Core Themes in Music Therapy Clinical Improvisation: An Arts-Informed Qualitative Research Synthesis

Anthony Meadows, Katherine Wimpenny

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
    748 Downloads (Pure)


    Background: Although clinical improvisation continues to be an important focus of music therapy research and practice, less attention has been given to integrating qualitative research in this area. As a result, this knowledge base tends to be contained within specific areas of practice rather than integrated across practices and approaches.
    Objective: This qualitative research synthesis profiles, integrates and re-presents qualitative research focused on the ways music therapists and clients engage in, and make meaning from, clinical improvisation. Further, as a conduit for broadening dialogues, opening up this landscape fully, and sharing our response to the analysis and interpretation process, we present an arts-informed re-presentation of this synthesis.
    Methods: Following an eight step methodological sequence, thirteen qualitative studies were synthesized. This included reciprocal and refutational processes associated with synthesizing the primary studies, and additional steps associated with an arts-informed representation.
    Findings: Three themes, professional artistry, performing self, and meaning making, are presented. Each theme is explored and exemplified through the selected articles, and discussed within a larger theoretical framework. An artistic re-presentation of the data is also presented.
    Conclusions: Music therapists use complex frameworks through which to engage clients in, and make meaning from, improvisational experiences. Artistic representation of the findings offers an added dimension to the synthesis process, challenging our understanding of representation, and thereby advancing synthesis methodology.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)161-195
    Number of pages35
    JournalJournal of Music Therapy
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2017


    • qualitative research synthesis
    • arts-informed
    • clinical improvisation
    • theory development


    Dive into the research topics of 'Core Themes in Music Therapy Clinical Improvisation: An Arts-Informed Qualitative Research Synthesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this