Musical Creativity

by | January 2019

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Where words fail, music speaks.

Hans Christian Anderson (Danish author, 1805 1875)

Music is a safe kind of high

Jimmi Hendrix (American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter, 1942 1970)

The ability to make music is a peculiarly human skill. True, other animals have music-like calls (like birds) but we are the only animal to create music stories in sound. It’s thought music came before language in our evolution. Before language, we probably used gestures to communicate a sort of dance and wordless song. So, from our very earliest beginnings as Homo sapiens, we were musical.

And we are musical – all of us. It’s our birthright. But then we encounter music in our schooling, and often we learn that to play music means ‘getting it right’. And so, the spontaneity and creativity that lies at the heart of our musicality withers. Unless we are very skilled, or very blessed with an insightful teacher, our innate musicality is put away.

Because music is such a big topic, you’ll find a few more links and challenges than usual. So, this month you are encouraged to re-find your musicality, and enjoy!

 

Challenges

How long has it been since you went to a live performance of music? Jazz, classical, folk, rock, techno… whatever you like. Make an appointment to go and listen to and watch the live music you enjoy.

When was the last time you whistled or hummed to yourself? Try it out as you next walk to the bus. Whistle or hum a tune and see how it makes you feel.

Take up an instrument! Perhaps you studied violin at school, but it’s been years since you played. Maybe you used to sing in a choir, but you haven’t been for ages. Maybe you’ve never played a musical instrument. Be brave and make a sound!

 

Videos

The dancer, the singer, the cellist ... and a moment of creative magic.
Dance choreographer Bill T Jones explores movement in space and sound in this mesmerising, improvised performance.

Between music and medicine.
A talk by musician Robert Gupta on the power of music to heal the mind. Gupta is a professional musician with a detailed knowledge of neuroscience. He talks of how music can allow people to speak again after illness and re-
find mental health. There’s also some very lovely violin playing.

The transformative power of classical music.
Benjamin Zander is both a conductor and a writer on l
eadership. In this video he tells us something about how music ‘works’, especially about the importance of the ‘long line’ and ‘one buttock playing’. You’ll need to watch it to find out what this is all about!

How to truly listen.
The extraordinary Evelyn Glennie tells us about the importance of listening and creating. She is profoundly deaf, and an internationally renowned percussion player. She is superbly talented. You can watch this video both for her wonderful playing, and also for her deep understanding of what listening means.

The orchestra in my mouth.
At this TEDx talk recorded in Sydney, Australian Beatboxer, Tom Thum, presents a hugely enjoyable set of short performances for his mouth, microphone, and a few bits of electronics.

The essential role of music in education.
Richard Gill, a hugely influential Australian music educator, gives a short talk on the role of mu
sic in a child’s journey of learning. He taught me music as a student, and for that I am very grateful. He died late last year. He leaves a legacy of creativity, fun, and loving inspiration.

Articles

What great leadership and music have in common.
Jim Crupi, management consultant, explores what business leaders can learn from music and musicians.

Music for Productive Creativity.
Kimberly Sena Moore explores what it would be like to create playlists for your projects
using music to nudge you towards an effective mental space to complete your work.

Musical Creativity and the Brain.
For those interested in brain science, this is for you.