The Magic Tree of Music: Exploring the Potential of World Music Workshops as a Catalyst for Creativity in Children

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Schippers, Huib

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Barton, Georgina

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It is now widely acknowledged that the diversity of sounds, rhythms, styles, techniques, and musical structures that exists amongst the world’s musical traditions provides an opportunity for children to learn, experience, and develop a greater breadth of musical knowledge (Swanwick, 1988). For this “polymusicality” to develop, Anderson and Campbell (2011, p. 3) highlight the importance of early exposure to a large array of music practices. What has been explored less is how exposure to world music presents the opportunity for children to enhance their musical creativity as they expand musical understanding and abilities. This can take many forms, including improvisation that many of the world’s musical traditions feature as an important characteristic, providing a forum for imagination, experimentation, and association of new and often quite disparate musical ideas. All these aspects may contribute to enhance children’s musical and general creativity. This is highly relevant in classrooms now that the development of creative thinking as a skill has recently gained a renewed focus in education (Kim, 2011; Sharp & Metais, 2000), as the benefits of creative thinking are recognised. However, there are only a few studies that investigate the effect music learning has on general creativity (Hallam, 2010, p. 278), and few studies that consider the success and outcomes from world music programs (Abril, 2006; Cain, 2011; Szego, 2002). This study aims to contribute to greater understanding of stimulating creativity in children, using musical diversity as a tool.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Queensland Conservatorium

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The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.

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Musical traditions


Musical structures

World music

Music in education

Music in creativity

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