Impairment on Creativity
August 20, 2012 at 9:22 PMRecently, a poll was posted asking us whether we believed 'rigorous classical training' would impair an instrumentalist's creativity.
Over 50% of voters said that hardcore training wouldn't restrict creativity. I was one of those people.
I'm not sure whether the 'creativity' referred to the violinist's ability to take a piece and play it soulfully, putting as much as themselves into it without being a 'sheet music robot', or whether it pertained to their actual ability to compose their own music.
An adequate metaphor would be to take a seamstress. Many seamstresses could design original, creative clothes, but not only could a professional - or more highly trained - seamstress also design this, they could sew it. They know what they can and can't do, how to make their design look as beautiful as possible, where to stitch and where to add a buttom or lace.
Playing an instrument is the same - the result, rather , is the same, as are the means of getting there. A seasoned musician knows how to phrase a piece to maximise the beauty, or sadness. They know how to articulate it, which bowings will complement the unique notes and passages, where they need to crescendo and trill.
A two friends of mine play instruments - one the guitar, one the clarinet. My guitarist friend started when she was 11 when her mum wanted her to pick up an instrument before starting high school. She herself has said that she has no interest in pursuing the guitar after high school, despite owning several and being an intermediate player.
The clarinetist started playing around the same time. The difference is that he is highly dedicated; if he could snatch an extra hour here or there - maybe turning down his friends, or banning himself from the distractions of modern technology - he would. And you can tell the difference.
When she plays, you can tell she's talented, but she pretty much plays 'by the book' and doesn't seem too into it. When he plays, he deviates a little and adds his own flair; firstly because he's more passionate, but also because his many extra hours of practice have built up a technique and knowledge that allows him to confidently stray from the written path.
Most people tell you to feel the music, to make it your own. How? Adding a few trills, using a slower tempo and more vibrato - adding different bowings, double-stops, dynamics. Do they really make music that different?
Decide yourself. Listen to a beginner - me included, but we all start somewhere - playing a Bach sonata, or a Mozart concerto.
Then listen to a professional.
Seems the rigorous hours paid off, huh? :)
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