Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity

By Scott Watson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
PRINCIPLE 4: REMOVE
PARAMETERS AND
LIMITATIONS THAT STIFLE
CREATIVITY AND LEAD TO
CONTRIVED EXPRESSION

CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSED LIMITATIONS in the form of project parameters and guidelines as positives aimed at freeing students to move forward creatively. Obviously there is a connection between that principle and this one. Principle 4 is something like the inverse of principle 3 but largely involves employing certain technologies that facilitate creative expression to remove students’ musical limitations. It is here that technology shines most brightly, particularly for those with little conventional music training, sometimes called “nontraditional music students.” The term nontraditional music (or NTM) student was coined by music education technology researchers Dr. David B. Williams (Illinois State University, IL) and Dr. Rick Dammers (Rowan University, NJ).1 In a nutshell, NTM students are the approximately 80% of high schoolers that have received little or no conventional music performance training and therefore are disenfranchised from traditional school music department ensembles such as band, chorus, or orchestra. Despite their limited or alternative musical background, many NTM students thrive in elective music courses that emphasize creativity and technology.

While not as apparent as with NTM students, even those with conventional music training—such as those in band, orchestra, or chorus—have musical limitations connected to their experience. This chapter, and this book, offers ideas for using technology to help these move forward as well, in terms of expressing and refining musical ideas.


REMOVING BARRIERS TO CREATIVE EXPRESSION
WITH TECHNOLOGY

Imagine the many barriers to musical creativity that were removed when Apple introduced GarageBand in 2004. Apple opened the realm of multitrack recording to millions through GarageBand’s attractive, approachable user interface, simple audio and MIDI recording features, and especially by including hundreds

1. See their website, Music Creativity Through Technology, at www.musiccreativity.org.

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