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The curse of creativity: Applied music research in CIRCLE

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Please contact Pam Burnard if planning to attend pab61@cam.ac.uk

In spite of the second ‘C’ in CIRCLE , and in spite of the massive international currency of ‘creativity’ in education, psychology, and other fields including business and management, I argue that it has become a conceptual burden which has outlived its usefulness. So many different definitions and theories of creativity abound that Liam Hudson’s (1996) view that ‘‘creative’ does duty as a word of general approbation – meaning, approximately, ‘good’’ – is still true over 40 years later. We need more precise distinctions between the internal mental processes and the behavioural manifestations of ‘creativity’; between these internal processes and the social–environmental influences involved; and between creative production and creative perception. I will also provide a brief outline of the music research in CIRCLE , and describe two recent studies – of the role of everyday musical activities in the acquisition of musical skill, and of teachers’ and children’s perceptions of the purpose of ‘creative’ musical activities.

David Hargreaves is Professor of Education and Froebel Research Fellow at Roehampton University, and Visiting Professor at the Inter-University Institute of Macau, and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, where he was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2004. He has been Editor of Psychology of Music, Chair of the Research Commission of the International Society for Music Education (ISME), and is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, His books, in psychology, education, the arts, and music have been translated into 15 languages. He has appeared on BBC TV and radio as a jazz pianist and composer, and is organist at his local village church, but really ought to do more jazz playing than he currently has time for. He supports his home League 2 team, Accrington Stanley.

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