Thursday, April 29, 2010

Musical Creativity: A Teacher Training Perspective

Article Review: “Musical Creativity: A Teacher Training Perspective”
Reference: Cohen, Veronika (2002). Musical Creativity: A Teacher Training Perspective. Creativity and Music Education,Willingham and Sullivan (Editors) Toronto: CMEA Books 218-237.
This article is a reflective summary of a course for music students to teach musical creativity. After covering the theoretical groundwork of teaching musical creativity, this course proceeds to explore the pedagogic skills necessary in such setting by pairing the students up in peer teaching and student teaching.
While watching the students in peer and student teaching sessions, the author’s observation focused on the various roles teachers play in their students’ creative process. Creative process awakens and engages a student’s sense of self. It is a delicate proceeding in which teachers have the ability to either inhibit or encourage their students with the slightest gesture or most casual comment.
At the meantime, creative process is not task-oriented, nor is it about efficiency and productivity. Instead, it is based on exposure, exploration, and absorption, which becomes noticeable only in the course of time. Once again, a teacher plays a crucial role in such process and the ability to listen, observe, and act accordingly is indispensable.
Classroom is the starting point of a teacher’s learning process – the more teaching situations I encounter, the more I believe in this thought. Both sides – student and teacher – enter a learning situation with its own personality and background, but the teacher has a guiding hand in identifying the social/psychological aspect of the relationship to shape the pedagogic content of such encounters. While we teachers focus on our teaching materials and tools, we sometimes have little time to contemplate the actual consequences of our teaching. What do we teach, really? What are our students learning from our weekly music lessons? Do musical skills and contents take precedence over personality development? Is there an age limit for personality development, meaning that adult students will be less sensitive to signs of discouragement from teachers? (from my limited experience, adult students are actually more sensitive and personality development is a lifelong process if one wishes and works for it)
Besides exploring the musical world with our students, not getting in their way of learning becomes an increasingly significant task. In essence, we provide an environment of initiation, give guidance and support when appropriate, and take a step back to allow room for our students to grow, as well as for us to observe.

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