Friday, July 4, 2014

Thinking it Through

When I was starting out in my teaching career some people responded to my work by calling it creative.  I had no idea what they were talking about.  Creative? Me?  I don't compose; I don't write poetry -- according to my limited world view I was anything but creative.  All I was trying to do was to figure out how to do something right that I felt had been done wrong in my case.

I was trying to figure out how to teach music to children.  That, it turns out, was indeed a creative enterprise.  Now that I am headed for an International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition the extent of the creativity becomes clearer and clearer to me.  It is based on assuming nothing.  If you start out with no assumptions you are, most likely, creating something.

In all my work I have been inspired by the far-out research of Jean Piaget, the developmental psychologist who started out as a gym teacher in Switzerland; and by Viktor Zuckerkandl, the Viennese all-purpose intellect who figured out that listening was of central importance in music, even more important than learning technique.