One of the most exciting examples of the intersection between creativity and analysis is the “VoiceGrooveSong” project at the University of Chicago.
Steven Rings, associate professor in the Richard and Mary Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry developed the course to understand song structure in composition.
While this may seem like a reasonably straightforward endeavor, it is the process by which Rings and the “VoiceGrooveSong” students embark on this journey which is inspiring.
For them, it is a journey.
Ring has invited a variety of musicians, from Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, to Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche. With Kotche, also an acclaimed avant garde percussionist and composer, the class took on an interesting endeavor.
Kotche played his drum kit, while students improvised with a variety of digital clips serving as the vocals. So, students were able to delve into the details of the composition process to allow the rhythmic and melodic structure of the words to serve as a catalyst for percussion experimentations and understanding the intricacies of composition.
Professor Steven Rings describes the intersection of analysis and creativity in the class, “In the class we don’t know where we’re going to end up,” Rings said. “Everyone is excited to just go along for the ride.”
I can’t imagine a better inspiration to challenge us to continually learn, grow, and develop our curiosity as educators and people. It also helps helps students understand that while creativity of course requires a mysterious element of inspiration, there are certain structures and processes that can facilitate this process-there are concrete steps a creator can take to manifest creativity.
For the excellent source article, written by Andrew Baud, which includes a brief video sample, please click here.
Questions for Discussion
- According to the article, what is the focus of the University of Chicago, Gray Center?
- Why was Glenn Kotche chosen to participate in this project?
- What does Steven Rings hope to accomplish in this class?
- What were the details of how Kotche and the students “collaborated”? What was their process of creation?
- Starting with the same set of lyrics, the students developed widely varying musical compositions- what does this say about the creative composition process?
- How could you use this process in your own classroom to help create sparks at the intersection of creativity and inquiry?