Music Sessions

Clive Robbins, DMM, MT-BC, began his work in Special Education and arts therapies in 1954. He co-founded the Nordoff-Robbins approach to Creative Music Therapy in 1959 with composer and music therapist, Paul Nordoff. Together, they pioneered the application of improvisation and clinical composition for children with disabilities. He has co-authored a number of leading texts on Creative Music Therapy, and many books of musical activities for children. In 1975, he began to work with his late wife, Carol Robbins, they developed and co-authored a curriculum guide in Music Education for hearing impaired children. The Robbins-Robbins team produced many songs and musical plays for children and continued to develop and promulgate Creative Music Therapy in the U.S. and abroad. In 1990, they created the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy at New York University, of which Clive remains the Founding Director. He is currently an Adjunct Clinical Professor at NYU.

Plenary Session

Clinical Musicianship: An Improvisational Approach to Music Therapy


Improvise, Compose! Exploring Therapeutic Possibilities for Creation and Realization

Engaging and motivating a client in individual or group therapy requires “clinical musicianship” in the therapist. Audio and video excerpts from music therapy sessions will be used to illustrate a wide variety of creative activities with children and adults. Participants are invited to join in the exploration of improvisational and compositional modes to explore and examine a broad array of clinical techniques, musical resources, and approaches. The interrelated roles of clinical intuition and musical inspiration in improvising and composing for therapy will be clarified and discussed.

Music and Dance Are Partners: Exploring Two Dynamic Spaces (with Chaiklin)

In dance we have the freedom to move in physical space; in music, the freedom to move in tonal space. In this creative adventure, the session leaders will collaborate with participants to explore these two dynamic spaces. Linked by the elements of movement and rhythm, a spectrum of expressivity and meaning can be communicated, depending on the tempo, complexity, and intensity with which the dancer dances and the music maker “musics.” Participants will explore the possibilities for spontaneous discovery and aesthetic creation that these two spaces, one mysteriously within the other, offer us: As we dance so shall we music—and as we music, so shall we dance.