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Rachel Ollestad

MUSE 375

Dr. Palmer

16 February 2017

Creative Music-Making Chapter Summary

This article begins with a comprehensive look at the definition of

creativity. The authors pose that, on a wider scale, creativity is the use of the

imagination to produce something new that still fits into an already

established medium or tradition. In music, creativity is most often expressed

through two different practices: Composition and improvisation. Creativity is

important as it helps to reinforce musicianship. Teachers can use creative

practices to incorporate more divergent thinking into the classroom and shift

away from the often-used convergent thinking when rehearsing traditional

wind band or orchestra music. Creative music-making can also help students

explore style, and it forces them to think critically in order to develop their

own since of musicianship.

The next section of this article discusses different strategies and

considerations for teaching composition in a music classroom. Composition

can be a great way to give students their own, unique voice, but educators

must carefully prepare and structure activities so as not to overwhelm

students. They should have a clear goal in mind with any composition

activity and sequence the activity so that students are successful. Directors,
however, must also become more comfortable with the idea of giving up

some of the control of the ensemble so that the students have freedom and

time to compose. One way to increase the students desire to compose is to

give them a programmatic prompt or a more abstract musical idea (like a

rhythm or short melody). Teachers could have them improvise in order to

generate new ideas and then choose some of those ideas to develop more

thoroughly. To cultivate expressivity, the teacher must ensure that the

student has access to a wide-variety of instruments and that the student

already is familiar with the sounds and purposes of these instruments. Along

with timbre, students must explore other musical principles such as silence

and sound, motion and stasis, and unity and variety. Finally, through listening

to recordings, discussing composers styles and approaches to compositions,

and analyzing pre-existing works, students can refine their own artistic

craftsmanship. Students should hear their works performed, and teachers

should take care, when grading, not to grade too harshly.

Improvisation is the focus of the next portion of the article. Here, the

authors discuss the role and importance of improvisation in the music

classroom. They explain that improvisation can have different roles such as

improvising to learn music, learning to improvise music, and improvising

music to learn. The first is incorporating improvisation into musical training:

something educators do when they insert improvisation into a lesson that is

part of a bigger curriculum. Many games can be used to include this type of

improvisation into a class. Learning to improvise music is more jazz centered.

Listening to jazz music and other styles that use improvisation and then

teaching these styles can be a way for students to explore creation of

musical ideas. Improvising music to learn is giving students the opportunity

to express themselves through rhythmic sounds or movements and is a great

technique for younger children.

After discussing improvisation and composition, the authors move on

to discuss interpretive performance. Interpretive performance is the

comparison of two of the same works by different artists. By guiding

students, teachers can give them the opportunity to play previously

composed and/or performed works while still expressing their own

individuality through musical decisions. They must follow the notes and

markings on the page, but have the ability to decide how to do that.

Listening is also paramount to creativity in the music setting. It is

fundamental, and students must listen to other performances and recordings

of themselves. Teachers should allow students to move to recordings and

should be careful not to impose a one size fits all model on the way

students hear and experience sounds.

I learned through this chapter that, while it may be somewhat different

than the musical education I had, it is vital to include opportunities to create

in every single music classroom. Fortunately, I had the ability to do this

through jazz band and music theory classes, but if I have a smaller program,

it might be necessary to incorporate creativity into a concert band setting.

There are so many different ways to allow students the opportunity to be

creative, yet many programs refuse students these opportunities to find their

own personal voice and style. IN order to create the highest form of

musicians and the most comprehensive band program, I need to give my

students the tools to create.