In the rewrite of the national standards for music education in 2014, creativity earned a new place in the discussion (National Coalition for Core Arts Standards [NCCAS], 2014 ; NAfME.org, 2019). At the forefront of expectations for how we guide students through music learning, creativity is seen as an indispensable part of the well-rounded music classroom (Giddings, 2013; Hickey, 2001; Hogenes, Oers, Diekstra, & Sklad, 2015). However, most music learning in secondary education exists within the paradigm of a large ensemble structure. Within that structure, the majority of learning occurs following a teacher-centered model, in which the teacher directs and plans all learning activities (Abrahams, 2010; Green 2005; Kokotsaki, 2012). Compounded by the stress of concert preparation and festival participation, many music teachers resort to teaching by rote and focusing on music literacy through the lens of reading music, over other musical activities that are touted as being essential to music learning (Kratus, 2019; Guarriello, 2019).
What does this mean for creativity? It means that within the large ensemble structure, little time or emphasis is given for creating—both individually and collaboratively (Fairfield, 2010; Guarriello, 2019; Stringham & Snell, 2019). But why is it important that we create with our students and provide the tools and experiences to enjoy rich creative musical lives far beyond the classroom? While some have documented creative practices within the large ensemble structure (Abrahams, 2010; Guarriello & Gulish, 2018), we need more hands-on tools for practicing teachers looking to incorporate more creativity into their ensemble programs (Hickey, 2001; Kratus, 2019).
This book does not cover every aspect of creativity within the orchestra classroom. Instead, it sheds light on three practitioners working in secondary education, seeking to incorporate creativity into their programs. In the following pages, you will find practical strategies, advice, and examples of ways in which to incorporate creative processes and projects into your string program.
From warm-up improvisation strategies to large scale composition projects, this book provides practical, hands-on activities that can be used in person or through remote teaching. Video examples, student work, and editable google docs are included with the purchase of each book.