Too Early for Creativity?

I sit preparing for a piano lesson, to make it fun, and I’m trying to think on what to teach to the student for the lesson. I get bored very easily with the two “keep practicing/great job” outcomes that can emerge, and feel a teacher should offer more than that. I feel that one learns best when they are daring, and doing, for that is how I have learned so much in my music, because I tried things without fear.  But then part of myself said, “My student is still in the early books, still gathering an understanding of reading the sheet music, and building in confidence that skill,” and I asked something to myself I never thought I'd ask. Not because I had begun to doubt what I believed in for so long, in terms of education, but as a mere acknowledgement of the issue. Because I’ve already hinted at the concepts, and planted the seeds, but I guess I’ll keep planting them. The question is, “Can it ever be too early to allow for creativity?” Of course, I strongly think the answer is No. At least I think that’s the answer. Perhaps kids banging on the piano doesn’t fester an Aha moment, but in the least, it gets them more comfortable, confident, and fearless when around it.
Do we not learn through mistakes? Even if it could develop bad habits, or in us finding wrong ways of doing things, things that sound good, and things that sound bad, is the fear of going wrong worth the starvation of the creativity? Perhaps it’s because I understand music, but I’ve had more moments of where I really remembered how to do things on my pedal steel from messing around, instead of buying books to play songs. For instance, I discovered on the pedal steel through finding my own songs and playing whatever, that you can push the fifth note of the chord up (chord is every other letter: CEG, and the G gets pushed up to A) and you can use that position, even though it rests on a C area, to play in A minor (every other note starting on A: ACE). Or you could plant the bar on A and just play in the minor. The songs don’t tell why. Creativity asks why. But in all seriousness, should the first thing you do at a new instrument, or new job, be to mess around with it and get confused first? Obviously, leadership is good and is needed. But saying, this is too early to be creative, is completely terrible, right? I’m not talking about total freedom, but exercising your mind with asking questions, or taking chances. Is it ever needed to lead without explanation? To just say, go with me for a minute, accept it’s this way for a second. Maybe. But what if that disallows creativity to challenge it early on? Is it still okay then? Again, I believe to always have creativity, never go with a system without challenging it, so, in doing so, you can understand it. But now for the question I’ll have to figure out on my own: What can I assign, or come up with, where creativity is used, that is on a level my student is ready for? Is there such a thing? Or is it all just fun work, that works as seed planting future concepts?

Philip Wesley Yates gives piano lessons, plays gigs, writes, and records music. Send e-mail to inquire of his piano lesson services, which can be set up to do online too.

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