Creative thinking in music education

I took note of this tweet

Dave Aldridge‏ @zudensachen

Creative thinking is a ‘responding to’ something that comes before, in the manner of call and response. Thinking ‘with’. Fairfield #pesgb17

I had tended to think that call and response belonged to music education and as one of its most foundational pedagogic devices.

Attending this year’s third round of the FA Cup to see Southampton play Norwich at Carrow Road, I found myself in the heart of the Southampton fans. We were seated, well mostly standing, not far from the most vociferous section of the Norwich fans.

It wasn’t long before we started singing. The repertoire included a short snatch of a song that made reference to the Woolston Ferry. Where did that reference come from I thought. The Woolston Ferry (The Floating Bridge I knew it as) was replaced by the Itchen Bridge in 1977. Wow, this was heritage stuff. Fathers to sons folk memory I romantically imagined. But with a little research I discovered this

and with a little more I found the song on the album ‘Super Saints 20 Southampton Classics’.

The snatch used by the fans was the beginning of the chorus line.

I will get to the matter of call and response; for now one particularly loud Saints fan stood on his seat and bellowed across to the Norwich fans and in due course one Norwich fan responded. Pretty tribal and rather like war- lords stepping out in front of their armies. What followed was a short spell of call and response between the two. As far as I could tell each drew from the depths of their abuse repertoire. A kind of creative thinking with responses to something that comes before. It was unlikely that fresh material was being generated in this instance.

Call and response as a pedagogical device in music education of course has roots in its evolutionary story and there exists a rich world of antiphonal musical practices. But I wonder how commonly it is now used in our music classrooms as a creative thinking device. There’s plenty of call-echo meaning call-copy. But that’s not call-response.

Let’s think of the step from call-copy to call-response as being vast, the first requiring thought certainly, but the second requiring the creation of a mental space in which the mind is called upon to make sense of the material offered, manipulate it, re-order it, re-create it, think with it.

This is creative thinking and an example of the proximity of musical knowledge acquisition and musical creativity.

‘Responding to’ something that’s comes before. Is it in danger of becoming a lost pedagogy?

And it was just a passing tweet.


3 thoughts on “Creative thinking in music education

    1. LJ, one thought I had.

      In traditional pedagogies call-echo comes before call-response. This would be non-negotiable principle. But in the world it is not necessarily like this. A call is responded to-creative thinking.
      I don’t necessarily think of this a formal v informal.

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