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This book contains 80 exercises designed to reinforce a variety of competencies. Exercises represent three types of learning that have emerged as invariable aspects of the introductory course:

  • Didactic learning
  • Experiential learning
  • Independent skill development

Didactic learning relates to philosophical, theoretical, and/or practical information that is communicated via lecture, discussion, and modeling.

Experiential learning refers to the students' firsthand experiences in the learning/therapy group process that accompanies didactic instruction. In this form of learning, students have opportunities to observe, participate in, co-lead, lead, and verbally process improvisation experiences.

In independent skill development, students engage in skill-building experiences independently and with partners, outside of the classroom setting.

The exercises are meant to serve as a "jumping-off point" in the maturity of specific competencies. As such, the reader should feel free to abbreviate, simplify, amplify, or modify the exercises as needed. Repetition of exercises is recommended if time permits.

Inclusive pages




Document Version

Published Version


The introduction is made available for download by permission of Barcelona Publishers. Permission documentation is on file. Citation information for the book:

  • Music Therapy Improvisation for Groups: Essential Leadership Competencies, by Susan C. Gardstrom.


Barcelona Publishers

Place of Publication

Gilsum, NH