Improvising with iPads: Technology-based Music Therapy, Improvisation, and Cultural Expression in Health Settings

Participant in a mobility device participating in the Improvising with iPads project.

Participants in the Improvising with iPads project (2014) Photo Credit: Eagleclaw Thom

This partnered inquiry explores the possible uses and impacts of technology-based music therapy for residents in a long-term rehab setting in Regina, Saskatchewan. Residents take part in weekly facilitated workshops, making improvised music with a range of iPad apps, and also participate in visits from Aboriginal guest artists and cultural workers. Collaboratively designed and run by the research leads listed below, the project seeks to explore the following questions:

  • Can improvising with the Apple iPad device offer long term clients in a health setting new therapeutic, creative and cultural opportunities?
  • Are there any therapeutic benefits of working with the iPad to make music and multimedia arts?
  • Can this form of improvised arts aid in community building in institutional settings?
  • What is the therapeutic value of using iPads as improvisational instruments?
  • How is the “self” (identity) being represented through electronic means?
  • What is the experience of the therapist as a supportive figure within this context?

Site: University of Regina in partnership with Regina Qu’apelle Health Region- Wascana Rehabilitation Centre

Researchers: Rebecca Caines with Amanda Schenstead and Rick Kotowich



“Improvising with iPads: A Partnered Inquiry into Technology-­based Music Therapy, Improvisation and Cultural Expression in Health Settings”, presented by  Rebecca Caines (Creative Technologies, University of Regina), Rick Kotowich (Native Health Services, Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region), & Amanda Schenstead (Wascana Rehabilitation Centre) at the 2014 Guelph Jazz Festival & Colloquium: Sounding Futures.

“Improvising with iPads: A Partnered Inquiry into Technology-based Music Therapy, Improvisation and Cultural Expression in Health Settings,” presented by Rick Kotowich at the 2015 McGill Colloquium: Improvisation and Community Health.