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ORCHESTRA DIVISION Clark Chaffee, Vice President

Nurturing the Creative Musician: Context | Security | Motivation

Context provides the focus for creative energy. Helping students develop creativity requires providing eff ective training in the skills and concepts of the media in which the creativity is to take place. When those skills and concepts are reasonably well understood, experimentation with solving a variety of challenges allows the creative mind to playfully examine the materials and the limits of the exploration zone. T at experimentation provides preparation for moving on to greater challenges. When developing creative activities, give the students eff ective training, then provide clearly defi ned projects for exploration, then provide the vision for moving on to the next challenge.

Security provides the opportunity for a cre- ative culture to develop. Creativity requires time, focus, and practice in an environment that values eff ort, exploration, and refl ec- tion more than results and speed. Establish trust through praise for playful persistent practice. Discovering that creative explora- tion earns praise helps students relax and gets the creative ‘juices’ fl owing.

Motivation comes, in part, from the joy of creativity and creative interaction. Once experienced, the playground of the creative experience is a joyful space to revisit. For experienced creators, completing projects provides signifi cant satisfaction. For those who are new to the process, the need for a fi nished product may not be apparent for quite some time. Frustration can happen when

eff orts do not yield results. Other forms of motivation may well be needed to en- courage progress to fruition. Deadlines, grades (at steps along the way as well as for completion), and performances of student projects can serve as appropriate motivators when clearly presented as part of the process.

Your expertise in teaching music will serve you well as you construct creativity projects. Use your own creativity to set up training activities, creative projects, and motivational tools to encourage students into and through the process. Give your- self permission to make mistakes, evaluate your own work, make adjustments, and move on. It is likely that your projects will improve over time so don’t expect to be a seasoned veteran on your rookie projects. Your level of comfort with the process will become their level of comfort with the process. Your students will learn from the model you provide for them as well as from the exercises you create. Make the process fun, for yourself and for them. Success will follow.

Orchestra Division Looks Ahead Illinois Music Education Conference 2012

Another school year is about to start (as of this writing). With that, come new opportunities, new challenges, and new lives to touch. So many young souls are about to discover the tremendous positive impact that music will have in shaping their futures. Once again, while there

is still a bit of calm in my life, I pledge to seek those moments throughout the year when the “aha” happens, when the overwhelming joy of sharing a special music performance happens, when a community is brought together through a special musical moment. For it is in those moments that we gather the inspiration, strength, and confi dence that we will need to continue to provide the leadership that will allow those moments to happen to new generations of young musicians.

Our Illinois Music Education Conference (formerlly All-State} is a wonderful time to share those special memories and to re- connect with peers, respected colleagues, former teachers and students, and to get fresh ideas for our classrooms. T anks to our colleagues who have answered the call to apply for clinician and performance op- portunities, the 2012 Orchestra Division clinics include a wide variety of sessions.

Don’t miss the All-State and Honors concerts on Saturday afternoon. Every year it is a thrill to hear these wonderful ensembles. T is year our All-State Orchestra will be performing Wagner: Overture to Meistersinger, Puccini: Intermezzo to Manon Lescaut, and Bernstein: Overture to West Side Story under the direction of Randal Swiggum (Elgin Symphony). Our Honors Orchestra will be performing Berlioz: Roman Carnival Overture and Copland: Billy the Kid under the directon of Kevin Noe, newly appointed conductor for Michigan State University.


Illinois Music Educator | Volume 72 Number 1

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