Academic journal article Contributions to Music Education

COLLOQUY: Music Education Research as Creative Act

Academic journal article Contributions to Music Education

COLLOQUY: Music Education Research as Creative Act

Article excerpt

Creativity as a Way of Life in Music Education

When one reads an article or chapter or book, the words and ideas are at the ready on the sheet. You simply open the cover, click a link, or turn a page. However, the path of those words and ideas are far from simple, and take months or even years to reach their initial resting place. Then the real journey begins, with all of those who absorb and learn from the material, taking it into their mind, having it crash with their thinking and philosophy, encouraging additional thought, and engagement with others over and around in many directions. The ideas then become mobile and free, and spread to all who have encountered them.

From there, many possibilities can occur; from knowledge or skill acquisition, to pedagogical and practice implementation, to experimentation and evaluation that impacts music learning. It is likely that most music teachers are regularly reading about their occupation in some way, whether through a regional newsletter, an online web-log, a local or national newspaper, a national weekly or monthly, a music education magazine, an international journal, or others. These publications play a crucial role in the ongoing development and thinking of our craft, and help us hone our creative orientation to it. After all, creativity in one sense is simply trying new things and seeing what happens. This is one of the pillars of making music, which lends excitement and energy, as well as adrenaline and appeal.

There is creativity happening all the time in music classrooms, from the director to student to composer to music to playing to listening to improvising to mistakes to fixes to performance to accomplishment to joy. All of these factors are just the start, and a part of daily practice in our contemporary spaces. This is the lifeblood of music: the infinitely creative and amazing possibilities that can be generated in an auditory environment. This is not unique to different types of music and pedagogy; but all options, from general to choral to band to orchestra to jazz to popular music, and more. And it does not end there; just imagine the vastness of world musics, or technological music-making, or attending programs, or debating the latest group or concert or song.

Where does all of this land in our arena of music education research? The action and process behind the words on the page is indeed a creative world all its own. Who does it and why? Where does it happen and what goes on? How is it done and the results utilized? This is the conception of research as a creative act: a way of doing and a meaningful purpose to move our profession forward. Music education is a complex and consequential part of current schools and society, and the articles you read in these pages come from, and are designed for, making our practice better. This requires creative thought and action, and is worth our awareness to more highly value its roles and aims.

The Process of Creating New Knowledge and Ideas

As with most musical endeavors, the process of creating, and creativity, can be long and complex. There is also a need for persistence and dedication, and many hours and days and weeks of focused effort. The same holds true for research, and required from start to finish. Just as one considers what music is next to select, prepare and perform, this imaginative thinking is the beginning of any investigative project.

Generally speaking, there is a problem to be solved, questions to be asked, and ideas to be examined. The researcher who does this can be anyone from a college student to a K12 teacher to a university professor to an independent scholar. They narrow a topic, construct the questions, review the literature, devise a method, collect the data, analyze the results, report the implications, and connect it to our daily work as music teachers. These are no small tasks, and require as much work as preparing a sonata or concerto, a school concert, marching in the local parade, taking a school music trip, and so on. …

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