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PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Toni Redlingshafer, Director

The Creative Mind: Nurturing the Creative Musician

Trying to develop a premise on the topic, “T e Creative Mind: Nurturing the Creative Musician” to a parameter narrow enough for a journal article had me con- vinced that perhaps I didn’t have enough “creativity” to do so. After doing hours of reading on this subject matter from Dr. Andrei Aleinikov and his Creative Pedagogy to Jon Michael Iverson and even material from the Leap Frog Learning Enterprises, Inc. (educational toys). I have settled on the defi nition of only the word NURTURE: 1. to feed and protect; 2. to support and encourage (as during the pe- riod of training or development); 3. foster; 4. To bring up, train, educate, cultivate; and 5. to help grow.

As a music educator we strive to develop the creative qualities of our students. We want them to develop curiosity, to maintain fl exibility, to seek originality and to be comfortable with risk-taking. We know it requires time and patience to help students realize their potential. We understand that the study of music builds self-confi dence, allows for self-expression and boosts character development. T e answer to the question of “How do we accomplish this?” is found hidden in the very defi nition of NURTURE.

If we look at these verbs from the defi ni- tion “protect, support, encourage, and foster” we see that each one implies a close relationship to the subject receiving the protection, support, encouragement or fostering. All successful relationships are based on TRUST. T at is the key to

nurturing–developing a trusting envi- ronment which makes it safe to create and express oneself.

Creating a classroom climate where all students feel safe to ply their chosen musical craft can be as basic as saying “I will never force you to sing/play a solo in front of the class if you don’t want to” to developing such an ensemble feel that the students positively reinforce each other no matter the skill level demonstrated by a performing student. Building this positive and safe environment for your students is your (the teacher’s) greatest responsibility.

A student must believe that you are there to help, to teach, to reinforce, to correct, and even discipline them in order to help them mature/grow as a musician. T ey must be willing to accept that you have the knowledge to help them be successful and the expertise in teaching necessary for them to reach their goals. You, as their teacher, must believe that your students are willing to take your constructive criticism, your praise, and your instruction so they can improve their skills. In order for this “give and take” to occur their must be mutual respect and TRUST.

One of the earliest defi nitions of the root word for pedagogue is one that states “walking a student to and from the place of learning.” T at scene of an adult leading/accompanying a child to his education is seen as protecting that

child on his/her way to learn. You are the pedagogue or teacher and therefore, you are the one who must NURTURE by developing their TRUST. By doing so, you will give your students the freedom they need to create.

Professional Development Updates

New to teaching?

If you are a beginning or pre-tenure teacher with questions or concerns about some facet of your teaching position please email professionaldevelopment@ and we will try to help you fi nd a solution to the problem. Addition- ally, IMEA is in process of developing a program to aid new educators and would like your input. If you have topic suggestions or other information that you think may be helpful to other new teachers, please email those as well to

Fall CPDU Sessions

Please check your District President Newsletters to fi nd information regard- ing Professional Development activities within your IMEA District. Most districts host CPDU accredited clinics and workshops in the fall.

Toni S. Redlingshafer Illinois Music Educators Association Professional Development Director


Illinois Music Educator | Volume 72 Number 1

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