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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of  Music
October 26, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Kathryn Ladano

Kathryn Ladano


Kathryn Ladano is specialist of contemporary music and free improvisation and has performed as a soloist and chamber musician across Canada and abroad on the bass clarinet.  She regularly works with young composers and improvisers and is currently the co-Director of ICE (Improvisation Concerts Ensemble) at Wilfrid Laurier University, the bass clarinet instructor at the University of Waterloo, the Artistic Director of the improvisational concert series, MIX, and the Associate Director of the East-West Music Series based at Conrad Grebel University College.

Kathryn is currently pursuing her PhD at York University in Toronto and her research interests include improvisation pedagogy, and the relationship between different types of anxieties and the practice of free improvisation.

1) Free Improvisation and Anxiety in Musicians

Varioustypes of anxiety affect everyone in different situations and at different points in life. For musicians, performance anxiety can have devastating effects on professional lives. It can affect the ability to accurately present musical skills to the public, and the overall enjoyment of being a performing musician.
Several recent studies (Allen, 2010;Kim, 2005 & 2008; Montello, Coon, & Kantor, 1990) have shown that thepractice of Free Improvisation among musicians with performance anxiety canhelp decrease feelings of unease. Not only do these studies show that practicing improvisation can reduce anxiety, they have also shown that free improvisation in particular can help musicians experience more enjoyment performing and creating music.
Research suggests that the benefits of practicing free improvisation may even extend beyond performance anxiety to help musicians with various emotional issues. Additionally, the practice of group improvisation may assist musicians suffering from social anxiety disorder.

*Please note funding was not secured*

2) URL:
(A conference presentation was given at the Summit on Improvisation, Pedagogy, and Community Impact on May 24th in Guelph, and my research will be published in the upcoming book: "Jamming the Classroom: Improvisational Pedagogies and Community Impact."