Author: Stevens, Wendy
Date published: February 1, 2012
Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity, by Scott Watson. Oxford University Press, Inc., 2011. www.us.oup.com; 340 pp., $35
Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity is a great resource for creative musical projects. Although this book is intended to be used by the classroom music teacher, there are many principles taught that are direcdy applicable to private piano teachers. This book is divided into two sections. The first section contains interesting information on creativity and eight chapters on principles for unlocking musical creativity. The second section contains lesson plans for specific creative music projects. Each of the projects support the MENC National Standards for Musical Education.
The author proposes that even though very few of our students will go into music as a professional, there is great value to engaging their creativity. Just as children are taught to create their own prose in language arts classes, they should also be taught to create their own music in music classes. Because children are surrounded and familiar with technology in their day to day lives, using technology in their creative process will be fun and familiar to them.
The book is easy to read with wide margins making it easy to take notes and make adaptations to suggested projects. There is also a companion website with audio samples of many projects in the book, some of which are student creations and some of which are instructional video from which students and teachers could benefit. A username and password are provided in each book to access these very useful files.
In the first section of this book, Scott Watson inspired me to be even more creative in my teaching and to design more creative projects in my studio. The projects themselves were definitely geared toward the music classroom, so school music teachers will find the book an excellent resource for creative project ideas. Some of the projects might take multiple private lessons to complete, but even those best used in the music classroom could be adapted to a group class setting for the private teacher. While there were some projects I won't be doing in full, there were many that I could use in full or in part with my own students. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first section of the book and found myself frequently mulling over its contents. Any teacher wanting to incorporate more creative projects in their studio would benefit from this book. - Reviewed by Wendy Stevens, NCTM, Wichita, Kansas
-Reviewed by Wendy Stevens, NCTM, Wichita, Kansas