Creativity, educational theory and curriculum development in music education
Creativity is a term which is usually regarded with approval. However, in recent years it has also become the subject of debate and disagreement amongst music educators. It is possible to identify at least three reasons to account for this. First, 'creative activities' can present organisational difficulties in the classroom and this sometimes causes teachers to view such activities wibh a certain scepticism. Secondly, the meaning of the word is often unclear and its use leads to many misunderstandings. Thirdly, many proposals for 'creative music making' arise out of a movement concerned with the radical reform of music curricula. It is frequently argued that curriculum development depends largely on 'new thinking' and the establishment of what is called a 'new rationale' for music education. How this might be interpreted constitutes the basis of this study. Chapter I is devoted to an examination of some of the 'problems' associated with the notion of creativity and the contexts of proposals for creative activities. It is argued in Chapter II that whilst 'new thinking' about music education may be seen as a significant contribution to curriculum development, the actual process of development is likely to involve more than simply the production of a rationale or theoretical framework. The relationship between the theory and practice of education is not as straightforward as some music educators seem to suppose and it needs to be recognised that it is teachers who operate and develop curricula. Nevertheless, all teaching is based on some sort of theory much of which requires clarification and further development. Pafft Two involves a consideration of justifications of music as a curriculum subject. (Chapter III) This is an important issue since the justification of music arises out of a more general view of education which in turn determines the aims of music education. (Chapter IV) Aims are taken to mean an attempt to describe the nature of the enterprise which is seen as being concerned with the development of 'musical understanding . In order to expand this view it is necessary to examine music itself in more detail. Part Three (Chapters V, VI and VII) is therefore an investigation into the nature of music and musical activities from philosophical, psychological and sociological perspectives. The purpose of this interdisciplinary approach is to develop a network of ideas that can be related to curriculum issues. These chapters are of central importance and form a *background' to the curriculum. Part Four deals with the design, operation and development of the music curriculum and draws on ideas explored in previous chapters. Three main areas -'curriculum content (Chapter VIII), aspects of teaching (Chapter IX) and organisational factors (Chapter X) are considered in a 'reflectivet rather than 'prescriptive' manner although it is suggested that some of the views formulated could be translated into practice. However, it is teachers, and especially creative teachers, who are seen as being the vital agents in the development process and the last two chapters are devoted to the principle of the teacher as a developer with some reference to a local"development-project (Chapter XI) and a further consideration of the teachers role (Chapter III).