Title page for ETD etd-10252009-141849

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Menard, Elizabeth
Author's Email Address emenard@bgsu.edu
URN etd-10252009-141849
Title An Investigation of Creative Potential in High School Musicians: Recognizing, Promoting, and Assessing Creative Ability through Music Composition
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Music
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Cassidy, Jane W. Committee Chair
Byo, James L. Committee Member
Jolly, Jennifer L. Committee Member
Orman, Evelyn Committee Member
Waldrop, Grover L. Dean's Representative
  • music
  • creativity development
  • composition attitude
  • mixed method
Date of Defense 2009-10-13
Availability unrestricted
Student attitudes and teacher perceptions regarding creativity, composition, and its assessment possibilities were investigated using mixed-method techniques in two differing high school music programs. A Talented Music Program, providing accelerated instruction to gifted musicians (with composition instruction) and a typical performance based band program (composition never taught) were examined. Students participated in a six-week composition program. Final compositions were evaluated by differing judging groups: teachers, students, and expert composers. Data were collected through interviews, observations, attitude surveys, student and teacher journals, and composition assessment.

Analysis of teacher perceptions revealed themes indentifying challenges to creativity development in high school classrooms: tradition of performance culture, time required, large class setting, and teacher preparation. Following composition instruction, the band director felt that, with solid preparation and engaging activities, composition instruction was meaningful. He discovered high levels of student interest, in depth musical learning, and believed the creative effort of his students was exceptional. The talented music teacher addressed the themes in different ways. Small class setting was a benefit, but providing enough time for the thought intensive activity of composition was a challenge. Both teachers expressed surprise that students who were not exceptional performers composed some of the most creative compositions and the sense of student accomplishment was dramatic.

Student attitude, assessed through interviews, journals, and creativity attitude surveys, indicated that in the band program, positive attitude towards composition increased significantly from pre to post instruction, while the talented music students, with previous composition experience, showed no change in attitude. Students also believed that there was not enough time spent on composition activities and that creativity development was important because it promoted individuality and helped to develop greater appreciation for musical details in the music they performed.

Composition assessment, conducted using Amabile’s consensual assessment technique, revealed that composers were the least reliable judges of creativity, craftsmanship, and aesthetic appeal in student compositions. The student groups were moderately reliable in assessment of their own compositions and teachers were highly reliable at judging all three dimensions. Level of student composition experience correlated with craftsmanship and aesthetic appeal, but not with creativity.

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