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I have taught alongside many great players/teachers, many of whom studied music at prestigious universities, and I have learned a great deal from them. However, take away the sheet music and ask them to improvise and a surprisingly large percentage of them freeze up! This is because formal training consists, in my view, of far too much robotic repetition of music and far too little creativity.
It is the creative side of music that is most therapeutic; when people get to vent their emotions/frustrations spontaneously through the medium of an instrument. This uses different regions of the brain than mere copying and can hugely boost well being and confidence in people of all ages. Writing of any kind is known to be a form of therapy, with music even having its own form of health management - 'music therapy'. I'm not dismissing the importance of copying and sight reading, but there has to be a balance, and this balance is often missing in lessons I've observed.
I believe it's important to incorporate a little improvisation into every lesson, including very early on, as this 'loosens up' the player and makes them more fluid and flexible in their technique. It's also lots of fun which is, after all, the point of music!