Four Keys to Creativity

Creativity is quickly becoming more than just a part of a well rounded music education… ever since 2014, it’s been part of the national standards, and for good reasons. It’s important to be able to play what’s written to the letter, but just as important to be able to improvise.

Creating

What if another musician comes in late when you’re playing with a band and you suddenly have to improv?

What if they’re on the wrong page and suddenly you’re in a whole different part of the music?

“Faking your way through” becomes easier if you’ve developed creative skills.

The ability to be creative is an essential tool in every music student’s arsenal. Plus, the ability to write your own music is just so darn cool. Many school boards agree, and consider creativity a standard that must be taught.

Performing

One way to inspire creative work is to create opportunities for performance.

For example, you might be studying a key signature - let’s say G - and you might be creating and exploring chords and melodic ideas. It makes sense to pair this up with a piece in the same key, so they can see how the patterns are universal. 

Using a backing track or template is even more helpful - let’s say you take  “Camptown Races” or something similar that’s already written. Students can analyze the structure, replace the words with new ones, and then replace the melody. They can perform the original piece faithfully, and then present new interpretations.

Having in-context practice tracks at home makes it easier for everyone to evaluate and refine, and finally present a performance that is well honed and full of confidence and joy.

Responding

Having access to software like Musico deepens the connection to the music so that analysis and response is informed by interactive experiences.

This level of interaction lends itself to a deeper understanding of the structure and context of the music, as well as offering a new way to explore the composer’s intent: by more deeply engaging in the layers of the music at home, muting parts, and engaging in interactive score study.

Musico’s revolutionary system gets teachers in the game too. Using Musico, teachers can create their own individualized tracks and lesson plans - this can help teachers pinpoint problem areas for students and help them overcome hurdles by quickly making differentiated lesson plans on the spot for students to select, analyze, evaluate, and interpret.

Connecting

Developing the creative muscle also helps students learn and connect better with the material, and connect it to other subjects and contexts. What formerly seemed distant and unimportant becomes something they’re personally invested in - soon the kid who didn’t practice becomes a total music nerd.

But it doesn’t stop there… the ability to connect a piece of music with a larger context is a lifelong skill, whether they play music as an adult or just become a well rounded and educated audience member.

Whatever method you ultimately choose to use, including creativity in the learning process is more than just smart and effective… It builds a lifelong relationship with the creative arts.

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