Proposal for an Association for Student Composers

Rationale Creating original music is a national arts standard and is as foundational to music experience as listening and playing. But unlike most states, the Colorado Music Educators Association does not provide opportunities for student composers. The purpose of this proposed organization is to promote the inclusion and practice of creating original music in school…

The Many Forms of Music Design

Music design takes as many forms as music itself. So before teaching it, determine which form to teach first. Consider the following- Music designs can be: For digital and/or live performancePerformed live and/or in a studioPerformed by acoustic and/or digital instrumentsRecorded or notNotated or notDesigned by one or more designersPerformed by the designer and/or other…

Developing musical creativity: Music design

Where does original music come from? For people who can make it, it often feels easy. For those who cannot, it may feel impossible. Imagine this: every time I practice musical creativity, I am tending my musical garden. I start by wandering. I play little bits of music I have improvised and designed before, removing…

Developing musical creativity: Improvisation

Musical creativity: what is it? How does it work? How is it learned? And how should it be developed? Musical creativity is an inclusive term for all forms of creating original music. The two primary and distinct skills of musical creativity are improvisation and design. Improvisation is the process of making up music as you…

Lamott, 1995 – Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Recommendation – 5/5 Summary Lamott’s advice on writing and creative productivity. The first section of the book is on fundamentals. A writer must first be able to generate raw material, and practice this almost daily. A writer should try to have a growth mindset. Start with short assignments, and finish them. If stuck, make a…

Obstacles to Creativity

What is holding your students back from expressing greater creativity? In order to improve student creativity, it is not enough to teach creative processes. We must also continuously work to identify and reduce our students’ creative obstacles. Possible obstacles include: Obstacles to FocusPhysical discomfort – pain, hunger, temperatureA preoccupied mind – stress, restlessDistraction – sights,…

The Many Forms of Improvisation

Musical improvisation is so much more than just making up a melody that is harmonically and stylistically appropriate for a jazz chart. Musical improvisation is the making and executing of musical choices simultaneously. It is not just a single skill or activity; it can take many forms. Musicians can use improvisation for play, performance, composition,…