Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The Use of Improvisation in a Student’s Music Therapy Practice with Older Adults in a Residential Setting

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posted on 2021-12-07, 06:45 authored by Stothart, Luke

As shown in the research literature, improvisation is a less common approach to music therapy practice than the use of familiar songs or group singing when working with elderly people in residential settings. This research explores the ways in which improvisation in music therapy could benefit elderly participants in a residential setting. A secondary analytic process was conducted involving a careful analysis of existing clinical data by the student music therapy researcher. Data was analysed using thematic analysis. The findings consisted of three core themes which captured the ways in which improvisation was included in music therapy sessions: these were improvisational approaches described as anchoring, reflecting and dialogue. These core themes were strongly influenced by writings on improvisation method by the late Tony Wigram. Results showed improvisation has potential in its use among older adults in a residential facility. Conclusions could be used to help other elderly residential facilities that are willing to implement similar models of practice.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Music Therapy

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Music Therapy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

New Zealand School of Music


Hoskyns, Sarah