Monday Meetings: Meet Dr. Carolyn Arnason!

Faculty Bios - Carolyn Arnason

Carolyn Arnason

Coordinator and Graduate Officer, Masters of Music Therapy

Dr. Arnason specializes in teaching clinical improvisation and supervising graduate students in arts-based music therapy research. In addition to collaborative improvisation concerts, she performs duet repertoire on modern piano and fortepiano with her husband Professor Boyd McDonald, Professor Emeritus Laurier. She conducts psychotherapy sessions with adults using the music-centred methods of improvisational music therapy and the Helen Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM).

She has conducted research with international music therapists on their listening perspectives in improvisational music therapy sessions. Her current research areas include arts-based performative inquiry, the interconnections between musicianship and improvisation, and levels of consciousness in imaginal psychotherapy. She is developing a theory of improvisation called musical transparency that encompasses music therapy practice and improvisation performance.


  • Reflections on change in arts-based research: The experiences of two music therapists, co-authored with Deborah Seabrook. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Available: (2010)
  • Woman to woman: A music therapist’s experience of working with a physically challenged and non-verbal woman. British Journal of Music Therapy, 20(1), 13-21. (2006)
  • Reflections on spiritual dimensions in improvisational music therapy. International Journal of Community Music, Volume B. Available: (2005)
  • Music therapists’ listening perspectives in improvisational music therapy: A qualitative interview study. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 12(2), 124-138. (2003)


Undergraduate Courses – MU454, MU464

Graduate Courses – MU506, MU601

For a more detailed biography of Dr. Carolyn Arnason, please see


About Laurier MTSA

We are a student association at Wilfrid Laurier University and most of our members are students in the Music Therapy program. We exist to educate about, promote, and support the work of music therapy, and to support the academic, career, and personal needs of the Music Therapy Students. Our mandate is to unite prospective, current and alumni students while promoting our profession in the larger community.
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