Musical Creativity in Context
To many people, music making is synonymous with creating and creativity. But the richness of musical works causes us to wonder whether it is possible to educate music students toward creative musical achievements. Perhaps musical creativity is only for geniuses. Then again, perhaps every instance of music making is creative because every music maker is a unique individual.
This chapter has two goals. The first is to explain what creativity is. The second is to develop guidelines for teaching students how to achieve creative musical results. In this chapter I argue that music educators can enable and promote musical creativity, because developing students' musical creativity overlaps and extends the process of developing students' musicianship.
In the domain of music, as in chemistry, dance, mathematics, visual art, and poetry, there are specific terms for the kinds of making that go on. In poetry, we speak of writing or composing a poem. In dance, we speak of dancing or choreographing. In chemistry and mathematics, we speak of theorizing, problem solving, or experimenting. In visual art, people talk about drawing, sketching, painting, and sculpting. In music, we speak of composing, improvising, arranging, performing, and conducting. Thus, Beethoven was a composer who composed many musical compositions, including the "Eroica" Symphony, and Fidelio. What more needs to be said? Why substitute the word creating for the word composing? Why use the terms creation or creative achievement for the more specific terms musical composition, symphony, or opera? Wynton Marsalis is a performer who improvises brilliantly. Again, what more needs to be said? Why call his improvising creating?
To answer these questions, I begin by offering the personal observation that I do not know how to draw very well. Accordingly, if I step up to a school blackboard and say, "Look, I am drawing," you will most likely reply, "Yes, so I see." But if I also say, "Look, I am creating," would you automatically agree? Some