Psychosocial Dispositions of Creative Musicians

Topics: Creativity, Music, Musician Pages: 27 (9633 words) Published: December 16, 2012
D u r g e s h | 1
Department of Psychology | University of Allahabad, Allahabad. Psychosocial Dispositions of Musicians:
A Developmental Study of Creativity
Durgesh K. Upadhyay
The objective of this study was to ascertain those psychological and social dispositions that are conducive to the development of a person as a creative musician. Narrative methodology was used in this study. Research participants consisted of the musicians belonging to Indian system of music known as Hindustani (North Indian) music. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with seven participants. Thematic analysis of the interview protocols yielded four thematic categories – developmental ingredients, behavioral dispositions, preferred settings (mental as well as physical) for Riāz (music practice) and performances, and process of learning and making compositions. The analysis provides insight into development of a person as a creative musician. Findings reveal that musical talent could be an inborn phenomenon but it germinates and flowers through the interactions among these major psychosocial inclinations. Keywords

Dispositions; creative musicians; narrative methodology; Indian system of music; Riāz Creativity is an elusive and mystical phenomenon. Though universally valued and cherished, scholars from different fields have attempted to define, measure and locate creativity from different standpoints. Creativity is considered as a defining characteristic of an omnipotent divine creator rather than an attribute of mere fragile mortals in both the eastern and the western worldview. In the biblical book of genesis, God is portrayed as the creator of the cosmos, the earth, and the life. Almost every culture possesses creation myths in which their gods have this veried powers and capacity. Even when individual humans were seen as the locus of creative activity, the causal agents still sprung from a spiritual world. Creativity was the gift of the gods or spirits, not a human act. Not only Greeks and Romans but also Indians have linked this concept with spirituality. The causal locus of creativity gradually moved away from the spiritual to the mundane. In scientific research creativity was considered as a part of intelligence (Binet, 1899), as an unconscious process (Poincaré, 1913), as an aspect of problem solving (Wallas, 1926; Busse, & Mansfield, 1980), and as an associative process (Spearman, 1931; Mednick, 1962; Wallach, & Kogan, 1965; Maltzman, 1960). The renewal of interest in creativity in the West is credited to Guilford‟s presidential address to the APA more than 50 years ago (Guilford, 1950). He was a psychometrician and was more concerned about the scaling of creativity. Guilford identified at least eight traits that were associated with creativity, but narrowed them down to fluency, flexibility, and originality. Guilford‟s claim that there is a strong relation between divergent thinking and creativity, and that the ability to generate ideas is predictive of the ability to develop original solutions (Clapham, 2001; Milgram, 1990). These divergent thinking tests were further refined by Torrance (1974) who developed the widely used battery of tests called Torrance Tests of Creative thinking (TTCT). Subsequently, multiple tests to measure the various aspects of creativity were developed. Since then a large number of studies were conducted primarily D u r g e s h | 2

Department of Psychology | University of Allahabad, Allahabad. concerned with the concepts of creativity, its measurement, and its correlation with intelligence, personality and demographic variables. The western thinkers place great emphasis on individuals and his/her cognitive-motivational functioning, and view creativity as a process within a person (Csikszentmihalyi, 1999; Helson, 1996). Although, the study of creativity focuses on several characteristics – the creative product, the creative person, the creative process, and the creative situation (Bangs,...
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