THE IMPORTANCE OF CREATIVITY
Creativity comes very naturally to all babies, toddlers, and children in general. They pretend to drive cars while sitting in cardboard boxes. They line up their dolls and pretend to teach them. They put band-aids on their teddy bears and nurse them back to health. They wear colanders and bowls on their heads to be astronauts. However, at some point along the process of ‘growing up’ that spark of creativity is often lost.
Even those who grow up to become what they imagined, a doctor, a cop, a teacher….etc… can often settle into the routine of their career and lose that fresh, innovative outlook.
In contrast, history’s most notable people all have that hallmark characteristic of creativity. The greatest inventors, writers, engineers, educators, and leaders all maintain that spark of creativity. They are known for doing things differently, for innovating new solutions, for imagining new paths through old problems. They are the mature, and highly skilled versions of who we ALL were as toddlers.
RE-IGNITING THE SPARK
Somehow, through the process of ‘education’, and the pursuit of knowledge and skills that spark is often extinguished. Facts and figures, which are important, often crowd out creativity. This happens in every subject, yes even in the arts!!! As a music teacher, I have to be very intentional about weaving improvisation into my lessons. It’s very easy to slip back into a ‘play what’s on the page’ ONLY mentality. Musical accuracy is an important goal but should be only one of many goals. Creativity should be a chief goal among them.
The good news is that I’ve seen creativity in music re-ignite that spark of innovation in other areas of my students’ lives. When we add improvisation into our approach to music education we are creating a space where our students can imagine again. That creative spark in music can grow and become a prevailing mindset where music students realize that all areas of their lives are calling for the same type of creative solutions.