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Learn more about ways to get involved, join our network, follow our trainings, and support our work.

Advanced Community Music Training Program

Music for Peacebuilding & Social Change

Musicians without Borders invites inquiries from interested individuals and organizations about our advanced training program. We train musicians with experience in community work and/or social activism who are interested in expanding their skills based on our unique expertise in conflict and post-conflict areas.

To learn more about the goals and content of the training, please refer to our FAQs.

Read testimonials from past training participants here.

Watch a video from our recent training as part of the CONTACT Summer Peacebuilding Program:

Upcoming training opportunities:

CONTACT Summer Peacebuilding Program

June 5-16, 2017

SIT Graduate Institute

Brattleboro, Vermont Campus

Musicians without Borders has partnered with CONTACT to run a two-week professional training program in community music leadership and conflict transformation. The training is open to musicians and music students who are active in their communities as workshop leaders, teachers, or social activists and who would like to further their knowledge of using music as a tool for peacebuilding and social change.

More information and registration is available here.

Registration deadline: February 24, 2017. Applications will be accepted after this date on a rolling basis.

Please send expressions of interest to


Advanced Community Music Training

October 23-28, 2017

Akoesticum (Ede, the Netherlands)

Apply online

Cost: 895 euro (including training fees, material costs and room and board). Participants must cover their own travel expenses.

Deadline for first round selection: February 20, 2017 (applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis thereafter)


For over 15 years, our team of trainers have been running community music programs in places struggling with trauma, fear and isolation as a result of war and conflict.

The training content corresponds with the overall mission of Musicians without Borders: to use music to connect communities, bridge divides, and heal the wounds of war. Our three core values, which run as a thread throughout the training, are:

  • Cultivating a culture of nonviolence;
  • Increasing empathy among all participants;
  • Using music as a tool for inclusion and bridging divides.

Funding Opportunities:

The Prins Claus Ticket Fund supports travel costs for cultural professionals living in developing countries. Applications must be sent 8 weeks prior to travel. NB: Fund will reopen for applications on 28 February 2017.

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.

TransArtists and On the Move provide general funding resources for artist mobility across Europe.

For questions, contact Meagan Hughes:



Verena Lourenco, South Africa: The MwB ToT 2015 introduced me to a network of inspiring people, giving me the opportunity to learn from people who spend their lives using music to improve the lives of others. My participation further allowed me to gain the knowledge and confidence needed to use music as a tool for nonviolence and healing.

Being at the early stages of my career, it was extremely encouraging to see that a full-time profession in this truly meaningful nature of work can be a reality. I find myself motivated to take the steps towards building a sustainable career for myself in this space.


Raymond Considine, Ireland: The MwB Training of Trainers week provided one of the richest & most powerful learning experiences of my musical career. The quality of the workshop content was outstanding, covering a wide spectrum of relevant subject matter and delivered in an engaging, enjoyable and personable manner by experienced MwB trainers.

The week also offered an exciting opportunity to interact intensively with musical peers from a hugely diverse range of backgrounds, all sharing their knowledge, stories & ideas with each other. Most importantly, all of this took place in a truly warm, welcoming and energetic space that was created naturally by everyone involved; trainers & participants quickly blended into a cooperative of motivated friends, all open and eager to absorb and impart as much knowledge as possible during this privileged window of opportunity. 

Whatever your level of musical experience and qualifications, this week has the potential to teach, refocus and inspire you anew. 


Christa M. Tinari, Founder of PeacePraxis, USA: The Musicians Without Borders Training was an inspiring, energizing, affirming, and transformational experience! As a singer and experienced peace educator, I am now better equipped to facilitate community music workshops that can foster empathy, movement, emotional expression, communication and cooperation between participants of all ages and backgrounds.

The MwB trainers’ non-judgmental approach created a safe space where I could take playful risks in learning, leadership, and creativity. This is a rare gift! The MwB TOT is a wonderful way to gain new tools for peacebuilding, expand your musicianship skills, and make lasting connections with talented, big-hearted musicians across the globe. Highly recommended!


Mirjam Hendriksen, The Netherlands: During the ToT I was deeply moved and touched by the life’s mission of Musicians without Borders as peace builders and social changers. Their community music projects really make a difference on a global level. To be part (if only for one week) of that idea, to be surrounded by that positive energy of solidarity, commitment, healing, creativity, reconciliation etc. made a deep impression. 

The trainers were highly skilled professionals and I learned a lot of how to make music without using instruments. By singing, and using my body as an instrument. And I had forgotten how it felt to make music, singing together as a large group: to feel part of a something bigger than me, to be uplifted, to feel connection and to feel the vibration of many souls reunited in one song and the power and joy released by that. I felt the power of COMMUNITY MUSIC!! 

I have been really inspired to use all the techniques, exercises and experiences of ToT in my own profession as a music therapist. I already began using some of the exercises I learned. ToT has also broadened my horizon and empowered me regarding offering music activities to refugees in Holland. I thank Musicians without Borders for this wonderful and deeply moving experience.


Valerie Whitworth, Together One Voice Choir, Northern Ireland: Thank you so much for the brilliant Training of Trainers week. I have come home feeling inspired, and energised, full of enthusiasm and ideas for new possiblities. I found the training, extremely well paced, very thorough, and really useful.  With 360 degree teaching that built layer upon layer, with ever new depth and understanding as the week went on. 

Many thanks to the excellent facilitators, organisers for holding the space for us all with great care and integrity, and to all of the other participants for such a rich and invaluable experience. Big thumbs up for Akoesticum, what a beautiful environment to work rest and play in.


Sarah Nichols, Music Teacher & Artistic Director – Modern Troubadours: This has been an intensely uplifting experience. I admire and appreciate so much the effort, dedication and passion that the team put into the course. I am still in awe at how much we have done and learnt in such little time. This training has given me so much, both on a professional and personal level, and I will carry the knowledge I gained everywhere I go. My advice to anyone who is thinking of doing it – go with an open mind and heart and with a thirst to learn and grow.


Jude Winwood, Creative Director, BeatFeet – Rhythm for Life, United Kingdom: The unique opportunity to spend time training intensively with MwB has hugely enriched my knowledge and experience of workshop facilitation. A group of talented and creative people working in the field were selected to come together to exchange tried and tested methods of bringing communities and people together through music. I am so pleased to have been a part of this special gift.


Cindy Dymond, Conflict Resolution Specialist, Canada: The training from Musicians without Borders was generous, informative, inspiring, creative and intensive. The material was thoroughly and thoughtfully prepared to give meaningful content at many levels so that everyone could benefit, no matter what kind of work they do. It was also delivered by dedicated workshop leaders with a variety of styles and approaches combining theory and practice, listening and doing. They gave us so much to think about! I’m really excited to imagine all the ways I can bring what I learned from MwB into my own work with conflict and community music.


Marisa Massery, United States: During one of my first graduate classes at SIT in the field of Peace Studies, we were invited to imagine a social space where all parties’ goals are met, as a way for transforming conflict. I have carried that concept with me throughout the year. The training that I received from Musicians without Borders was joyful and inspiring, and it is clear to me that the work they are doing, i.e., creating music, is contributing toward the formation of that social space that is necessary for transforming conflicts.


Carina Dengler, Germany: Attending the Training of Trainers was the best decision I could have made! A week full of inspiration, sharing, learning, growing, exploring and music. The philosophy, integrity and authenticity of Musicians without Borders was present in every workshop and every conversation I had. I’m very thankful for this rich experience and for meeting such wonderful and amazing people from all over the world!


Sylvia Mannaerts, The Netherlands: In this training I discovered much about myself as a music workshop leader and as a trainer, learned to consider the possibilities and impact of musical interaction on a new level, and explored all that with fellow trainees. The training and the connectivity with similar-minded musicians was ‘food for the soul’ as music should be, and I am filled with gratitude for this experience!


Isabel Emerson, Open Strings Music, UK: I love that this project and your fantastic work attracted so many like-minded professionals from across the globe to share and create together.



Training FAQs

Advanced Community Music Training Program

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What are the learning objectives of the Advanced Community Music Training Program?

The training shares 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.


  • Participants will be able to use music as a tool for inclusion and bridging divides within various community settings;
  • Participants will gain a clear understanding of the concept of nonviolence and will be able to carry out this philosophy in practical activities;
  • Participants will be able to adapt pedagogical and didactic forms of working that are based on creating a safe environment;
  • Participants will be able to lead a training for workshop leaders informed by the principles of Musicians without Borders.

What kind of experience should a trainee have in order to participate?

The training is open to 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 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. 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.

What does the content of the training focus on?

The training addresses skills across four subject areas: pedagogical, didactic, musical, and workshop leadership, in the context of training workshop leaders to run community music workshops.

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 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. This requires a high degree of musicianship from the trainees as the training. 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.

What target groups does the training address?

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 are embedded in these activities as useful skill sets to explore across age groups, encouraging creativity, helping to construct valuable problem solving skills and building empathy among participants.

How does MwB view the nature of their work as relating to peace-building and social change, particular to conflict regions?

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.

Is there research available to support MwB’s work?

There is a wide range of literature available on the field of community music. MwB’s work was featured in an article published in the 2015 issue of The Oxford Handbook of Social Justice in Music Education. We have also published our own online manual for Music Workshop Leaders, based on our work in current and post conflict regions.

Will I have the opportunity to work with MwB after the training?

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.

In what ways has the training program benefited previous participants?

You can read testimonials from past training participants here.

Are there scholarships available for the training?

We cannot offer any scholarships at this time. however we do 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. NB: Fund will reopen for applications on 28 February 2017.

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.

TransArtists and On the Move provide general funding resources for artist mobility across Europe.