top of page


Puts the groove into SEN/D improvisation 
If you are the kind of teacher who strives to put creativity and exploration of groove at the heart of their ALN music lessons, then this book is for you. Thumbjam is an ideal app for pupils beginning to explore improvisation, and the backing tracks in the book provide the ideal platform to support it. You can tell that the author has been developing these resources in the classroom - excellent attention to detail and suitable for non-specialist music teachers. I am using it more and more.
John Godson (Review from the Bookstore)

So easy to use and make beautiful music!
I’ve been using this approach with elderly people who have onset of dementia. They absolutely love it!!! Without requiring any musical training they can all play together and sound fabulous. And it’s easy for the facilitator to set up. A complete no-brainier!!! Get it today, you will all love it!!!!
Maisie Dukkal - Community Music

The Improvise Approach....
“An amazingly powerful project which really is a no-brainer in terms of impact vs the spend. As a leader she (Carrie) demonstrates vision, passion and a tireless commitment to creative learning.” Creative Learning Guild Awards - Judge Fiona Cameron, Learning & Courses Manger for Clore Leadership Programme. 

'The set-up is easy but the actual music-making is even easier'.
Carrie Lennard invited me to review this book because she knows that I have an extreme mobility and dexterity disability and that if I could use the Improvise Approach to make tuneful music then, almost literally, anyone can. After downloading the ThumbJam app and following Carrie's crystal clear instructions laid out in this book I was making - if not beautiful music - then at least tuneful music within minutes. I have no innate musical ability but I found it easy and surprisingly satisfying to improvise along with the downloadable tracks provided. The set-up is easy but the actual music making is even easier. Touching anywhere on the screen produces a harmonious note. My 'dirty organ' riff on the Blue Car track would have made Rick Wakeman envious.
Coincidentally, whilst I was messing around with the app a friend, who happens to be a music teacher, arrived and was most taken with the book and the app. She could see immediately the teaching potential and knows the importance of students of whatever ability getting satisfaction and encouragement from producing tuneful, harmonised music. I lost track a bit when she started talking about Major Pentatonic and Chromatic scales but I checked later and it's all covered. 
I must stress again that I am not musical but even I can use this app and when following Carrie's guide can make reasonably sounding music. I've tried other music making apps but lack the fine motor skills necessary to use them satisfactorily. Not a problem here. Oh, and by the way, I got good results using both my very un-dexterous fingers and a clumsily held stylus.
Stephen Deal - Writer, Lyricist & Ivor Novello Awards Winner

Fun, creative music for all!
I've known Carrie a number of years. We met whilst working at the same school, and I've witnessed Carrie's journey, and her passion and enthusiasm in creating and developing the Improvise Approach. I've observed first hand the approach being used with children with profound and multiple learning disabilities, who have very little movement but have found the motivation and strength to play along. I've watched their faces light up when they realised they were the ones making the harmonious sounds, it was pure delight!
The Improvise Approach is groundbreaking, it encourages and enables anyone to have a go and create music, regardless of their ability.
Amandine Mourière  
Intensive Interaction Consultant and Practitioner
Intensive Interaction Consultancy

I was so delighted to come across Carrie Lennard’s excellent iBooks resource, ‘The Improvise Approach’ which is based around the creative use of ThumbJam.

"Of all the many brilliant iPad apps that can make participation in music making accessible to those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), ThumbJam is one of my favourites.  Its interface is simple enough for anyone to get started yet has levels of sophistication that repay deeper exploration.  That’s why I was so delighted to come across Carrie Lennard’s excellent iBooks resource ‘The Improvise Approach’ which is based around the creative use of Thumbjam.


‘The Improvise Approach’ is written with such detail, structure and clarity that even the most timid of music-leaders would surely feel confident in adopting the approaches suggested.  Carrie is obviously no armchair theorist.  This resource has many little practical hints and tips - hallmarks of someone who has “been there, done that!”  


Too many manuals on improvisation fall into the trap of being too regimented and actually constraining any genuine creativity so I’m also greatly impressed by the fact that, while there is ample guidance, none of the musical activities in Carrie’s book are themselves too prescriptive.  Instead, the book simply lays the foundations for teachers and students to have fun exploring and improvising together. 


The layout and design are excellent - simple, colourful and inviting.  The backing tracks are great fun too and will, I’m sure, become firm favourites with many groups.


So many times I’ve witnessed first hand the power of creative, improvised music making to transform lessons and lives and I heartily recommend ‘The Improvise Approach’ to anyone working within SEND.

Andrew Cleaton - Director Epiphany Music

bottom of page