Creativity in the Music Classroom

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Creativity in the (Music) Classroom

Creativity as a form of musical learning tends to present itself in children aged 16 and above, after the prior stages of reactionary learning, knowledge gathering, experimentation and evaluation.[1] It is then fair to state that creativity, as part of the learning process, is an indication of the individual students’ ability to synthesise information, extrapolate ideas, and experiment with these ideas in realisation. As teachers of a creative art, we as music teachers should foster creative learning in the classroom at the earliest possible opportunity – that is, once the students are confident, as opposed to competent, in their craft. We should also guide these students carefully through the various creative processes encountered through these lessons, so that they become aware of these processes without hindering or impacting upon creativity in the future.

As Julia Cameron once said, “Art is not about thinking something up. It is the opposite -- getting something down.” Creativity is the result of synthesising one’s knowledge, expressed through a medium outside of the original form. In the classroom, it appears as creating a particular “something” from scratch, so long as the student keeps to the rules of that particular “something”. Originality comes in the form of creation, in that no-one has made that particular expression before. Whether the creation is carefully recorded for future analysis or reproduction is subject to the teacher’s purpose for setting the process in motion.

In the music classroom, creativity tends to appear in two main avenues: in composition and in performance. Furthermore, performance can be divided into three main processes: recreation, improvisation and arrangement. These avenues for creative learning are relatively narrow considering the processes involved suggest that a vast amount of knowledge and skill is required. As well, when one considers that both the current and future

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