How Do Creativity and Structure Go Together?

Developing creative and expressive thinking is, I believe, at the heart and soul of music education. These two things, creative thinking and expression, are included in the core arts standards, in most arts curricula, and in most defenses of supporting the arts in education. Yet being creative is often misunderstood, and misleading and even harmful … Continue reading How Do Creativity and Structure Go Together?

Can Encouraging Creativity Include Correcting Errors?

Today, as I attended the fifth biennial Symposium on Music in Schools at Yale University, I became occupied with a question that came to mind as I listened to Sebastian Ruth talk about helping students find their voice through music education. His talk and the discussion that followed included points on developing relationships with students … Continue reading Can Encouraging Creativity Include Correcting Errors?

What Is Creative Musical Thought?

It has been my observation that the words creative and improvise are among the most misunderstood in the field of music education. Both of these words often given a connotation of being original or of being made for the first time from ideas that are vowel or heretofore unknown. Before discussing creative and improvisation as … Continue reading What Is Creative Musical Thought?

What Is Musical Ability?

What is musical ability? This question is not as easy to answer as first appears. It is tempting to define musical ability in terms of performance skills, and those are typically made manifest in public performances. Restricting a definition of musical ability to performance excludes non-performance musical behaviors, or musical behaviors that are needed to … Continue reading What Is Musical Ability?

Are Teaching and Learning Really That Different?

Often when reading educational theories, I find the phrase “teaching and learning.” Typing the phrase into a popular search engine yielded 113,000,000 results. In general, understanding is seen as the goal, and teaching is seen as the actions leading to that goal. In their seminal work “Understanding by Design,” Wiggins & McTighe explained a concept … Continue reading Are Teaching and Learning Really That Different?

Creative Thinking in Music Classes

Among the many reasons for a person and a culture to have music is that making music is a creative enterprise, and creative thinking helps us cope with life, solve problems, and make things that we can enjoy and benefit from. At the very heart of creative activity is the act of making something. Indeed, … Continue reading Creative Thinking in Music Classes