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CHORUS DIVISION Richard Murphy, Vice President


Creativity and Music Education


As I began to think about the topic of creativity and how it relates to music education, I decided to become more familiar with some of the literature regarding creativity in general. I found a thought-provoking article entitled: “Creativity, Talents, and Skills – T e Dana Guide” in a publication produced by the Dana Foundation in November of 2007. T e article was written by Dennis K. Kinney, Stephen R. Pritzker, and Ruth Louise Richards.


Creativity may be notable for how often people deny having it. We tend to say, “I’m not creative; I can’t write (or paint, or sing). We may further limit our view of creativity to that which achieves formal recognition: for example, painting well enough to be shown in a gallery, or winning prizes for writing. But this common view, giving creativity a capital C, owes more to social or perhaps economic perspectives. From the standpoint of the brain, creativity is not only a dis- tinct form of mental activity, it is also ubiquitous in human beings.”


I have often heard people make com- ments of this type – I am guilty of making


similar comments when it has to do with my visual arts skills (or my perceived lack thereof ). I suspect that many of you have either heard and/or made similar com- ments with regard to creativity.


Psychologists studying creativity put it in two categories, everyday creativ- ity and eminent creativity. Everyday creativity is defi ned in terms of everyday criteria only - originality (something new) and meaningfulness (communicates something to others). Such creativity occurs widely across the activities of daily life, at work and at leisure. Everyday creativity can, of course, involve producing something ‘from scratch,’ such as writing or drawing , but it also includes accom- plishments that use clever and original ideas to deal with tasks such as settling a problem at work , handling a diffi cult child, getting out of the woods when lost, etc...In other words, it’s not what you do, it’s HOW you do it, whether you are an entrepreneur, a parent, a home hobbyist, or a gourmet cook.


T e article also discusses several ways in which creative work can be used to con- tribute to the healing of psychological


problems. Examples include the use of art therapy, music therapy, dance therapy, and writing therapy. Not only is the pres- ence of everyday creativity essential, it is imperative if we are to preserve healthy levels of physical and mental health.


Of course there have been many things written about creativity and music educa- tion-specifi c topics such as composition, improvisation, making instruments, etc. T ese also serve as very useful and ap- propriate materials for music educators as they become more familiar with the concept of creativity. Be it general or spe- cifi c, it is abundantly clear that creativity plays a huge role in the daily lives of music educators and all of their students.


Best wishes to all of you for a wonderful fall semester. Please consult the Chorus Division heading on the IMEA Website for updated chorus information.


Richard Murphy Chorus Division Vice–President University of Illinois High School 1212 W. Springfi eld Urbana, Illinois 61801 rgmurphy@illinois.edu 217.244.8585


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Illinois Music Educator | Volume 72 Number 1


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