Why Middle School Students
The Nature of Creativity, by Christopher Schuck
INTRODUCTION BY GEORGE LEWIS,
HOST OF MUSICIANS AND MIDDLE SCHOOLS
"Musicians and Middle Schools: What Creativity Means" is a series of television presentations designed for classroom use in middle schools to foster, through relaxed, personal encounters with some of the major musical creators of our own time, direct engagement with creativity by students in all curricular areas.
The musicians we have chosen are all professors of music at UCSD. These members of our community of scholars have distinguished themselves both nationally and internationally as major practitioners of the music of our time and include: Bertram Turetzky, Anthony Davis, Chinary Ung, Steven Schick, and Cecil Lytle.
These highly articulate and thoughtful artists speak openly, honestly and directly to young people about the creative process. The artists open a window for the students into what inspires music, what influences its creation, and how creativity can play a crucial role in all of our lives.
The presentations include:
- Live music performed by the artists in front of an audience of middle school students
- Diverse musical presentations ranging through classical music and opera, Asian folk music, experimental sound, jazz, and much more
- Discussions by the artists about becoming musicians, their cultural and historical influences, and their creative and learning processes
- An emphasis on diversity that is expressed in many ways, including cultural influences, musical background and stylistic choices
- Ways to inspire creativity in students' lives
Watching these great musicians at work makes clear that the purpose of music--whether Mozart or Coltrane--goes well beyond its role in fostering excellence in the performance of mathematics, science or business. Through examining the nature of sound, an engagement with creativity fosters not only self-awareness, but an awareness of culture, society, and the planetary environment which we all share.
Above all, these musicians bring the students into the world of those supposed intangibles--their dreams, their imaginations, and their emotions--that are critically important to experiencing musical creation. Experiencing the ideas that these creative artists bring to the students serves to remind us that music is a fundamental part of the definition of being human. Like all of us, creative artists are part of the real world, and these television presentations seek to invite all of us to take part in our human community of creativity.
George E. Lewis
Professor of Music
University of California, San Diego
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This series was created to demystify the process of musical creativity while exposing students to varied musical traditions. Ultimately, Musicians and Middle Schools will excite and challenge students so that music becomes and ongoing and enriching part of their lives.
Creative and Cultural Goals
- Illuminate the process of creativity and make it available to young people
- Understand the personal, social and historical aspects of musical creativity
- Engage students to reflect upon their own musical and cultural heritages
- Emphasize the need to exercise their creative possibilities, in whatever fields they choose
- Connect young people with music from all over the world
- Introduce students to new sounds, techniques and ideas in music
- Promote awareness of the role of musical creativity in human life
- Encourage musical responsiveness, involvement and discrimination
- Explore the elements, nature and structure of music
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- Present communities with a diverse spectrum of music-makers including people and musics currently underrepresented on traditional media
- Acquaint the community with a diverse spectrum of new thinking on music, thereby enhancing the climate for music
WHY MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS?
Middle school students were chosen as the audience for several reasons:
- As funding for music curriculum has been lost or substantially decreased, there is a real need to provide the skills and enrichment available through music and music-making. Students of middle school age tend to be open to new experiences and receptive to new ideas.
- It is critical to engaging under-achievers during this time who might otherwise be lost. Music can be an attractive means of engaging students in creative and complex thought.
- As a practical matter, there is flexibility in class scheduling at the middle school level which does not exist in high school today.
- Critical to the success of this program is the receptivity and participation of middle school teachers who have demonstrated innovation and motivation for new programs.
Middle school students (grades 6, 7 and 8) are very receptive during this time, making this a critical period for engaging under-achievers. Teachers of middle school students are also receptive to unique learning opportunities and their schedules provide some measure of flexibility, unlike high school.
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