Creativity and instrumental skills development
In this case study we might describe the activity in approach A as improvisation, composition or some combination of the two. However, what is important here is that the development of the new skill is embedded within a creative and musical activity. The technical goal is achieved through creative means – through engaging the children in the learning process and giving them some control. Although both have their merits, approach A offers a much richer musical experience. In approach A, children are engaged in what Jeffrey and Woods (2009: 71) describe as ‘operation, risk taking, experimentation and problem solving’. There is a clear reason for developing the skill – it will allow them to communicate their own musical ideas more effectively. There are skills being developed in approach B as well of course, but the reasons for their development and the musical use to which they will eventually be put is less clear. It is also noticeable that because musical and creative aspects are emphasised rather than technical and note-reading ones, the children are able to focus more on the music. The complexities involved in the performance of music from notation are immense and frequently lead the player to give ‘the dots’ the primary focus. Once these are removed the player is free to focus on other areas and is much more likely to be able to listen critically to the end result and to be aware of the physicality of playing the instrument.