Musical Creativity: Insights from Music Education Research

By Fox, Donna Brink | American Music Teacher, October-November 2012 | Go to article overview

Musical Creativity: Insights from Music Education Research


Fox, Donna Brink, American Music Teacher


Musical Creativity: Insights from Music Education Research, edited by Oscar Odena. Ashgate Publishing Company, 2012. www.ashgate.com; 246 pp., $99.95.

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This collection of reports in the Ashgate SEMPRE series is an excellent example of how cross-discipline research works. Multiple responses to long-standing questions about creativity will be of interest to "user-groups (music teachers, policy makers, parents) as well as the international academic teaching and research communities." Each author was commissioned to write for this volume, representing researchers in five countries: eight from England and others from Australia, Brazil, Portugal, Spain and the United States.

There are 11 chapters on creativity research, organized into three sections: conceptualizing musical creativity (two chapters), examples from practice (seven chapters) and paths for further enquiry (two chapters). The international flavor is most obvious in the middle section, where the populations for "examples from practice" include toddlers from Australia; 7-year-olds from Portugal; a 12-year-old (United States); 14- and 15-year-olds from Brazil; college jazz majors and a professional string quartet from England; and three examples of English music therapy clients.

In addition to descriptions of creative endeavors, authors also share the models they propose to better understand creativity. As one example, Pamela Burhard identifies "multiple creativities" in music, advocating for creativity in the "collaborative, communal or collective venturing" through activity systems in our cultures, including digital and social media. …

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