Is Commonplace Creativity a Lost Art?

Reflections on creative risk taking

Posted Sep 27, 2013

"...every human being has a social and biological guarantee of musicianship and evidence (suggests) that everybody, regardless of social, educational, psychological or medical aspects can communicate through music." (Hallam & MacDonald, 2009, pg. 472)

I dare you not to smile as you watch this 3:44 minute video clip (click here if you are having trouble viewing the video):

My previous blog post was also inspired by a video, but in a more analytic way. This one is different. This time I simply want to list why I love and appreciate this video as a music therapist, as a mother, as a musician, and as a human being.

  1. The conductors were allowed to play and be creative. There was no right or wrong way to create music.
  2. People smiled and laughed. The musicians, the conductors, and the audience members. Regardless of previous experience and training, this was a social bonding experience.
  3. The conductors were able to express their own personality and style in their conducting technique. (I also can't help but wonder how many have always wanted to "tap-tap-tap" on the stand before raising the baton . . . )
  4. This experience engaged younger and older members in the crowd.
  5. It provided a safe space for individuals to take a risk. They were supported by the musicians and the crowd.
  6. The musicians responded to the conductors and reflected their personalities and conducting styles.
  7. The musicians themselves were game to take a risk and have a laugh (note minute 1:24).

This video also makes me wonder if this is becoming a lost art. By "this" I mean those everyday opportunities to play, to create something aesthetic, to take creative risks.

According to articles and books I've read, we are consuming more music then ever before thanks in large part to the access offered by smartphones, iPods, mp3 players, and the Internet (Sloboda, 2010). But the lost art I am referring to isn't simply consuming an aesthetic art, it is being actively involved in its creation. No right or wrong, no perfectionism, no expectation that you'll be the next Rachmaninoff, Monet, Bruce Springstein, or Shel Silverstein.

Just creativity for the personal joy it brings, the social bonds it creates, the emotional happiness it fosters, and the imaginative intelligence it stimulates.

What do you think?


Hallam, S. & MacDonald, R. (2009). The effects of music in community and educational settings. In S. Hallam, I. Cross, and M. Thaut (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology (p. 471-480). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sloboda, J. A. (2010). Music in everyday life: The role of emotions. In P. N. Juslin and J. A. Sloboda (Eds.), Handbook of Music and Emotion: Theory, Research, Applications (p. 493-514).

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