Creative thinking in the elementary music classroom

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Creative thinking in the elementary music classroom a review of literature
Reesman, Joanna ( author )
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1 online resource (63 pages) : ;


Subjects / Keywords:
creativity -- creative thinking -- popular music -- technology -- improvisation -- composition -- student-centered learning
Music Education capstone project, M.M. in M. Ed


The purpose of this capstone project was to construct a review of literature on creative thinking in the elementary music classroom. The literature review focuses on the incorporation of popular music and technological tools that encourage creative thought. The studies I consulted revealed that popular music is taught in the elementary classroom through informal teaching practices and student-centered learning. According to the research, music educators are currently using technology to improvise and compose in the elementary classroom. Creative uses of technology, popular music, and non-traditional teaching methods such as a more student-centered pedagogy and peer teaching in the classroom are explored. This project also outlines suggestions for how to apply these innovative approaches in the classroom, with included lessons plans, for a unit on creative thinking in the elementary music class.
Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Music Education Terminal Project
Statement of Responsibility:
by Joanna Reesman.

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Copyright Creator. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
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035637450 ( ALEPH )
LD1780.1 2015 ( lcc )

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CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 2 Abstract The purpose of this capstone project was to construct a revie w of literature on creative thinking in the elementary music classroo m. The literature review focuses on the incorporation of popular music and technological tools that encourage creative thought. The studies I consulted revealed that popular music is taught in the elementary classroom through informal teaching practices and student centered learning. Acc ording to the research, music educators are currently using technology to improvise and compo se in the elementary classroom. Creative uses of technology, popular music, and non traditional teaching methods such as a more student centered pedagogy and pe er t eaching in the classroom are explored. This project also outlines suggestions for how to apply these innovative approaches in the classroom with included lessons plans for a unit on creative thinking in the elementary music class Keywords: creativity creative thinking popular music, technology, improvisation, composition, student centered learning


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 3 Acknowledgements I wish to express my most sincere gratitude to Dr. Richard Webb for expertly guiding and directing me throughout the entire research and writing process. Not only was he a great source of support, but also of inspiration in the most generous way. I also wi sh to thank Dr. Dale Bazan for his guidance and support as a member of my committee. The faculty and course designers for the University of Florida's master of music education program have also provided the highest level of teac hing, guidance, and inspira tion. This led me to develop a project that directly reflects knowledge gained from many of the courses Anot her group of people I must acknowledge are my friends and family. They have been a foundation of support from the beginning of my studies. I could not have made it this far without their encouragement. They have been my biggest cheerleaders. Finally, I wish to thank all past and present students, as well as my music educator colleagues. My students have served as the primary source of inspiration f or this project. They challenge me every single day to be a better music teacher, and they deserve the best music education possible.


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 4 Table of Contents Abstract ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 2 Acknowledgements ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 3 Table of Contents ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 4 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 6 Need for the Project ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 7 Purpose of the Project ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 7 Personal Rationale ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 8 Review of Literature ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 10 What is Creativity? ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 10 The Creative Person ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 11 The Creative Process ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 13 Why is Creativity Important? ................................ ................................ ............................ 15 Teaching Creativity ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 16 Fostering Creativity through Popular Music ................................ ................................ ..... 18 Fostering Creativity through the Use of Technology ................................ ........................ 27 Using Digital Technologies for Improvisation ................................ ...................... 28 Using Digital Technologies for Composition ................................ ........................ 32 Technological Tools ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 36 Innovative Teaching Practices to Encourage Creativity ................................ .................... 3 9 Conclusion: Three Emergent Themes ................................ ................................ ........................... 42 References ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 46 Appendix A: Unit on Creative Thinking: Lesson Plans ................................ ................................ 51


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 5 Lesson 1: Improvisation ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 52 Lesson 2: Composing with GarageBand ................................ ................................ .......... 54 Lesson 3: Popular Music ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 57 Appendix B: Personal Reflection ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 59


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 6 Creative Thinking in the Elementary Music Classroom: A Review of Literature "When we are engaged in the act of being creative, we feel we are performing at the peak of our abilities. Creative works give us insight and enrich our lives" (Sawyer, 2012, p. 3). Sawyer's statement suggests that e ngaging students in creative thought and activity might allow them the opportunity for a more enriched life. Research and practice suggests that if music educators encourage creative thinking in the classroom, students' lives will therefore be enriched in a variety of ways. In the past, music educators have generally overlooked creative thinking and methods of incorporating it in the elementary music classroom ( Orman, 2002 ). However, in recent years creative thinking has increasingly become a topic of inte rest in music education (Hickey & Webster, 2001). For students to reach their full potential, new and innovative teaching is seen as increasingly important for teachers to meet the educational needs of the current generation of students (Lebler, 2007) Acc ording to Lebler, traditional methods of teaching and learning are important, but as our educational practices evolve music education must be able to adapt to fit students' needs Imagine going to see a doctor who practices medicine the same way he or she practiced it 25 years a go Just as professionals in various other occupations are required to keep up with the new innovations in their field, music educators should be held to the same standard (Thompson 2007) Education is a system of trial and error. Some appro aches work better than others: t he trick is finding what works in the music classroo m and why it works. There are many new and innovative pedagogies currently in practice in music classrooms throughout the U.S. that might be unknown or inaccessib le to many teachers. Crow's ( 2006 ) study suggests that many music education trainees preparing to enter the teaching field are mostly tra ined in the classical tradition. This focus on the classical tradition to the exclusion of other musical styles in


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 7 their own training inhibits their ability to encourage and model creative thinking in their classrooms. According to Crow, t he combination of traditional methods with creative new approa ches to teaching can open many doors for current and future music educ ators. Need for the Project Creative thinking is a topic that has been explored for students in secondary music classrooms but it seems that creative thinking in th e elementary music classroom is far less common. There is a need for pedagogical approache s to be d eveloped and presented in a way that clearly outlines the benefits and challenges of teaching creative thought It is equally important to make sure teachers have easy access to information about these new approaches and the means necessary to imp lement them. The combination of traditional methods with creative new approaches to teaching can allow current and future music educators to connect with students in new and potentially exciting ways. If more teachers have access to creative approaches to teaching, students might be opened to a whole new world of music making and learning. Purpose of the Project The purpose of this project was to explore the literature on creative thinking that clearly outlined new and innovative pedagogies in the elementary music classroom that have a high rate of success at fostering students' creative thinking This review allows educators across the United States to develop the best practices for their classroom. Creative uses of technology, popular music, and n on traditional teaching methods such as student centered learning and peer teaching in the classroom are explored. This pr oject also offers suggestions for how to apply these innovative approaches in the classroom with included lessons plans for a unit o n creative thinking.


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 8 Personal Rationale This capstone project is significant to my own teaching career. It provided me the opportunity to transfer the knowledge and skills I have gained in all of my previous coursework into one final project from which man y can benefit I sought out the most current information that can be applied in my own setting. Most of my undergraduate experience was grounded in more traditional methodologies, with which I have found success with in my own classroom. However, I have se en the need to discover and apply these innovative practices to keep up with the technological and cultural needs of my students. This project is also significant to the elementary music profession. It will provide teachers access to literature that explores the challenges and benefits of encouraging creative thought, and offer s suggestions on how to teach creative thinking. The research is also applicable toward s advocacy of the importance of keeping music in our schools, and striving for a high qual ity music program fueled by the best music educators. This project is a result of intrigue from many of the courses in the graduate program at the University of Florida. The Vernacular Music course, designed by Dr. Dale Bazan, provided opportunities to ex plore how popular music can truly influence the elementary music student. Helping students m ake connections between educational materials and music with which they are already familiar can increase their motivation and interest in the music classroom. List ening to a child speak of their favorite song or artist can be truly inspiring to a music educator, and can open doors for many wonderful music making opportunities. Another course that influenced this project was Teaching Music with Technology with Dr. Wi lliam Bauer. Dr. Bauer designed this course to stress the importance and role of using technology in the music classroom. This course revealed a variety of ways for technology to be used in the elementary music room that would be


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 9 beneficial to both the tea cher and students. The effective application of new digital technologies can be a rich source of innovation in teaching, and there are many pedagogical approaches for their use Instructional Design in Music Education also played a critical role in the dev elopment of this project. This course focused on skills that relate to designing, developing, and implementing the p rocesses of both music learning, and teaching. "It is desirable for a music class curriculum to reflect all elements of these approaches (ob jectives, repertoire, skills, and knowledge ) (Conway, 2015, p. 14). The key is to effectively plan and develop frameworks and curriculum maps that align with the pedagogical approaches while also reflecting these four elements. In order for the new pedago gical approaches to be reviewed herein to be successful, they must be thoughtfully planned out in a framework that works for both teacher and students. Finally, the Creative Thinking in Music course, designed by Dr. Peter Webster, influenced this choice o f project more than any other course in the graduate program. Educators should inspire creativity in all that a child does. This could mean designing a curriculum that encourages creative thinking through composition, improvisation, the use of technology, the incorporation of popular music, and a combination of new and traditional teaching methodologies. Teachers can creatively design their music curriculum to allow students to reach their full potential. They should also be provided the opportunity to disc over what new and innovative pedagogical approaches are being successfully applied in the elementary music curriculum today. This was a topic that really struck me. During this course I realized that I did not encourage creative thought in the ways I should Not only was I not encouraging creative thought, but I also had no idea how to go about doing so. As a music student myself, I never practiced being creative and was not encouraged to improvise or create in any of my music cl asses throughout my own music education. I want my students to be able to think creatively


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 10 and produce creative products that are meaningful. In order to do so, I found it necessary to learn how other music educators are successful in encouraging creative thought in their own classrooms. Review of Literature The following is a n examination of the literature on creative thinking and the elementary music classroom First, I will detail how the literature defines creativity. Next, I will explore the literature pertaining to the traits and characteristics of the creative person and process. Third, I will discuss how the literature suggests that creativity is an important learning experience. I will then explore how the literature suggests creativity is taught th rough the use of popular music, through the use of digital technologies (with an emphasis on improvisation and composition), and through the use of innovative teaching practices. What is C reativity? There are many definitions of creativity and what it means to be a creative person. Creativity is one of the most important aspects of what m akes us interesting: When we are creative, we feel successfu l, imaginative, and intelligent (Thompson, 2007). According to S awyer (2012), individuals in various economic fields have discovered that creativity and innovation are central to success. For this reason it i s important to begin fostering creative thinking skills in student s as early as elementary school (Kiehn, 2003). It is widely believed that creativity is an innate abi lity, or some mysterious force. According to Sawyer (2012), c reativity is definable, and the proposition of teaching creativity demands a practical explanati on of what it is. Sawyer offers a rationale for understanding creativity:


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 11 Explaining creativity can help us identify and realize every person's unique creative t alents, help our leaders respond better to the chall enges facing modern society, help us all to be better problem solvers, he lp us realize the importance of positive, peak experiences to mental health, and help educators teach more effectivel y. (p. 5) When explaining creativity, either an individualist or a sociocultural definition may be used. According to Sawyer the individua list definition focuses on the person. It deals with how a person thinks, learns, perceives, and remembers and in doing so creates a new mental combinati on expressed in the world. Creative thoug ht or action is brand new to the creator without it already having been thought of or done. Creativity is a combination of all previous knowledge and thoughts to create a new and original thought or action. Simply restating something previously done or thought would not be an example of the creative process. The seco nd definition is sociocultural which is about teamwork. It focuses on a number of creative people working together. The creative product is judged to be novel, a ppropriate, and useful by the group that is working together. Hickey (2012) stressed that creative thinking involves the ability to think imaginatively. It is the act of manipulating old ideas and creating new and original musical ideas. Hickey's definitio n seems similar to Sawyer's individualistic definition of creativity. This type of thinking is called divergent thinking, rather than convergent thinking. According to Hickey, d ivergent thinking allows music makers to come up with many possible ideas, rath e r than just one. The Creative P erson Both Sawyer and Hickey describe the common personal attributes of highly creative persons in their texts. Sawyer (2012) referenced a study conducted by the University of


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 12 California at Berkeley, in which peer nominate d creative thinkers in different fields are given a creative personality assessment. The research found that the highly creative s ubjects had similar traits. The participants in the study had above average intelligence, were observant, open minded, had balanced personalities, had pleasant childhoods, and preferred co mplexity. Sawy er referenced other studies that identified several additional traits of highly creative people. Some of those traits included articulacy, metaphorical thinking, flexible decision making independence willingness to take risks, high energy, autonomy, self control, and self confidence. The majority of the studies agreed on one thing: the most important characterist ic of a creative person is the ability to recognize a problem and ask t he right questions. Most highly creative people are only creative in one field. E xercising a high degree of creativity requires a vast amount of knowledge, training, and experience, whi ch in turn enables o ne to identify problems and ask the right questions. Hickey (201 2 ) listed characteristics of highly creative persons something that would seem to support Sawyer's (2012) assertions. These characteristics include risk taking, humorous, independence curio s ity attraction to the unknown complexity, open mindedness, an interest in fan tasy, and heightened perception However, Hickey identified some negative person ality traits as well. She stated that the highly creative person might also be aloof, distractible, compulsive, sloppy, an d rebellious. Those characteristics tend to d escribe students that often get into trouble in the classroom. This suggests that some of the most creative children neve r get the opportunity to express their creative nature as a result of the teacher's frustration at the student's behavior According to Hickey, l ittle time and patience is given for the creative process in the music classroom for this very reason. This is not to say that all students with behavior problems are creative. However, if the teacher can distinguish the students with behavior problems as having


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 13 creative problems, they can work to channel that energy into something more productive and positive usin g creative tasks and activities. All children have the ability and potential to be creative. It is up to the teacher to offer tasks and activities that might involve taking risks or allowing the students to be silly. Allowing students to behave in such a w ay will create a positive classroom environment where students feel comfortable free to explore and free to be themselves. The Creative Pr ocess Over the years there has been much written on the creative process. Psychologists have tried to observe the creativity trends and the order in which they occur. Sawye r (2012) outlined the creative process in eight stages. The first stage is the creator's identification and formulation of a problem Once the creato r has thought of a problem, he or she can begin t o formulate it in a way that might lead to a solution that is creative in nature. In t he second stage the creator must acquire knowledge relevant to the problem. Crea tive results are not the product of a fleeting thought : A creative person must master and practice the knowledge in their subject area to gain expertise. In t he third stage the creator must gather a range of information that might be but is not necessarily related to the problem. Seemingly unrelated information is actually relevant to the probl em in some way, and the awareness of this information can lead to a crea tive solution. The fourth stage is an incubation stage during which the creator takes time off from actively trying to solve the problem Taking time off will allow the creator to subc onsciously process all gathered and related information. During stage five Sawyer states that the creator generates a large variety of ideas. Although the incubation stage is for subconscious gathering of ideas, conscious attention can also lead to a vari ety of solutions. In t he sixth stage the creator combines ideas in unexpected ways. In many cases, creative products combine existing ideas in un usual


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 14 and new ways. Stage seven instructs the c reator to select the best ideas and apply relevant criteria. The creative process usually results in a variety of solutions. Many of these will not be the best possible solution. It is the responsibility of the creator to determine which of these ideas they must explore further in their study. The last of Sawyer's stag e s in the creative process is for the creator to externalize the idea using materials and representations. Creative ideas are n ot magical moments of insight. Sawyer feels it is important for creative ideas to spark, develop, and alter as they are put out i nto the world. Hickey (2012) detailed a similar creative process to the one that Sawyer (2012) described She stated that some models of the creative process take into account personality, as well as cognitive abilities and creativity skills. The researc h suggests that there is a combination of both convergent and divergent thinking skills utilized during the creative process. Problem finding behavior is also an important aspect of the process and is a trait usually found in highly creative people. After participating in the creative process one usually arrives at the creative product, which is the tangible result. The creative product might be an improvisation, composition or an originally altered performance of a well known piece. However, the product sh ould be new and appropriate. A product is not necessarily creative simply because it is original. For a product t o be creative it should not only be original, but also aesthetically interesting to others. Hickey suggests that teachers should encourage students to be thought ful and creative about their creative products. She also suggests that allowing students the freedom to explore and thoughtf ully consider the process in it s entiret y gives them the chance to produce something of educational value. Teachers should be careful not to discourage students while they are in the process of creating.


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 15 Why is Creativity I mportant? "Whether you put a pencil to paper, draw a brush across canvas, or bring a new idea to fruition, you demonstrate your cr eative capacity to express your freedom" ( Thompson, 2007, p. 1). Thompson seems to suggest that w hen a person embarks on the creative process, he or she is gaining the inner freedom to come up with original thoughts, ideas, actions, or poss ibilities. In our younger years we all started out as creative beings. Playing, pretending, and using our imaginations to dream up our wildest ideas are the beginning stages of practicing creative thinking as a child. However, as we age the freedom to think creatively d windles. Thompson reviewed a study by Land (1973 ) in which Land gave a group of five year olds a creativity test that was designed by NASA to select their own group of innovative engineers. The results of the creativity tests showed that ninety five percen t of children scored in the "highly creative" range. These children took the same test fiv e years later at the age of ten. The results of this test showed that only thirty percent were rated "highly creative." These students were tested one last time at th e age of fifteen. This time the results showed that only twelve percent of them were considered "highly creative at this point. Over ten years, the number of "highly creative" students relative to the to tal test group decreased by 83% Those results indic ate that there is a need for developing thought in students, starting particularly with young children. Kie hn (2003) also described the importance of fostering creative though t in young children. He compared the creativity of musical i mprovisation by students in the second, fourth, and sixth grades. Over a twelve week period, t he participating students were given two types of creativity tests, which were scored by two different judges. Participants were given the tests alone in sma ll rooms with little noise. For one of the tests, participants were given six open ended improvisational tasks. Participants were asked to maintain a steady beat while the tester


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 16 performed a different rhythm. Participants had to create musical answers for the tester's musical questions. The second test asked the participants to improvise while the tester maintained a steady beat. Other improvisational activities were performed using black and white bells. The final task asked the participants to improvise musically to match how they feel during a thunderstorm The judges examined the tests for music fluency, ideation, and rhythmic security. The results of Kiehn's (2003) two tests suggest that creative abilities vary according to age Kiehn observed a steady growth in creative ability between the second an d fourth grades, followed by a "developmental plateau" betwe en the fourth and sixth grades. There are several contributing factors that might explain this developmental plateau. The first potential contributing fact or is sociological or psychological pressure. The students in these grades may feel pressure to conform to the preferences of children their own age. This is a difficult time for students to have creative thoughts that separate them from the rest of their peers. There are social pressures that are difficult for a young person to deal with. The second group of potential contributing factors is comprised of the participants' individual personality traits. Kiehn discovered that imagination, anxiety, and curios ity had an impact on the musical creativity among third graders. This study concluded that more research is necessary to determine how different instructional methods possibly affect the creative process, and how to avoid the developmental plateau in child ren as they age. Both Kiehn and Thompson (2007) suggest that it important to begin developing creative potential in children at a very young age. Teaching C reativity Before one begins to focus on teaching creativity, there are several pedagogical prerequisites. "To teach creatively, one must be creative, teachers must ask open ended musical questions that stimulate thinking, music educators must function within the cul ture of their


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 17 classroom as the guide on the side' rather than sage on the stage' and care must be taken to establish a safe and nurturing environment" (Robinson, Bell & Pogonowski, 2011, p. 51 52). Understanding these approaches is very beneficial. Rob i nson, Bell, and Pogonowski seem to be suggesting that in order for one to teach creatively, they themselves must practice being creative. According to Sawyer (2012) t here is a common idea that a creative solution arises from a moment of magical insight, d iscrediting the hard work that realistically makes up creativity. People don't just have a single moment of insight that inspires an artistic masterpiece. There might be several moments of insight followed by hard work and revision throughout the entire cr eative process to develop an artistic masterpiece. Creativity has to be practiced, and a s these skills are developed, one will m ost likely become more creative. Sawyer is suggesting that music educators must develop their own creativity before teaching cre ativity. Another important aspect of teaching creatively is to ask open ended questions. Teachers must guide students throughout the creative process rather than tell them what to do. This must be done carefully as well so that the teacher doesn't accident ally force his or her own ideas onto the student. That aspect goes along with the idea of the teacher being a "guide on the side" rather than a "sage on the stage ( Robinson, Bell and Pogonowski, 2011 ). According to Sawyer, l ecturing is not as effective a s guiding students through the learning process. When one teaches cre ativit y, he or she acts as more of a facilitator and collaborator. Once again, it can be understood that the teachers must de s ign their classroom and lessons to create a space of creative learning. Research has revealed that it is important to promote a positive and nurturing environme nt in the classroom. Often it is the teacher who shut s down the creative nature of a student by not encouraging their work in the most positive way possible (Thompson, 2007) Thompson explains that s tudents shouldn't be afraid to ex plore their creativity, and t eachers should emphasize the safe space in the classroom


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 18 for optimal success. Once a music educator has followed these prerequisites, t hey can begin to teach creativit y in their own classroom. Wilson (2001) listed several suggestions for how to spark the creative process for students. The first way mentioned is for the teacher to provide mater ial and give certain parameters that the students may use to complete their creative task When the teacher limited the parameters of the assi g n ment and gave specific instructions, the students were inspired and motivated to come up with creative ideas tha t were totally unique. This suggestion is also a great stepping stone for beginners in the creative process. According to Wilson many people found it difficult to come up with a completely unique idea and creative problem when they are not given a prompt or any guidelines to follow. Wilson also suggested that the teacher guide students with pointed questions to help them f igure out their own ideas for their composi tion Without these questions, Wilson stated, s tudents might lose their intent or main idea along the way. These questions could help students stay on task and remain to their creative idea s Overall, Wilson concluded that the most important thing a teache r can do is create a friendly atmosphere in the classroom. Students who feel like they are supported are less likely to be afraid of thinking creatively, and more empowered to express new and original ideas. Fostering C reativity through Popular M usic The research suggested that m usic teachers around the country struggle with different ways to foster creative thought in students in the music classroom. Many chi ldren don't have the opportunity to be exposed to classical music on a regular basis and therefore have a tough time relating to classical music. However, when these students talk about their favorite song or musical artis t their entire face lights up (Biamonte, 2011) Accor ding to Bowle s (1998), wh en students make personal conne ctions to their music education they gain the mental freedom and


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 19 motivation to participate with their best efforts Bowles feels that providing students with this type of curriculum does require music teachers to remove the tradition al curriculum from the classroom, but bridge the gap between classical and popular music. Over the last several decades, music education professionals have questioned popular music's place in the public school music curriculum. In 1967 the Music Educators National Confere nce, also known as MENC, met in Tanglewood Massachusetts where they held a national symposium of music educators from all over the country (Isbell, 2007 ). During the symposium, a panel concluded that students should b e offered mo re musical experiences that allow them to connect to their world outside of the classroom. The panel also determined that music of all periods, genres, styles, cultures, and forms belong in the curriculum as well as current popular music that t eenagers listen to. It was decided at the Tanglewood Symposium that popula r music does have a place in schools. Isbell referenced O'Brien 's (1982) statement that poor music is poor music, while music that demonstrates craftsmanship is music of value. This is true of both clas sical music and popular music, and suggests that popular music is full of value and can have a great impact on students in the music room. Isbell also reviewed studies conducted by other researchers. Isbell concluded from this research that schools should use popular music because students prefer this style, and they will more likely be motivated to participat e. Biamonte (2011) studied the relevance and importance of teaching popular music in the classroom. According to Biamonte, student s in today's world are surrounded by an array of new technologies and enjoy instant access to all types of media Teachers have the opportunity to use these new media sources to connect, inspire, and motivate students so that they may have an exciting expe rience in the mu sic classroom. The text contained sixteen essays from a v ariety of


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 20 contributors. Biamonte and the other contributors all seem to agree that teaching pop music informally equips students with skills that they might not acquire through traditional methods. For example, pop music can be taught without notation, which can be a good tool for developing aural ski lls. Biamonte also described different ways to incorporate elements of both popular music and popular culture into elementary music lessons Several great tools she suggested to help teachers incorporate popular music into their curriculum are Guitar Hero, Rock Band Dance Dance Revolution and YouTube According to Green (2006), many music educators agree, with some regret, that students often have an unenthusiastic approach to music in their classroom s Of the research already done on popular music's effe ct s in the classroom, many studies have found that students would rather listen to popular music than any other style (Minks, 1999) Minks' study stated that her fifth graders are excited to hear the new song on the radio, show off by singing all the words, and take ownership of said music. Minks st udied students ranging from age five to eleven in a small northeastern elementary school. For four months she visited and observed music class, sp oke with parents and teachers, and conducted interviews with fifth grade classes. The study evaluated the way the participants talked about and responded to music. The fifth graders music talk was usually connected with a special school time activity. If the students were well behaved, their music teacher allowed them to play recordings of their own popular music. The students were also allowed to get out of their chairs to move to the music. This informal part of class time provided an entry point for lea rning about the role popular music can play in students' lives in and outside of school. Compared to teaching particular concepts using the traditional ways of classical music, using a song the students might be familiar with might motivate them to partici pate in the lesson more actively. The student will feel ownership of this music and feel a


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 21 stronger connection to it. If the student is excited ab out what he or she is learning then he or she is more likely to retain the information, as well as apply creat ive thought to musical practice. In contrast to Minks' findings Bowles (1998) completed a study on the preferences of ele mentary students; she referenced Raynor's Session III of the Symposium, Motivation and Creation, which t ook place in 1983. Raynor stated "teachers can influence intrinsic motivation by choosing the tasks and materials for learning or performance that have been found to provide substantial inherent interest" (Bowles, 1998, p. 193). It is up to the teacher to find out which tasks and activities will motivate and also be of value to his or her students. This is an interesting point because nowhere does it say that popular music must be the source for these intrinsically motivating tasks and activities. The point being made is that it is not necessarily the style of music that will motivate the students, but the way in which the style is taught. Bowles suggested that the music teacher must find activities and plan lessons that the students will enjoy rather than styles of music After a teacher has decided to incorporate popular m usic into their curriculum, he or she might be unsure of how to teach it effectively Evans' (2014) dissertation not only discussed the importance of popular music in the school curricula, but also instructed t eachers on how to select popular music elements that are app ropriate and have value in the music classroom. Evans studied how teachers are currently using popular music by administering a su rvey to a variety of teachers and students Sh e found that 65% have a curriculum that includes popular music selections or popular music activities. The teachers who claimed to not use popular music at all criticized the repertoire of popular music material with clear musical concepts. 35% of participants ac knowledged that they used popular music in extra curricular activities by sponsoring clubs or other activities. The teachers who were already incorporating popular music


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 22 into their classroom went about it in a variety of ways. The research showed that teac hers use popular music as listening examples for a particular musical concept, musical style, subject/lyrical content, historical value, or fun and enjoyment. Teachers also use popular music in performance for students to experience a particular musical co ncept, style, subject/lyrical content, historical value, or fun and enjoyment. Other uses listed included allowing students to list en for instrumentation purposes or a History of Rock and Roll unit. Evans (2014) also analyzed student reactions to the us e of popular music. When students were asked about their general reactions to activities and lessons utilizing popular music, 83% had positive responses. Many of the students enjoyed being able to recognize the music as well as discover connections between the classroom and their own personal lives. They also claimed to be more motivated to participate in the activity because it was familiar. The last set of qu estion s in Evans' survey expanded upon teachers' professional opinions about whether or not to inc orporate popular music into the music classroom. Every participant responded that their opinions were a direct result from their own experiences as educators. 24% claimed to be influenced in some way by a professor. Only 18% of the participants received an y kind of instruction in popular music through undergraduate or graduate classes. 82% of participants were in favor of utilizing popular music to teach or supplement musical concepts. Other responses stated that they could use popular music to generate mot ivation or enthusiasm, increase student attention, participation, and make stronger connections to students' personal lives. Green (2006) listed several recommendations for other researchers to pursue including a variety of surveys and trial lesson plans b ased on what the students would find familiar and what they would prefer. She suggested using informal music practices as a way to incorporate popular music i nto the classroom. She discussed five main characteristics of informal music practices.


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 23 The first characteristic is that informal learners choose music that they identify with and enjoy. People are usually comfortable with what they are familia r with and tend to like it more. By allowing students to choose what they wan t to learn, they will be more lik ely to take ownership of it. The second characteristic involves the learner copying recordings by ear. Students usually respond from notated or verbal instructions for this characteristic This practice can develop a student's aural musicianship in ways formal music practices might not be able to. Th ird, the learner is self taught, which means that the learning takes place in a cooperative setting with other people. Many rock bands practice in this type of an informal setting by making music together and learn ing together. Isbell (2007) described the teacher who taught using informal music practices in the classroom. He discussed how Davis (2005) wanted to show how the techniques and skills used in a rock ba nd rehearsal could also be incorporated into a more traditional ensemble. Davis found that the partic ipants grew musically and socially during the project The students' composition skills as well as aural musicianship improved. The students were also enga ged in the music making whi le having a great time doing so. The fourth characteristic involves the assimilation of knowledge and skills in unconventional ways. Every student will learn these skills differently, and the process of how they get to the final result is just as important as the result itself. The fifth and final characteristic requires that the learner improvise, compose, perform, and listen during the entirety of the informal music practice. Those skills emphasize the use of creative thought. I n a more traditional and formal setting, the emphasis usually isn't creating. According to Green (2006), Isbell (2007), and Davis (2005), these informal learning practices incorporating popular music allow students to develop techniques, skills, and conce pts that are less likely to be developed in a more traditional classroom setting.


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 24 After Green (2006) examined the different practices of informal music lear ning, she detailed a research study she conducted on the problems and possibilities of bringing informal learning practices into the secondary music classroom. The project was administered to ninth grade students at 21 schools in London and Hertfordshire England. The study involved learning and teaching strategies that attempted to replicate the informal learning strategies. The first stage of the project focused on the first four informal learning practices discussed above. The participants were asked to bring in their own CDs, form small groups with ea ch other, and then choose a song from all the choices they had brought in. The students were then instructed to copy the song aurally from the chosen recording as a group, using whatever instruments they desired. During this process, the teacher took a ste p back into a more observant role that provided guidance and feedback when necessary. Green (2006) and the teachers involved in this project were initially apprehensive about what sort of outcome they would get. However, the results showed three specific items. First, the natural learning process was observed. During the class times, the students would copy the song by initially matching the percussion to the vocal line, and then creating their own beat by questioning what they were actually hearing. The s tudents worked together in the natural learning process to come to the final product. Second, there were issues with the participants in the group actually listening to each other. T here were several instances where most of the participants in the group we re playing to a common beat, but one participant would be out of that beat. Instead of stopping and correcting the problem, the groups would continue fo r several minutes at a time. This tendency for the groups to keep moving forward without stopping to cor rect raised c oncerns about flow and cooperation. This contrasts with traditional and classical learning processes. The third item was the nature of the teacher's role. In many of the groups, the


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 25 students started the project singing and playing instrument s in tune. However, as the project progressed, they would start to slip out of tune an d play less accurately. Normally the teacher would step in to help with these problems. But for this project, the teacher acted more as an observer. To everyone's surprise the participants ended up correcting themselves without any teacher input. The participants also progres sed much farther than anyone expected them to. The participants were interviewed at the conclusion of the project. All of the stron gest responses from students had to do w ith motivation, enjoyment, and relevance to their own lives. When asked how it felt to be thrown into the project without much help, the students responded that it was all part of the fun. They enjoyed working out the problems on their own. Participants also claimed that their listening abilities improved over the course of the project. After this stage of the project, students continued to listen and copy music for six to eight weeks. Students then had the opportunity to write songs in band with occasional visits from musicians offering input. After covering examples of how popular music is already being used, there are still issues with educators not being prepared to teach popular music (Isbell, 2007) Isbell's research indicated tha t m any teachers are not comfortable teaching popular music due to their unfamiliarity with it which creates resistance. According to Isbel l popular music does not need to replace t raditional classroom practices but should instead be taught alongside it Popular music has been overlooked in music education for many years. This might be because many teachers are unfamiliar with its subject matter, or teachers simply haven't been trained t o teach this way. Green's (2006) boo k on informal learning revealed how teachers can use informal learning practices to develop skills found in popular music that have been previously ignored. This text is a pedagogical guide for how teachers can use a more informal practice to teach students the concepts and skills they have previously t aught in a more traditional way. "Informal and formal


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 26 musical experiences prepare music in different types of settings, as different as a recital hall i s from the garage" (Isbell, 2007 p. 10). Isbell further suggested that although these experiences use different approaches to create music, they both have value. There i s no need to choose which type of practice to use in the classroom. Both types of practices can be used together to strengthen different skills and concepts in students. Acc ording to Isbell, m odern music educators can make more meaningful connections with their students by focusing less on notation, and more on encouraging creative though t through student collaboration and engag ing in the learning process alongside their stud ents. Student response to informal learning practices can give a music teacher a whole new outlook on music education (Jaffurs 2004) Once the educator sees the excitement, enthusiasm, an d enjoyment of music making using these different types of practice s, it opens up a whole new educational world Jaffurs conducted a study where she observed her students creating music in a "garage band style." This study used five participants two girls and three boys from three different families. During the first r ehearsal Jaffurs gathered data as the g roup practiced their first song and then composed an original song. During the second rehearsal, she recorded the practice and then asked the band to watch the video and discuss what was occurring. She asked the group questions about instrument choice, selection of members, leadership, compositional practices, rock band preferences, schedules, and parental influences on their music. Jaffurs noted that the rock band used both verbal and non verbal communication skills t o interact with each other. The participan ts' interviews and discussion about the video viewing showed a connection to formal music education, informal music education, musicianship, composition, improvisation, and collaborative relationships. The participants also described them selves as equal band members: n ot one of them was considered the leader There was also peer learning and peer


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 27 critique. Jaffurs concluded that by understanding how children teach themselves music educators could create a n effective learning environment using more informal learning practices. She also discovered what aspects each participant valued in his or her own learning environment. Each student was allowed to practice something that they could connect to and will probably be more likely to experience new things in the future. There has been much discussion on why popul ar music is needed and suggestions on how to incorporate it into the curriculum. Still missing from the existing body of knowledge is how popular music is actually motivating student performance. These books, articles, and dissertations go into detail abou t the use of popular music, but we do not have much evidence on student reactions. The closest piece of information on student reaction in the research discussed was what kind of activities students like to participate in during music class rather than the genre or style. Educators might be well served to know how incorporating popular music is affecting t heir students. Much of the research indicated that students prefer listening to popular music on their own, but that does not mean that they can't promote a combination of both popular and classical music i n their elementary music class. Fostering Creativity Through the use of T echnology "The world today is one in which technology is increasingly interwoven into the fabric of our lives. Cell phones, ubiquitous Internet access, global positioning system units, computers, multimedia, tablet devices, digital music players, and videogames are all commonplace and increasingly affordable" (Bauer, 2014, p. 4). Bauer is suggesting that digital t echnologies ar e is in every aspect of daily life and students today have access to just about every kind of technological m edium. Because of this, it is important that teachers seize every opportunity to allow technology to be used in the classroom. Not only does techn ology provide a connection to


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 28 what each student might be accustomed to, but also these different types of technologies allow teachers to educate their students in a variety of ways This variety allows for differentiation among students and accommodation f or different learning styles. However, the most exciting thing that technology can do is encourage creative thinking in more advanced and culturally relevant ways. In the current world, technology is a key factor in the way music is created, performed, con sumed, and preserved. The creative use of technology can allow students to express their individual musicianship in the most effective ways. People are using technology creatively for music in many different areas. Musicians often use digital technologies to come up with new and unique sounds for their performances. Composers and arrangers use software and hardware on their computers to capture sound to creatively express their music. Bau er suggests that technology has allowed the world to interact with and experience music in new and creative ways. Using Digital Technologies for I mprovisation Two types of creative thinking that are most commonly facilitated through technology are improvisation and composition. I mprovising in the elementary music classroom can be overwhelming fo r the elementary music educator. Allowing children under the age of ten the opportunity for improvisation seems easier to avoid than to accomplish (Bauer, 2014) However, the study of improvisation is a necessary educational activity for music students of all ages. According to Bauer students are able to foster creative thinking by developing aural skills and providing musical practice and cooperative ensemble participation through the use of technology. Improvisation is used in a wid e variety of musical activities for people of all ages and skill levels. It is an important part of jam sessions and jazz performances by more experienced musicians, but could also be used by younger students to experiment with different


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 29 pitches and rhythm s. Improvising is considered by some to be nothing more than a gratifying creative outlet but there are also many benefits of allowing students to improvise in music class. According to Bauer, the act of impro vising can lead students to better unders tand notated music, improve their ability to perform for an audience and increase their sight reading and aural skills. There are many ways improvisation skills can enhance creative thinking through the use of technology Bauer (2014) listed several suggestions for teachers to incorporate in their classroom. Students might use electronic or digital instruments or digital audio workstations to engage in free improvisation. This type of improvisation allows students to use te chnology to produce sounds without having to follow any specific guidelines or rules. Students might also use dig ital or electronic instruments, recording software, auto accompaniment software or mobile apps to echo musical patterns. According to Bauer w hen students begin to improvise, it is necessary for them to strengthen their aural skills. Instead of echoing teacher provided patterns, technologies can provide the patterns for the student to practice. Another great improvisation activity that uses thos e same technologies involves posing rhythmic questions to students and asking them to give a rhythmic answer In the past, the teacher or other students might have had to provide the ques tion, but now the question can be performed using those technologies. Some other activities Bauer discussed using the technologies mention ed above for improvisation includes improvising melodies over a given accompaniment, improvising in groups, or improvising an accompaniment. Beegle (2010 ) performed a study that examined fifth grade students' improvisation and their collaborative interaction in groups as they planned and reflected on their improvisational responses to given prompts. Participants were two classes of fifth grade children. Each participant was assigned to a group of four. Over a twelve week period, Beegle gathered data


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 30 from questionnaires, audio and video recorded observation of the participants planning, improvising, and evaluating performances, field work notes, and individual and group interviews with stu dents. Each class participated in twelve improvisational lessons that took place in three different units. For eac h unit, three different art forms were used as prompts : a poem, a painting, and a portion of a professional music composition. Children were a sked to work in groups to improvise a piece of music relating to the prompt. These pieces were constrained to a one minute time limit. After performing their piece for the class, each group was asked to perform it again in a different way. After each perfo rmance, dialogue was opened for peers to give feedback. The results from Beegle's study suggested several different developing themes. She found that every group planned their improvisations using the same four part process and that the participants' rel ationships and social roles correlated with their musical relationships and roles. It was also determined that the musical product s differed depending on what the prompt was and how much freedom for musical expression tha t prompt allowed. Beegle also found that the student's interviews, processes, and reflections showed that each group used similar strategies for planning and evaluating improvisation performances. Beegle's study did not use technology for improvisation, but educators could easily transfer B eegle's prompts to other mediums that do involve new technologies. Niknafs' (2013) mixed methods research study examined how general music teachers in the state of Illinois are currently using improvisation and their beliefs and practices related to impro visation. Using a survey modeled after Strand's (2006) survey for the use of composition, this survey on improvisation was given to general music K 8 teachers. 87% of responding teachers claimed to use improvisation activities in their classroom, while 13% claimed not to use any improvisational activities. The results also showed that the improvisation activities are not


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 31 the main focus in many general music classrooms, but are used some of the time. The participants in the survey agreed that improvisation i s a great way to develop music al creativity in students. However, improvisation still ranks lower in priority than other musical tasks. Many participants claimed that they were more likely to teach improvisation in their classroom if they themselves had so me sort of improvisation background. The attitudes the participants had on improvisation also showed that while they think it's important to teach, it often lends to a more chaotic or disorderly classroom. When the participants were asked what they wanted their students to learn through improvisational activities, they stated that the enrichment of other musical skills, promoting musical understanding, encouragement of free and creative thinking, advance student independence, and enjoyment were all importan t goals. Orman's (2002) study defined and categorized the nine national music standards to determine the amount of class time spent on each one. The participants consisted of 30 experienced elementary music specialists that taught in a large, affluent area in the eastern part of the United States. For the study, each participant was required to submit a videotape of his or her own teaching in all grade levels. However, the participants were not told what the study was about or what resea rchers would be looking for in the videos. Orman found that that across all grade levels, the largest portion of time was spent with the teacher talking and the second largest portion of time was spent with the teacher modeling. The least amount of time wa s spent listening to student performance and listening to music. Orman determined that of all the national standards, singing, playing instruments, and reading/notating were the most prevalent activities in the classroom The remaining standards comprised less than 5% of class time. The standards that require more creative or artistic skills, like improvisation, received very littl e class time. Many of the teachers who participated in Orman's study said they felt they did not have


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 32 enough time to cover the m ore creative standards. Another concern the study revealed is that teacher s spend too much time lecturing Both Orman (2002) and Niknafs' (2013) studies revealed that improvisation activities in the elementary music classroom receive a little amount of tim e. They suggest that educators are interested in implementing improvisation activities in the classroom, but need direction for how to begin doing so. Using Digital Technologies for C omposition Another way to encourage creativity through the use of techno logy is by composing. Composition is a major musical activity in which students have to make creative and artistic decision s Other areas of the music education c urriculum might not provide that same type of experience. Music composition is an important aspect of a child's music education that often gets ignored. Similar to teaching improvisation, many teachers may feel uncomfortable allowing their students to compose. This might come from a fear of not even knowing wher e to begin. Using technology to compose has made it a lot more accessible for students to create in the music classroom. Bauer quoted Kaschub and Smith (2009) who have develope d five point rationale f or why students should compose. Both believed that comp osing encourages children to creatively discover new understandings of the world, allows children to discover their musical potential, develops knowledge that goes alongside other musical experiences, invites children to demonstrate all of their musical kn owledge, and allows the child to explore, grow, and creatively think and produce meaningful and artistic products. This rationale leads us to believe that it is necessary to involve composition in the music classroom starting at the earliest age possible s o students can practice and improve through their secondary years. According to Bauer (2014 ), there are two main ways that music educators use composition in the classroom. One way is to use standard musical notation, and the other way


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 33 involves non tradi tional strategies using production/digital audio software. Bauer indicated that m any teachers often use the standard musical notation because it is what they are familiar with It could be that many of these teachers also believe that learning how to read and write music in their s tandard form is what allows a person to be "fluent" in music. Many o f the people advocating for non traditional composition methods are often standing up for students who are interested in music, but have little to no formal back ground knowledge about it In the elementary classroom, it is beneficial to use software that allows sounds to be shown non traditionally or graphically. These programs use icons or images that are focused mainly on the sounds the student chooses. Bauer s uggested several different technological programs teachers could utilize in their classroom. One program that uses icons or images to match sound is Morton Subotnick's Making Music. This program can also be downloaded on a mobile device using the app called Pitch Painter. There is also a free version that can be downloaded online called Creating Music The students compose by drawing lines on a blank screen. Students can pla y around w ith timbre, tempo, and other variables. Bauer (2014) seems to suggest that t his method of composition is perfect for the younger student as it can almost be related to musical finger painting. Students can perform their pieces for the class and revise as n eeded. A more advanced type of technological composition using a non traditional approach is through the use of GarageBand The GarageBand program allows students to make music by using loops and digital audio. Using this program, students can explore ever y element of music Students can also import recorded sounds of themselves performing on real instruments. These programs allow students who don't have notation skills to be able to participate in music and think in sound. According to Ba uer these program s can jumpstart creativity in a child by helping to generate new musical ideas.


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 34 Orman (2002) revealed how little compositional tasks are currently being incorporated in the classroom. The results revealed that teachers spend the least amount of time on tasks that require creative thinking. The two most creative national standards are improvisation and composition. According to Orman, many teachers believe they do not have enough time to effectively teach co mposition in their classroom. However, the study also revealed that almost 50% of class time is spent with the te acher talking at the class. Orman's research leads us to believe if teachers can find a way to effectively distribute their time, then these mo re creative activities, like composition, could be taught successful in the elementary music classroom. Research on music composition and compositional practices h as suggested that there are methods of instruction to help children move through these pract ices with increased skill and knowledge. Strand's (2006) study surveyed the current teaching beliefs and practices related to music composition in Indiana. T hrough this survey, Strand attempted to determine how and why teachers are currently teaching compo sition, and how to define composition as it appeared in teaching practice. The participants completed a survey about demographics, practices, and perspectives related to composition in the classroom. Results from the study revealed that participants do com positional activities, but not frequently. There were a variety of responses on why these teachers currently incorporate composition into their classroom. Teachers incorporate composition because they believe their students learn more, it enriches their student's learning, it is used for assessment, as a fun and creative outlet, and a way to incorporate technology. The participants who do not use composition responded that there were too many other activities to accomplish, not enough time, and a lack of access to technology, they are uncomfortable, and believe it's too chaotic.


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 35 Wilson and Wales (1995) study examined the compositions of children between the ages of seven and nine. They sought out to discover the nature of children's rhythmic and melodic r epresentations of music. The compositions were created using computer software that didn't require any formal education of musical notation. Each participant was tested individually for 3 0 minutes in each subject, and was instructed to complete one composi tional and two listening tasks. Before beginning the compositional tasks, students were given a quick lesson on how to change pitch and rhythm by using certain symbols. The researchers analyzed the method of composition, the way they used the playback mech anism, the use of the eraser tool, and the level of familiarity to manipulate the computer. The compositions that the children created contained non traditional representations of melodic contour, tonality, and rhythms without having additional private mus ic study. Wilson and Wal es' data suggested that children have the ability to represent musical structures with musical experiences gained at home and in the school environment. The research has suggested that music educators have little time to teach compo sitional activities in the elementary music classroom. Miller (2004) conducted a survey to determine whether classroom composition could be implemented in the amount of limited time in any given class period. Miller conducted the study in her own teaching situation where she obs erved her own students. Data were collected in a variety of ways. She videotaped during the compositional process and during student performances. Miller collected copies of student work, as well as self critique pa pers, group critiq ue papers, project critiques, and verbal critiques. Miller discovered throughout her study that it is possible to successfully integrate creative thinking activities, like improvisation and composition, into every grade level. Individual composition activ ities allowed students to work at their own pace while group composition


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 36 activities allowed the students to use their individual strengths collectively. The results also suggest that s tudents were capable of continuing on work on the same composition from week to week. They were able to recall the information, and actually enhanced recall skills. Each grade level was able to accomplish many compositional tasks throughout the study with the limited time constraints. A research study by Stauffer (2002) examined connections between the musical and life e xperiences of sixth grade composers and they music they created. The first part of the study tested a non notational software program for children. As the children used the software to create music, they were observed, recorded, and analyze d After the software testing, the study continued for six more years. During the initial two years of the project, students attended an after school session once a week for 30 minutes. The participants composed using a variety of software programs available in th e computer lab. Stauffer observed what the children did without any adult interference. The results of Stauffer's study indicated that there were links between the sixth graders compositions and their musical an d life experiences, musical background, pop culture, and media outlets. Stauffer's study suggested that be cause there were such abundant connections to media and sociocultural cues, composing with technological tools prevalent in a student's everyday life could be beneficial and more meaningful to their music education. Stauffer (2002) along with Miller (2004) and Wilson and Wales (1995) all had successful experiences with non notational compositions in their classrooms. Technological T ools The number of research studies on creativity in children's music has been growing over the past several ye ars. Mellor's (2008) study showed the effects of a computer based technology on the process of musical composition. "Focal areas of the investigation include the wa ys in


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 37 which participants use technology to create music compositions, the effects of prior formal instrumental music tuition on the strategies used in the composition process, and the extent to which these responses can be called creative" ( Mellor, 2008, p 451 ). Mellor sought to determine ways that technology could be used in the classroom to encourage creative thinking. The technology used in this study was a computer program called Dance eJay Dance eJay was chosen primarily for its appeal to younger chi ldren. The software uses original sound samples in th e style of d ance music that has been professionally edited to be appealing to the participants The participants in this study were between the ages of 13 and 15 in a low socio economic area in England. The program allowed students to perform compositional tasks and then give feedback for reflection. The results of this study showed that every participant practiced creative thinking during their compositional process. No matter the musical background or p rior experiences of formal music education, every particip ant exhibited creative and individual thought. T he participants revise d and edit ed their compositions throughout the process to expand on their ideas as well This is another way in which they demon str a ted creative problem solving S tudents with little musical background were able to create a musical product that they were proud of. Dance eJay is just one of the many programs that allow the student with little musical skill the possibility of seeing themselves as a musician with technology being their instrument. According to Mellor t he program motivated students to do their best, challenged them creatively, and allowed every type of participant to feel successful in their creative product. Crow (2006) discussed the position of technology in relation to musical creativity in the classroom In this study, he focused on how educators need to make sure they are using technology in a way that facilitates learning and creative thinking in educationally valuable ways According to Crow, technology is being used in inauthentic ways, which can lead to a


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 38 variety of problems. Crow referenced Odam (2002) by identifying some of these problems. One of Odam's challenges is that composing takes up t oo much time i n the curriculum, and often leads to s tudent discipline and stress These are similar to Strand's (2006) findings. Another problem that Crow referenced was that there is not a lot of evidence on the skills that students develop from practicing composition and many schools do not have the resources necessary for student composition. According to Crow, i n order to combat these problems, music educators are encouraged to learn about the nature of new music technology. Over the past couple years, musicians, mu sic educators and music students have begun to use some computer based te chnology in their music making. Crow's study focused on the type of technology that draws from a variety of already created musical materials that the composer can use in a variety of different ways. The types of technology referenced include the mp3 file and its associated software tools, DJ remix software, loop based sequencers, and musical accomp animent generators. The mp3 file is a reduction of the file size of a compact disc track that retains a high quality sound. Because these files can be downloaded in a matter of seconds and then stored on a variety of devices, they enable the listener very personalized interactions with their music Airy and Parr (2001) conducted a study in which they investigated student perceptions of the usefulness of writing music using MIDI sequence in their musical education. The study was conducted to investigate how students have viewed and experienced MIDI software T he participants selected f or Airy and Parr's study either had no prior formal music education or didn't have any MIDI experience, facilities, or computers. The general consensus of the participants was that using MIDI sequencing allowed each one of them to explore and create independently to represent their musical voice.' This study showed that there is educational value in using MIDI software, and i t is a powerful tool that allow s all types of students to access


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 39 music. A ccording to Airy and Parr c omposing in MIDI can provide studen ts with their own musical voice and remove the barriers found in a more traditional setting. After discovering what technologies are available it is e ssential to make the connection between the program itself and musical lear ning. Airy and Parr seem to be suggesting that t echnology allows students to make their own musical choices, and encourages musical creativity for every type of music student They a lso seem to be suggesting that i t is important for the music educator to assist, support, and encourage independent creative choices in all of their students to foster a lifelong appreciation of music. Innovative Teaching Practices to Encourage C reativity To foster creativity by using popular music and technology in the elementary music classroom, traditional teaching methods should not be used exclusively It is a common practice for educator s to fall into the practice of simply lecturing to the ir students, rather than allowing their students the freedom to explore and learn on their own or with their peers (Blair 2009) Blair discussed the difference between the two areas of conside ration for these two practices: the mindful eng agement of studen t experiences and the opportunity for students to actually contribute to their own musical experience s. She mentioned that educators must understand the difference between students doing musical activities by participating and joining in, and students act ively engaged in lessons, which require them to think musically. Blair (2009) outlined an example of how students can work together creatively to solve a musical problem. In the scenario, a group of students in a fourth grade general music classroom work ed together to create their own arrangement of a piece of music previously learned in class. The s tudents learned the song through iconic representations of the melody and then took turns singing and playing instruments for call and response sections. Next, Blair instructed students to


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 40 listen to a recorded v ersion of the piece, and create a texture chart on the board as an entire class. The groups explored rearranging the order of the different sections, combining different layers, determining the diff erent parts, deciding when the singers would sing and instruments would play. After determining their fi nal arrangement, the groups made a texture chart to visually represent their very own creative ideas. Rather than the teacher developing the arrangement for the students, and having the students just "do" the activity, the students had authentic musical experien ces. The students created, performed, and made major musical decisions resulting in a composition they could be proud of. The students were active music makers and the teacher acted as a bystander readily available for he lp. This type of teaching allowed s tudents to participate in a manner that Blair calls "informed doing". Blair seems to suggest that i f the activity is designed to be student cente red, each student will be actively engaged with the music, solving musical problems, collaborating with others, and informing their own musical learning According to Brown (2008) music educators might be receptive to incorporating student centered learning into their classroom, but are concerned they might lose control of the learning environment when do ing so. Brown outlined two different model s to help with this predicament. Like Blair's (2009) article, student cent ered learning is described as students being engaged and involved in what they are doing. Student centered learning is considered a pedagogical manifestation of constructivism This theory of how we learn dates back to American educational reformer John De wey, an d the Russian soviet developmental psychologist Vygotsky (Brown, 2008) Constructivism is the theory that stud ents learn more by doing than by reading about something or only being told something. For example, st udents learn more by playing an instr ument rather than by being instructed or reading about how to play an instrument. This relates directly to student centered learning. When teachers plan for student centered instruction,


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 41 everything must revolve around the needs and abilities of the studen ts. According to Brown, t he teachers and students share control of the l earning environment allowing students to experiment, explore, and discover independently. Students are not totally in control of the classroom, but can influence decisions being made in the classroom relating to the learning process. There are many benefits to student centered learni ng. According to Brown b y encouraging students to ex plore, create, and independently think students become self sufficient, creative thinkers who understand the value of the subject matter they are learning. There is also a benefit for encouraging stude nts to teach others. With student centered instruction, students are teaching themselves as well as their peers. When students are taught how to think creatively it can be applied to every aspect of their life. Brown seems to suggest that e lementary music teachers are not always teaching to produce future composers, music educators, or professional musicians. Instead, elementary educator s usually share the common goals of instilling a love of music in their students so that they will continue to pursue musi c in some way for the rest of their lives. Another approach to student centered learning is through the practice of peer tutoring in the elementary music classroom. According to Darrow, Gibbs, and Wedel (2005), peer tutoring occurs when two students work together on an act ivity. Usually in peer learning one student will provide assistance, as well as instruction and feedback to the other student. Darrow, Gibbs, and Wedel performed their own study to examine the effects of peer tutoring on music in the el ementary general music classroom. They also assessed the use of a class wide peer tutoring model. The researchers selected 104 fifth grade students of both genders at two different elementary schools located in the Midwest. The subjects were given a pre tes t and then a posttest on sharp and flat key signatures after tutoring sessions. Both the pretest and posttest data indicated that the class wide peer strategy was effective in the tutoring sessions of flat and sharp


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 42 key signatures. Darrow, et al (2005) discovered that when students work together in such a way, they understand the need to support each other's academic achievement and the importance of gaining specific skills through educational act ivities. Although one student is doing the "teaching" and the other student is "learning," there are benefits for both (Webb, 2015) In order to teach another student, the tutor must be confident in his or her own ability to organize and explain the learning material to another person Darrow, Gibbs, and Wedel d iscovered that peers are more likely to be aware of what other students do not understand. Therefore, the tutor knows exactly how an d what to explain to the tutee. The students also took turns alternating between tutor and tu tee. These tutoring sessions we re str uctured and both partners had very distinct roles. The teacher was responsible for providing the partners with the materials and activities. As the tutor and tutee went about their assig ned tasks, the teacher monitored, provided feedback, and reinfor ced tutoring behaviors while he or she gathered data. D arrow, Gibbs, and Wedel's data also determined that children are in fact capable of teaching each other musical concepts without teacher led instruction. Finally the data showed that students are cap able of learning as they teach concepts to other students. Conclusion : Three Emergent Themes As a result of this review of the literature on creative thinking in music three themes emerged The first theme that e merged from the research revealed that creative thinking motivates students and inc reases student interest in his or her music education. According to Minks' ( 1999 ) study, creative thinking in popular music motivated students to participate actively in the lesson as well as feel a stronger connection to it. Evans' ( 2014 ) study revealed similar results. The student participants responded to a survey in which they were able to discover connections between their music education and their own personal lives when popular


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 43 music was used They also claimed to be more motivated to participate. At the conclusion of Green's ( 2006 ) study, the strongest responses from participants had to do with motivation, enjoyment, and relevance to their own lives. Appendix A: Lesson 3 outlines a lesson pla n in which teachers can motivate students through the use of popular music. This lesson plan was inspired by Isbell and Green's studies in which students are engaging in the act of making music using informal learning practices typically used in correlatio n with popular music activities. Student interest and motivation also emerged when looking at studies on the incorporation of technology in the classroom. According to Beegle's ( 2010 ) study the interviews and reflections showed that students enjoyed the m ental freedom of creating brand new musical ideas in response to the prompts. Niknaf s ( 2013 ) study revealed that teachers use improvisational activities to encourage free and creative thinking, student independence, and enjoyment. Student enjoyment seems to be something that educators and students both strive for in the elementary music classroom Appendix A: Lesson 1 outlines a lesson in which students are improvising using technology. This lesson fosters creati ve thinking and can increase student interest. Lesson 1 was inspired by Beegle's study on student success with responses to improvisatory prompts. According to Miller (2013), a study on compositional activities of students revealed that students felt motivated when allowed to explore and create individually at their own pace. Stauffer (2002) also discovered that student interest increased i n compositional activities when allowed to create links between their musical and life experiences. Appendix A: Lesson 2 outlines a lesson using technology based composition with non notational software. Wilson and Wales (1995) and Stauffer (2002) found th at students were interested and felt successful when composing with non notational software.


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 44 Another theme that emerged from the literature was a revelation that teachers do not feel prepared to teach creativity in their elementary music classroom. This a ppeared in the research on popular music as well as the utilization of technological tools in the classroom. Evan's ( 2014 ) study revealed that teachers are concerned with the repertoire of popular music material. The study also revealed that only 18% of pa rticipants had received any kind of instruction in popular music through collegiate courses. Isbell (2007) came to the same conclusion as well. His study revealed that teachers are not comfortable teaching popular music due to unfamiliarity. Because of thi s common finding, Green (2006) described how teachers could use informal learning practices to develop popular music skills. Future music educators should be offered courses in popular music so they feel comfortable enough to incorporate it in their classr oom. Educators also felt unprepared to encourage improvisation and composition using technological tools in the elementary m usic classroom as well. Niknafs' ( 2013 ) study revealed that teachers who did not incorporate any kind of improvisation in the classr oom were unfamiliar with it, or were worried it would create a chaotic atmosphere. Another concern from Orman's ( 2002 ) study determined that teacher's have difficulty preparing for the amount of time necessary for an improvisatory or compositional activity Miller (2004) also explored time constraints in her study. Lack of technological tools is another way teachers feel unprepared. According to Strand's ( 2006 ) study, teachers do not have access to technology they would use in compositional activities. Due to these limitations and setbacks, music educators are uncomfortable encouraging creative thought through the incorporation of technology. Further studies could focus on how teachers are being prepared to teach popular music and use digital technologies in the elementary classroom. The third and final theme that emerged throughout the review of literature was that of student success. This theme seems to be the most significant of the three. Educators want the best


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 45 for their students and any kind of activi ty that promotes success in the classroom is a beneficial one. When students are motivated and inspired they are more likely to work harder on the assigned task. Usually this produces a result they can be proud of. The use of popular music and technology i n the elementary classroom encourages creative thought and promotes student success and pride. Student centered learning allows the students themselves to take control of their own education. According to Brown ( 2008 ) encouraging students to explore, crea te, and independently think, allows students to become creative thinkers who feel successful about they subject matter they are learning. Creative thinking is an ever evolving topic of inquiry in music education research. The studies explored in this review of literature suggest many benefits to a learners' individual knowledge construction in the areas of student motivation, teacher prepare dness, and student success. Appendix B details my personal reflection on how to take the literature reviewed and apply it in an elementary music classroom to benefit young learners. By conducting more research into these practices, we will shed more light on creative thinking in the elementary music classroom.


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 46 References Allsup, R. E. (2011). Popular music and classical musicians. Music Educators Journal, 97 (3), 30 34. Airy, S. & Parr, J. M. (2001). MIDI, music, and me: Students' perspectives on composing with MIDI. Research in Music Education, 3 (1), 41 49. Bauer, W. I. (2014). Music learning today: Digital pedagogy for creating, performing, and responding to music. New York: NY: Oxford University Press. Beegle, A. C. (2010). A classroom based study of small group planned improvisation with fifth grade children. Journal of Research in Music Education, 58 (3), 220 226. Biamonte, N. (2011). Pop culture pedagogy in the music classroom: Teaching tools from American Idol to YouTube Lanham, MD: S carecrow Press. Blair, D. V. (2009). Stepping aside: Teaching in a student centered music classroom. Music Educators Journal, 95 (3), 42 45. Bowles, C. L. (1998). Music activity preferences of elementary students. Journal of Research in Music Education, 46 (2), 193 207. Brown, J. K. (2008). Student centered instruction: Involving students in their own education. Music Educators Journal, 94 (5), 30 35. Conway, C. (2015). Musicianship focused curriculum and assessment Chicago, IL: GIA Publications. Crow, B. (2006). Musical creativity and the new technology. Music Education Research, 8 (1), 121 130. Darrow, A. A., Gibbs, P. & Wedel, S. (2005). Use of classwide peer tutoring in the general music classroom. Update Applications of Research in Music Education, 15 22.


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 47 Davis, S. (2005). That thing you do: Compositional techniques of a rock band Paper presented at the Desert Skies Symposium, Tucson AZ. Davis, S. G. & Blair, D. V. (2011). Popular music in American teacher education: A gli m pse into a secondary methods course. International Journal of Music Education, 29 (2), 124 140. Evans, R. J. (2014). Using popular music to teach music literacy to 5 th and 6 th grade students in general or K odaly music classes (Master thesis). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertation & Theses Full Text. ( 1553967) Green, L. (2008). Music, i nformal learning and the school: A new classroom pedagogy Burlington, V T : Ashgate Publishing Company. Green, L. (2006). Po pular music education in and for itself, and for "other" music: Current research in the classroom. International Journal of Music Education, 24 (2), 101 118. Hickey, M. (2012). Music outside the lines: Ideas for composing in K 12 music classrooms. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Hickey, M. & Webster, P. (2001). Creative thinking in music. Music Educators Journal, 88 (1), 19 23. Isbell, D. S. (2015). Apprehensive and excited: Music education students' experience vernacular musicianship. Journa l of Music Teacher Education, 12, 69 77. Isbell, D. S. (2007). Popular music and the public school music curriculum. Update Applications of Research in Music Education, 26 (1), 53 63.


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 48 Jackson, C. K. & Bruegmann, E. (2009). Teaching students and teaching each other: The importance of peer learning for teachers. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 1( 4), 85 108. Jaffurs, S. E. (2004). The impact of informal music learning practices in the classroom, or how I learned to teach from a garage band. International Journal of Music Education, 22( 3), 189 200. Kiehn, M. T. (2003). Development of music creativity among elementary school students. Journal of Research in Music Education, 51 (4), 278 288. King, A. (1993). From sage on the stage to guide on the s ide. College Teaching, 41 (1), 30 35. Land, G. A. (1973). Grow or die: The unifying principle of transformation New York, NY: Random House. Lebler, D. (2007). Student as master? Reflection s on a learning innovation in popular music pedagogy. International Journal of Music Education, 25 (3), 205 219. Lebler, D. (2008). Popular music pedagogy: Peer learning in practice. Music Education Research, 10 (2), 193 213. Lebler, D. (2012). Technology and students' musicking: Enhancing the learning experience. Theory into Practice, 51 (3), 204 211. Mantie, R. (2013). A comparison of "popular music pedagogy" discourses. Journal of Research in Music Education, 61 (3), 334 3 52. Miller, B. A. (2004). Designing compositional tasks for elementary music classrooms. Research Studies in Music Education, 22 59 69. Mellor, L. (2008). C reativity, originality, identity: Investigating computer based composition in the secondary school. Music Education Research, 10 (4), 451 472.


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 49 Minks, A. (1999). Growing and grooving to a steady beat: Pop music in fifth graders' social lives. Yearbook for Traditional Music, 31 77 101. Niknafs, N. (2013). The use of improvisation by K 8 general music teachers in Illinois: A mixed methods study (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertation & Theses Full Text (3563804) O'Brien, J. (1982). A plea for pop. Music Educators Journal, 68 (7), 4 4 54. Odam, G. (2002). Teaching composing in secondary schools : The creative dream. British Journal of Music Education 17 (2), 109 127. Orman, E. K (2002). Comparison of the national standards for music education and elementary music specialists' use of class time. Journal of Research in Music Education, 50 (2), 155 163. Robinson, N.G., Bell, C. L. & Pogonowski L. (2011). The creative music strategy: A seven step instructional model. Music Educators Journal, 97 (50), 50 55. Saw yer, R. K. (2012). The science of human innovation: Explaining creativity. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Stauffer, S. L. (2002). Connections between the musical and life experiences of young composers and their compositions. Journal of Research in Music Education, 50 (4), 301 320. Strand, K. (2006). Survey of Indiana music teachers on using composition in the classroom. Journal of Research in Music Education, 54 (2), 154 166. Thompson, C. (2007). What a great idea 2.0. New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Co. Thompson, J. D. (2007). American Idol and the music classroom: A means of critiquing music. Music Educators Journal, 94 (1), 36 40.


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 50 Wallas, G. (1926). The art of thought San Diego: New York, Harcourt, Brace and Company. Webb, R. S. (2015). An exploration of three peer tutoring cases i n the school orchestra program. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 203 63 78. Webster, P. R. (2012). Encouraging imaginative thought in music with students in our C lasses [PDF document] Retrieved from Wiggins, J. (1999). Teacher control and creativity. Music Educators Journal, 85 (5), 30 35. Wilson, D. (2001). Guidelines for coaching student composers. Music Educ ators Journal 88 (1), 28 33. Wilson, S. J. & Wales, R. J. (1995). An exploration of children's musical compositions. Journal of Research in Music Education, 43 (2), 94 110.


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 51 Appendix A Unit on Creative Thinking : Lesson Plans


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 52 Les son 1: Improvisation For this lesson, students are able to learn about and develop improvisation skills using basic techniques as well as incorporating technology. This type of lesson was inspired by Beegle's ( 2010 ) study on the subject of student improvisations response to prompts This lesson plan allows the teacher and students to prompt each other musically with the prompt being the call, and the student following with a response. This lesson also maximizes instruction al time, which Orman (2002) suggested might be a concern with improvisational activities. The teacher uses a PowerPoint and defines the act of improvising for students. After demonstrating and modeling, students practice improvising rhythmic questions and answers with the teacher. After the teacher feels as if the students are comfortable with the technique, the students are then paired off to practice with each other. Each pair goes alternates providing the improvised rhythmic question and answer. The tea cher observes and offers feedback to each pair. Throughout the process, the teacher encourages that students include part of the question in their answer. Once all students are comfortable improvising, the teacher assigns iPads to each person. Students are then allowed to use the website to improvise using virtual instruments.




CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 54 Lesson 2: Composing with GarageBand Students will spend four lessons composing and creating music using GarageBand software. Wilson and Wales' ( 1995 ) study had great success with students completing compositional tasks using non notational software. Stauffer's ( 2002 ) study also had success using non notational software programs that allowed students to create music that made con nections to their own musical and life experiences. These studies inspired me to create a project using GarageBand During the first lesson, students will be introduced to the functions of GarageBand After teacher has demonstrated how to use the program, students are paired off and assigned an iPad. Together they explore using loop sequencing and create a piece of music together. The second part of the lesson allows students to add virtual instruments to their compositions from the first lesson. Lesson thr ee requires that students use audio recording to record themselves singing or playing instruments to add into their composition. Finally, lesson four allows the pairs to mix their compositions into a final product. Throughout the project, students will sha re their compositions for the class, offering and receiving feedback, and writing reflections on each part of the process.






CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 5 7 Lesson 3: Popular Music This lesson presents students with the opportunity to learn about harmony, improvisation, and arranging with popular music. Isbell (2007) discussed using informal music practices in the incorporation of popular music. Green (2006) also outlines a study in which the teacher acts as more of a facilitator instead of a lecturer. These two studies inspired me to design a lesson where students learned and created informally using popular music. Students would be able to work together with little teacher guidance to create a vocal harmony line to a popular song. After the teacher presents a lesson on harmony, students will have the opportunity to use iPods and YouTube to share their favorite band that uses harmony with the class. The teacher then plays "Story of My Life" by One Direction for the class. The teacher has already taught a harmony to the chorus in a previous class. The students are split into groups, and are in structed to create their own harmonies to assigned verses of the song. The students should record their final harmonies along with the melody on their iPods, and present their final product to the class. If the students are very advanced, they may also not ate their harmony.






CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 60 Personal Reflection When reviewing the literature for this project, I noticed that I fell into many of the common traps other music educators have fallen into in the past. I began to realize that I was not encouraging a lot of creative thought in any of my elementary music cl asses. Not only was I not encouraging creative thought, but also I felt inadequately prepared to teach any kind of creative thinking activities in my classroom. The research has been enlightening and I am now aware of how I can begin to implement creative thinking so that my students can feel motivated and successful in their music education. Before one can begin to encourage creative thought, there is much preparation that has to be done on the teacher's part. First of all, a safe space must be created. Because teachers have often been the first to shut down a student's creativity, it is so important that a positive environment be created in the elementary music classroom. Students must feel safe and secur e so that they can express themselves without fear of ridicule or embarrassment. This takes cooperation from everyone in the classroom. I've realized that not only do I have to work to create the positive environment, but my students must help maintain the positive environment as well. I have to let go of the reigns and relax on all of the rules I have previously enforced. This is not to say that I have to let go of all control, but creative thinking and creative activities will allow for more student freedom. T his will change the flow of my clas s, and I can find new ways to manage my classroom without constantly enforcing rules. As the flow of the class changes, the instruction will become more student centered, which is ideal for creative thought pertaining to popular music and the incorporation of technology. After the preparation stage, I will be ready to begin encouraging creative thought in the classroom. By examining the research, I discovered there are many ways for students to


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 61 creatively think through the use of popular music. This can be as basic as using YouTube to showcase famous musicians or DanceDanceRevolution to allow students to move to music. Utilizing popular music in the classroom also allows for student centered in struction as well. Many of the research studies were done with students in small groups learning informally. I realized that this could be done with my older elementary music students, perhaps fourth and fifth graders. The challenge would be finding popula r music appropriate for young students. However, there are many popular songs with powerful messages for young people that have authentic value in the music classroom. Students can also work together in small groups to teach each other their favorite songs create arrangements of popular songs using classroom instruments, and listen and analyze popular songs. Students could also work together to write a song using the informal learning process. These types of activities allow students to connect to the musi c in meaningful ways, allows them to take ownership, and motivates them in an activity they are sure to enjoy. Creative thinking can also be encouraged in a variety of ways through the use of technology. I teach in a low income school where I am lucky to be equipped with a vast amount of technological tools. However, like the other teachers mentioned in a few of the studies, I have felt unprepared and insecure on actually implementing the tools. The research revealed so many manageable ways for me to use technology. Many of these tools can also be connected to the use of popular music as well. For example, students can use YouTube iTunes Pandora etc. to listen to a variety of different styles of popular music. They might use those tools for a project, o r to share with the class, or to pick a song to learn on their own without help from the teacher. Crow (2006) mentioned student created playlists. By allowing students to create playlists, or even


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 62 podcasts showcasing their favorite songs, the teacher is en couraging creative thought and supporting what is important to each individual. Technology can be used to improvise and compose. My s tudents can improvise using electronic instruments to explore new sounds. Many electronic instruments and tablets allow y oung improvisers to engage in improvisational activities without having a substantial musical background. There are also ways where teachers can use recorded accompaniment tracks for students to improvise over. My s tudents can also use programs like Gara geBand to compose individually. Programs like GarageBand allows for a student to create a piece of music that might sound similar to something they would hear on the radio. This is an especially useful program for a younger student with limited musical kno wledge. Rather than using notational software, it allows the user to create and feel successful and proud of their work. There are other types of MIDI based programs, which allow younger students to think in sound rather than using notational software. A fter researching the ways technology should be used to encourage creative thinking, I have found that one of the best ways to accomplish this is on the iPad. My school has several class sets of iPads that teachers can check out to use in their classroom. T here are so many applications that are free or inexpensive that has been designed for creative thinking in music. Many of these apps combine improvisational and compositional skills. For example, Loopesque Lite contains is a sequencing program that allows students to create beats and patterns and arrange music. Groovemaker allows students to remix loops to create music that sounds like electronic or dance music. JamPad Plus allows students to play on a virtual keyboard. Students can also record their improv isations or compositions. Another great app is called Cube Jam This app allows students to import their own songs from a music library, and then they can play


CREATIVE THINKING IN THE ELEMENTARY MUSIC CLASSROOM 63 along, improvise, or record a solo over it. They also have the option to change the tempo and pi tch. Two apps that can be used for very young children, like kindergarten or first grade, are Loopesque Kids and Singing Fingers Both of these apps allow children to draw on the iPad screen, or improvise with cute graphics. There are so many ways music educators can encourage creative thought in their classroom. Traditional teaching methods are still of significant value, but by incorporating a few of these non traditional methods into the classroom, teachers might just see drastic results in their stud ents. By providing ways where students can connect to the music they are learning, they also might just be more motivated and excited to participate on a daily basis. But most importantly, by allowing students to study relevant topics in relevant ways wher e they aren't just being fed the information, we might just begin to see students creatively think not only in the music classroom, but also in all aspects of their life.

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