk to Popup Choir Amsterdam about their love for music, singing and how music helps people overcome differences.
July 8, 2019
Enjoy this look at our activities and work throughout the world in 2018.
December 14, 2018
As Welcomes Notes program turns 3 years in 2019, Program Manager, Anna Swinkels shares the fourth 'Story of Light' and how we're using music to support the growing number of refugees in Europe.
June 7, 2018
We are happy to report that we have started a new Welcome Notes training group in Torino, Italy, in collaboration with Musicians for Human Rights.
April 23, 2018
Last weekend, we returned to the Landesmusikakademie NRW to provide training to musicians who work with refugee communities in Germany.
February 21, 2018
Photos from the last group of wonderful Welcome Notes trainees in Amsterdam!
October 11, 2017
We just concluded our latest Welcome Notes training in Amsterdam, with a new group of musicians and music teachers who wish to use music as a tool to support and connect with refugee communities.
July 7, 2017
In June, we ran a five-day Advanced Community Music Training in partnership with the Landesmusikakademie NRW, training local musicians to work with refugees and asylum seekers across Germany. More info: