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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE Darcy Nendza, IMEA State Office


Creativity–From Day 1


Creativity: “the ability to create” Create: “to bring into existence” ~Merriam-Webster


When thinking about how Music Educators teach creativity, I keep coming back to the basic and powerful truth of the definitions. IMEA Members give students the ability to bring moments of music into existence that never were before. How absolutely empowering is that? You gather a group of children, have them sing together or hand them an instrument, and suddenly there is sound. (Okay, so on day 1 maybe music isn’t the first word to describe that sound, but it truly did not live until they created it.) In this profession, we have a HUGE advantage when it comes to this C of the four Cs from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.


As one of the “Learning and Innovation Skills” of the P21 framework, creativity is riding a wave of popularity among education experts around the world. If you have not already, I suggest you spend a few minutes with Sir Ken Robinson and listen to his fervent defense of the creative mind. (Tis clip is the one that hooked me www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html). He speaks directly to the P21 definition of creativity: “Tink Creatively–elaborate, refine, analyze and evaluate their own ideas in order to improve and maximize creative efforts.” (P21 Framework Definitions) Sounds very familiar, doesn’t it? Music education teaches students to constantly analyze and refine their musicianship. Each rehearsal, each composition, each performance–all build upon one another to give students experi- ence in expanding their skills.


A second part of the P21 definition is “Work Creatively with Others–Develop, implement and communicate new ideas to others effectively. Be open and responsive to new and diverse perspectives; incorporate group input and feedback into the work.” Once again, we find this learning environment in your classrooms every day. Tere is no other place in the school where so many young people are in one place at one time and work as a team to reach a common goal.


Finally, P21 defines the creativity skill with “Implement Innovations–Act on creative ideas to make a tan- gible and useful contribution to the field in which the innovation will occur.” In her new book, Mind in the Making, Ellen Galinsky supports the arts in education with this statement–“(the arts) have survival value in enabling us to reach beyond ourselves, to imagine, to understand metaphor, and perhaps to prepare for the unknown.” To return to Merriam-Webster–music education teaches students to bring the unknown to life through the creative process.


IMEA Members themselves embody the creativity they teach. I had the pleasure of spending an evening at the District 1 senior high school auditions. It is a scene many of you are familiar with–take empty high school classrooms, add multiple willing judges, and a volunteer leadership team that has spent countless hours planning and you get a powerful example of the amazing world of IMEA. Congratulations to all involved and to all of our members, volunteers, educators and students around the state for an exciting audition season. Te growth each student makes from day 1 to a District Festival performance is continuing testament to the creativity of music education.


I am attempting to visit as many festivals as I can this fall and look forward to meeting all of you at All-State in Peoria this January. Contained in this issue is the schedule of events. Be sure to see this exciting roster of great clinicians and amazing performances!


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Illinois Music Educator | Volume 71 Number 2


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