This theme applies learner-centred pedagogical notions and approaches to instrumental music teaching. This might be a group of beginner recorder students or one-to-one piano teaching. How do we maintain a playful musical dialogue in what might be considered to be a formal teacher-directed learning situation? We will explore the use of improvisation and composition to keep the learner at the centre. This focus may overcome the perceived need for some kind of transition from playful early childhood music learning to a more formal situation, where some might say that ‘real music teaching and learning’ takes place. The inclusion of creative and improvisational elements can feed both the learner’s artistic capacity as well as the technical skills necessary to master the instrument. Juha Ojala and Lauri Väkevä (2013) suggest that nurturing a creative relationship to music alongside more traditional, performance-focused music teaching would be valuable. They also point out that the Finnish education system’s creative approaches to teaching music have traditionally been strong in early childhood music education, but weaken when teaching older children and young adults. One reason may be the focus on the rehearsal and practise of ready composed music for performance as the means of learning to play an instrument. They argue for a more open-ended teaching paradigm where music is experienced through exploration and individual meaning-making (Ojala & Väkevä, 2013). Creative collaborative processes have been found to enrich learners’ belief in their musical capability and agency (Muhonen, 2014); there are learning benefits for young children composing together (see Burnard, Boyack, & Howell, 2017, pp. 39–59).