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home > Our work > Programs > Where We Work > Welcome Notes
Welcome Notes

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


As refugees arrive in increasing numbers in Europe, Musicians without Borders is building a program of support and solidarity. Our trainers and workshop leaders use the power of music to engage people living in emergency reception centers, building trust and connection among refugees, as well as with the local communities in which they are now located. Following our pilot project in the Netherlands, we’ve now expanded the Welcome Notes project to Italy and Germany and are focusing on providing training and creating connections between local musicians, organizations and refugee communities throughout Europe.


  • bring hope and comfort to those who have been driven from their homes by war;
  • build bridges and create solidarity in European communities;
  • provide a safe, fun, and supportive space for artistic expression and cultural exchange.
Photo copyright: Landesmusikakademie NRW. Pictures: Volker Beushausen
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

Would you like to receive information on upcoming training opportunities? Send an email to: a.swinkels@mwb.ngo

We’re open to discussing the implementation of Welcome Notes training opportunities with partner organizations in other European countries. Please contact: a.swinkels@mwb.ngo


In March 2016, we launched Welcome Notes Italy with the first training for 30 musicians in partnership with Musicians for Human Rights. With this training, we offer musicians the necessary skills to lead music workshops for refugees in Italian communities. The training has been specially adapted from Musicians without Borders’ pilot program in the Netherlands and includes supervised practical work at reception centers.

Would you like to receive information on upcoming training opportunities in Italy? Send an email to: info@mwb.ngo


In partnership with the Landesmusikakademie NRW in Heek, Germany, we train local musicians to work with refugees and asylum seekers across Germany. Over one million refugees have come to Germany since 2015 and there are currently over 70,000 refugees registered in the region of Nordrhein-Westfalen, where Heek is located.

Our next training week is planned for November 19-23, 2018. More information available here.


The Netherlands

In response to increasing numbers of refugees arriving in the Netherlands, we launched a year-long pilot project in 2016 to train musicians to run music workshops in refugee centers. Over the course of a year, we led three training weekends with a total of 62 trainees and organized 40 workshops in several refugee centers.

In 2017-2018, we will run a new series of training weekends for professional musicians, experienced workshop leaders and music teachers who are (or wish to be) active as music workshop leaders in refugee centers or refugee communities in Europe.

Read more and register for our upcoming Welcome Notes training in Amsterdam.

Blog / News
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 26, 2018
An interview with Amanda Koser-Gillespie, our trainer and music coach for our Music Bridge program in partnership with Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin (Northern Ireland).
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! mwb.to/welcome
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: http://mwb.to/training