This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
PAST PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE John Heath, Batavia High School


Encouraging Creativity


Do I consider myself to be creative? Absolutely! Do I encourage my students to be creative? A great question and one, I most admit, I’m not sure I have thought much about. T ey are creative for me in our rehearsals where I direct not only the tempo and dynamics of a piece, but also it’s selection and all aspects of interpretation. Hmm . . . maybe they aren’t so creative after all, or maybe I’m not letting them be creative. What can I do to help develop their creativity?


Encourage them. Let them know that the “door is open” for them to try something new. Over the years I have had students ask me, “Mr. Heath, do you compose?” My response has always been, “No, I interpret” which was not entirely truthful. I have composed, but I never felt the pieces (more accurately the little melodies I wrote) were of any value other than to me. I never showed them to anyone nor did I ask for any help with composition. My teachers had no op- portunity to encourage me. My comments to my students basically stopped any inquiry to composition they might have had. I realize that now. Encourage your students to create and to ask questions on what they have created.


Give them time to think, to dream, to imagine, and to focus their thoughts. As with these journal articles, I have found it very diffi cult to create intelligent, meaningful ideas to share with you, when I have a million other things going on in my mind and in my world. It’s the beginning of the school year–what to play; what to teach; is my syllabus accurate; we are opening our new Batavia Fine Arts Centre this week with performances by my students (a project I have been working on for literally the last twenty years through cutbacks and failed referenda); I’m starting my last year of public school teaching and headed towards retirement with, as you all know, a very question- able fi nancial future. So many things. Creativity is not easy in this type of environment. T e same is true for our students. Help them “clear their heads” so their minds can run free.


Show them it is ok to fail. Present failure as an opportunity to learn. Creativity can be a long process of little achievements and small failures. Don’t let the roadblocks stop their pursuit. Encourage them to take that roadblock and work out a solution to get around it.


Now I know that these three suggestions are not the only ways of nurturing creativity in our young musicians, but I do feel they are important. I would also encourage you to look at an article I found at www.ascd.org/publications entitled “How to Develop Student Creativity” by Robert J. Sternberg and Wendy M. Williams. In this article they present 25 strategies to develop creativity, much more involved than my brief comments here.


I hope you all have an enjoyable fall. We all look forward to seeing you at the Illinois Music Education Conference in January.


20


Illinois Music Educator | Volume 69 Number 3


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88