Developing clinical piano improvisation skills: a structured approach to teaching and using musical techniques and therapeutic methods

Anthony Lewis Wigram

Research output: Working paperResearch

Abstract

Teaching piano improvisation skills for use in clinical work relies on the development of a range of musical techniques and therapeutic methods that are combined and integrated. Simple musical styles of playing such as melody dialogues, two chord accompaniments, walking basses (tonal and atonal), 6ths with octave grounds, pentatonic and Spanish style frameworks are easily learnt and applied through in combination with therapeutic approaches such as matching, supporting, frame-working grounding – and many others. The use of transitions in therapeutic improvisation are a primary and musically skilful way of helping a client or group of clients move, or develop their musical expression (Wigram & Bonde 2002 pp 278-279). Frame-working is a method that offers a musical structure to the music of a client. This structure could have the goal of enhancing the music aesthetically, or guiding the client in a new direction. Structure and lack of structure play a balanced role in the clinical process, and reflects the skills of the therapist to musically meet the needs of the client. This workshop will provide teaching and practice tools for the participants that are intended to sustain the creativity of improvisation while adding some clear structure and method to it’s clinical application
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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