Fostering Musical Creativity Ten Tips: 3 of 10

Number Three of Ten:

Authentic problem finding is an important concept for composition. Teachers should find authentic problems to solve that are relevant to their students. One example of this is the protest song. As Rousseau says, adolescence is the age when children are ready for the education of values, ethics, and morals. Such a time of ethical flowering offers wonderful opportunities for student creativity.

The story of Dave Carroll exemplifies authentic problem finding. In 2009 Carroll’s guitar was damaged on a flight. Following nine months of ineffective complaint letters and phone calls, he warned the airline that his next approach would be to post a protest song on YouTube. Carroll subsequently uploaded two music videos about his experience with the airline. Both videos received several million views. The significant publicity resulted in the airline offering him compensation for the damaged guitar. After exhausting the traditional channels of customer complaints Carroll recognised a powerful and creative medium to make a statement. YouTube, at the time a relatively new social media platform, effectively had rebalanced the relationship between consumer and company. Protest songs are not new. They were popular in the 1960s with jazz artists such as Nina Simone, The Beatles, and Bob Dylan. Protest songs continue to be an essential aspect of popular music culture, which is one of the prime reasons teenagers gravitate toward this kind of music. Meaningful goals offer fertile ground for creative learning, but creative output needs an audience. Audiences give feedback and provide a sense of purpose.

An excerpt from ‘Learning Strategies for Musical Success’ by Michael Griffin

“A must read for all music educators” – Robert Adams, Music Educator, New Haven, USA.

“A must buy for every music teacher and music student” – William Bruce, Guildhall School of Music, UK.

“A deeply impressive work, the breadth of research is fascinating!” Robert Chamberlain, Team of Pianists and Monash University Piano Staff, Victoria Australia.

“I have read your book and it has made an amazing difference in my teaching and in my studio.” Beth Cruickshank, Past President – Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association.

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Australia: Contact mdgriffin63@gmail.com for direct mail.

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Also by Michael Griffin

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Music and Keyboard in the Classroom: Fundamentals of Notation is a unit of work for general music middle school classes. Designed around the mastering of practical skills, it integrates theory, aural and history, and allows students to progress at their own rate. View Table of Contents.  “This has been a great buy, the books are just superb! Interesting topics with a wide range of pieces. Great content with clear progression of learning. Fascinating teaching philosophy! BRAVO!” -The Grieg Academy, London. Available at Amazon.com

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Music and Keyboard in the Classroom: Let’s Get Creative! is the fun and creative extension to ‘Fundamentals of Notation’.

View Table of Contents. “We have been using your keyboard course and the results have been amazing!”  – St George College, Australia

Available at Amazon.com

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‘Bumblebee: Rounds & Warm-ups for Choirs’

Bumblebee! is more than just a collection of 84 choir exercises and rounds. The author shares timeless wisdom to help you get your choir – primary or secondary – into shape.
View Table of Contents.

“This is really good for all kinds of vocal groups, choirs, conductors. Bravo!!”

“The thinking person’s guide to training a choir. Love it!”

“It’s great to have some fresh warm-ups to add to the repertory. The tips for actions and techniques are really useful, and the advice at the back of the book has made me review some of my strategies.”

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Modern Harmony Method: Fundamentals of Jazz and Popular Harmony (Third Edition, 2013) is a clear and well organised text suitable for students of arranging and composition, and for classically trained musicians wishing to grasp the beautiful logic of jazz harmony. Essential understandings include chord selection, voicing, symbols, circle of 4th progressions, extensions, suspensions and alterations. Included in the 107 pages are explanations, examples, exercises and solutions. The course can be started with students in year 9 and worked through to year 12 musicianship, composing and arranging.  Available at Amazon.com

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Public speaker, music education trainer, conductor and pianist. Author of 'Learning Strategies for Musical Success', 'Bumblebee: Rounds & Warm-ups for Choirs', and 'Modern Harmony Method'.

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