Abstract(s) from last journals published
Meadows, A. & Wimpenny, K. (2017) Core Themes in Music Therapy Clinical Improvisation: An Arts-informed Qualitative Research Synthesis, Journal of Music Therapy, 54 (2) 161-195
See paper here
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.
Wimpenny, K. & Meadows, A. (2016) An Arts-Informed Qualitative Research Synthesis into Clinical Improvisation in Music Therapy: Researcher Reflections, Sage Online research case study collection http://methods.sagepub.com/case/arts-informed-qualitative-synthesis-clinical-improvisation-music-therapy
In this case study example we share our experiences of designing and developing the first qualitative research synthesis (QRS) focused on clinical improvisation, funded by the Arthur Flagler Fultz Research Foundation, American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) http://www.musictherapy.org/research/fultz/. We share the unfolding story of our collaboration, the emergence and extension of the qualitative synthesis process into an arts informed QRS, which we call Ai-QRS, and the insights gained through this creative process.
Clinical improvisation is a widely used method of music therapy to enhance health and well-being, as the client and therapist extemporaneously create music by singing and/or playing a range of tuned and untuned percussion instruments (Bruscia, 1987, Gardstrom, 2004). While clinical improvisation is widely used by music therapists, we were aware that less was known about how therapists undertake clinical improvisation and what the clients’ experiences are, in and of, improvisation (Cooper, 2010). In terms of conducting a QRS, we were interested in exploring how a synthesis approach could be adopted to bring together and examine existing, robust, qualitative studies about clinical improvisation in order to look at connections between studies, and to provide ways to advance professional knowledge of improvisational practices.
The focus of our study was twofold:
- To provide new perspectives about what works and what does not, and why, to advance music therapy practice in clinical improvisation, by examining its processes to inform the profession, education, policy decisions and future research.
- To contribute a global understanding of the impact of clinical music improvisation on the health and wellbeing for individuals, groups and communities.
We share our research process with you in this paper, not only because of the methodology itself, but because you never know where you will find synergies and enriching collaborative experiences. It was in and through the diversity of our backgrounds and perspectives that the richness and joy of this project emerged.
Wimpenny, K., Lewis, L., Gordon, I., Roe, S., Waters, S. (2016) Preparation for an uncertain world: international curriculum development for mental health occupational therapy, World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) Bulletin,
Occupational therapy graduates are entering an increasingly complex practice landscape, particularly in the field of mental health. Moreover, the role of higher education in effectively preparing graduates for the challenges they face in an uncertain world is still developing. An innovative, international online learning module involving three countries (United Kingdom, South Africa & Belguim) was created with the aim to improve graduates’ preparedness for practice. A total of 215 final year occupational therapy students’ engagement in an on-line discussion forum was analysed using case study design. The study revealed significant increases in inter-cultural sensitivity amongst students measured pre-and post-project, alongside numerous challenges in engagement and learning. Augmented learning opportunities within the curriculum are argued as vital to equip graduates with enhanced agency, greater resilience and improved tolerance for managing complexity. Further research is required to enable graduates to be better prepared for practice and to develop skills to help navigate and manage the ‘not knowing’.