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Tony Wigram


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Improvisation plays a key role in the toolbox of the music therapist. Tony Wigram's practical and comprehensive guide and online content will prove indispensable to students, teachers, therapists and musicians as a book of musical techniques and therapeutic methods. Beginning with an overview of developing, teaching and analysing the skills of improvisation, Wigram describes techniques ranging from warming up to mirroring, rhythmic grounding, containing and holding. With specific sections on piano improvisation, chordal and 2-, 3- and 4- note improvisation are covered, in addition to advanced skills such as frameworking and transitions. Wigram also includes techniques for thematic improvisation, group improvisation and outlines methods for analysing and reporting improvisational processes. Notated examples allow readers to try out techniques and progress as they read, with audio examples on the accompanying online content adding another dimension to the structure and guidance provided for all levels of music student and therapist.
A comprehensive representation of the current international knowledge and practical experiences of music therapeutic interventions, which describes a systematic procedure on different instruments for teachers, students and clinical practitioners, and offers a lot of practical material to aid the development of a personal repertoire of music therapeutic interventions... [Wigram] is the authority to write a book on this topic.
Musiktherapeutische Umschau
A unique and excellent book of didactics for music therapy academic education, involving the systematisation (and "quantification") of music therapy procedures with a focus of improvisation, and of a Meta methodology of improvisation - especially in music therapy dyad work. While it could be considered first of all as a tutor for students and educators, it is also designed for clinicians to help develop more improvisation skills. As such, it is a handbook of improvisation for clinical practice, to develop more sensitivity to musical material, and to learn a very useful assessment and indication perspective into improvisation as an intervention.
Nordic Journal of Music Therapy
This bountiful text by experienced musician and researcher Tony Wigram is destined to become a standard on the shelves of music therapists globally. Packed full of ideas and examples, it breaks down the "doing" of improvisation into simple and straightforward sections...A bible for music therapists who use and teach improvisation - I highly recommend it.
Australian Journal of Music Therapy
Tony Wigram was Professor and Head of PhD Studies in Music Therapy at the University of Aalborg, Denmark, Honorary Research Fellow in the Faculty of Music at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and Reader in Music Therapy at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK. He was Associate Editor of the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, and a former President of both the European Music Therapy Confederation and the World Federation of Music Therapy. He was also Head Music Therapist at the Harper Children's Service in Hertfordshire, UK, and Research Advisor to Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Trust.
In conclusion, this is an impressive book, essential for its exceptional thoroughness and readability as well as for being the only book of its kind. It will be invaluable as a training manual for professional courses, and may also raise other health professionals' awareness of the complex and scientifically grounded skills deployed by a profession so often obliged to defend its research base against accusations of a lack of scientific rigour from those with too narrow a vision of evidence based medicine.
British Journal of Music Therapy, John Strange, former Chair of the APMT
The book's prose is clear and always user friendly. Wigram's approach is also profoundly practical, requiring the reader to work on the methods outlined, moving "backwards as well as forwards" so as to revise, integrate and develop them in ways specific to the needs of particular working contexts. The book is both accessible and profoundly practical. Moreover, whilst written for a music therapy audience, it warrants a much wider readership, including musicians that play in hospitals or in hospices who may not necessarily be formally qualified as music therapists'.
British Journal of Music Education
Tony Wigram is an experienced improviser, who has written a book to help others to attain the necessary musical and clinical skills to learn to improvise and to effectively use improvisation in their music therapy sessions. As I begun reading, I felt that Wigram was speaking to my experience. He spoke to and normalized my fears of failure and my inner voice of self-criticism. His intention with this book is to dispel the myth that improvisation is "a gift granted to the chosen few" (p.19) and he asserts that "the potential to 'join in' with a musical experience through improvising is inborn and present in everyone" (p.19). It is really designed for music therapy students and clinicians. It is geared towards both beginning and experienced pianists and includes the use of other instruments. It begins at a very basic level and progresses to very complex skills. The chapters that I found most valuable as an educator of undergraduate music therapy students were the chapters on musical techniques (Chapter 3), basic therapeutic methods and skills (Chapter 4), advanced therapeutic methods (Chapter 5), transitions (Chapter 6), and group improvisation (Chapter 8). All of these techniques are well explained, masterfully illustrated in the audio and notated example provided, and are further reinforced with readily accessible yet challenging exercises. Throughout, Wigram provides helpful guidelines in terms of strategies with which to experiment. Improvisation: Methods and Techniques for Music Therapy Clinicians, Educators, and Students is a must for all undergraduate music therapy students.This book provides a systematic approach for novice improvisers and as such is a wonderful teaching aid for those who have been reluctant to teach it in their program. This book also covers more complex skills and therefore I also highly recommended it for graduate students, clinicians, and people with improvisation experience.
Music Therapy Perspectives

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
The story of South Africa
The story of KwaZulu-Natal
Initial responses to the conflict in KwaZulu-Natal
Understanding civil violence
Plans into action: the process of intervention
Work with young people
Work with women
Work with children
Work with community leaders
Reflections on the work of the KwaZulu-Natal Programme for Survivors of Violence