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Music Improvisation Research Synthesis

Lab Contact: Katherine Wimpenny
Musical Improvisation Research Synthesis - Title Graphic


A Qualitative Research Synthesis (QRS) examining musical improvisation as part of music therapy practice.

This QRS is the first international study of its kind to profile the increasing range of qualitative research evidence authored by music therapists about musical improvisation in therapy settings. QRS provides integrated forms of knowledge and means of making connections between existing studies, advancing knowledge through examining evidence that is broad and deep. The study is being undertaken through a UK / US collaboration and consultation with a range of music therapy experts in the field. The study will advance professional and educational practices by ensuring such evidence is synthesized and presented in ways to maximize dissemination, relevance and scientific knowledge.


  • Provide a new perspective of music therapy’s practice in clinical improvisation regarding what works, what does not, and why, to inform the profession, education, policy decisions and future research.
  • Contribute a global understanding of clinical music improvisation’s impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals, groups and communities. 


  • Synthesize international qualitative research evidence to examine the efficacy of clinical improvisation used by music therapists working within health
  • Identify the range and process of clinical improvisation used by music therapists, including the steps / stages used and their impact upon clinical outcomes
  • Examine role(s) the music therapist takes in improvising with clients and their bearing on the therapeutic experience
  • Identify the methods used to interpret improvisations and how these are recorded
  • Explore how outcomes of intervention have been captured from a clinical perspective
  • Understand the clients’ experiences of music improvisation to determine its impact upon health and wellbeing
Musical notes graphic


Research networks include:


Project Timeline:

Start date

January 2015

End date





Phase 1: Design and define the parameters of the search, to establish the set of papers which will undergo the synthesis (January – April 2015) 

Phase 2: Analyze, synthesize and interpret the data from the included studies (May – Oct 2015)

Phase 3: Submit final report to funders (Dec 2015)

Phase 4: Dissemination via publication, presentation and online resources (early 2016)


Research Findings

link-icon-pdf-smallConference Paper
Meaning-making processes in music therapy clinical improvisation:
An arts-informed qualitative research synthesis

Source: Coventry University Open Collections




  • Paper accepted at American Educational Research Association

    Meadows, A., Wimpenny, K., (2016) Meaning-making processes in music therapy clinical improvisation: An arts-informed qualitative research synthesis, American Education Research Association (AERA) Congress, Washington D.C., US. Washington D.C., US. April 8 – 12, 2016


  • Paper submitted:

    Meadows, A., Wimpenny, K., (2016) An Arts –Informed Qualitative Research Synthesis European Music Therapy Conference, Vienna, Austria

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