Creative justifications

Post forty-five in our (re)learning to teach music series. This is week nine of the collaborative blogging and we begin chapter eight. 

Mike Morgan @MikeMMusicED

I feel creativity is something which comes through experience and confidence. We need to give every student the opportunities to develop their competence in this.

I do feel slightly uncomfortable in placing it in the three categories and would prefer to look at creativity as a whole.

I think it’s important to discuss creativity with pupils and what it is. And develop methods of how to do it. When writing music, a story, looking at options of possibly adapting to a new situation, pupils need to understand the planning and evaluation phases. I think by teaching this “routine” of planning, doing, and reviewing allows pupils to be creative effectively.

I do believe the instrumental creativity is important and should be encouraged in the pupils. In this ever changing world, musicians need to be flexible and spot opportunities in the working world.

Vaughan Fleischfresser @VFleischfresser

For me, creativity is creativity, and being creative is being creative. It’s part of who we are, how we learn, and how we navigate the world around us. It’s essential to learning and to music, which does beg the question – who would require a music teacher to justify creativity in the classroom? I do find this notion bizarre, and thankfully haven’t come across anyone in my career so naive as to think there’s a world where creativity isn’t or shouldn’t be in a music classroom. 

I believe that everyone is born with the potential to be creative, and it is through our interactions with the world around us that we learn how to use and harness that creativity. In terms of a music classroom, I believe the relationship between personal, instrumental, and musical forms are inextricably linked. We’re all born with the potential to be creative (personal), and it is through our interactions with the world around us (instrumental) that we learn how to use and harness that creativity, which in this circumstance would be through music (musical). 

To help young people ensure that they learn to use and harness their creativity, we need to place them in an environment and situations where they have the opportunity to experiment with and learn through their creativity. I’ve found employing Young’s Five Stages of the Creative Process to help young people harness and increase their ability to express their personal creativity alongside and through their musical creativity, which combined ultimately helps them to increase their instrumental creativity. I know that creativity is a divisive term. I know that it comes easy to some, and not to others. That’s why, just as with any teaching and learning, there needs to be a balance to help ensure each pupil achieves the best possible outcomes. In this circumstance, I believe the balance between personal, instrumental, and musical is equal, and that the relationship is clear – each one feeds into and off the other.

David House @House_dg

There is a good balance to be struck between personal, instrumental and musical creativity. I would view the arguments are stronger in favour of creativity for the sake of personal and musical development. The ‘instrumental’ implies transferable skills and attitudes, possibly closely tied with personal creative development in terms of the approach to attitude. In a classroom situation I look to the fact that encouraging individuals to be creative is a good approach for their attitude to learning in general – stimulating the exploratory nature and risk taking. Musical development is assisted and it is good to make the link between creativity and performance for example. I like the way in which it is possible to illustrate this in connection with, for example, learning a passage of a piece in preparation for performance – it is possible to encourage students to look at the music from different angles, trying it with alternative rhythms, at different octaves, even breaking it down into small fragments: it is then a small step to investigate taking these ideas further in the act of re-composition. This whole act of exploration, both personally and musically, is captured in the words of T.S.Eliot from “Little Gidding”,

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

Ewan McIntosh @ETMcINTOSH

I think that creativity as personal and instrumental objects are very important. The creative skills that are taught to young people are transferable across many disciplines and future job roles and are essential in order for the young to develop into rounded workers who can thrive in the workplace.

Creativity is also very important musically in all of the disciplines. By pupil’s taking risks and having a go at crafting musical outcomes over a period of time, pupils become appreciative of the creative process themselves as well as being able to better understand other peoples ideas.

The three different brands of creativity that are being discussed are interlinked but can also be separate. The Romantic individual who was ‘“compelled” to write music or they would perish is sometime the model of what pupils see as Creativity; if they cannot create music that is as good a Beethoven, they shouldn’t bother. The same can be said for the instrumental view of creativity, if you are not going to be as good a piano player as Barenboim, why bother? I think that just teaching musical creativity within a classroom without linking the skills to other uses/situations may be a futile one. With the number of pupils, from comprehensive school at least, taking music at GCSE, A Level and degree level falling each year, the majority of the children we teach will not pursue a musical career path. However, the creative skills that we teach them and the social and emotional development that being creative entails are things that they can take with them on their post school journey and may help them later in life, if not in their job but in personal ways that enrich their lives.

Steven Berryman @steven_berryman

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