My name is Brett Taylor. I love musical creativity. I strive to foster musicality in my students by allowing them to make creative musical decisions. A few years ago, I created what I call a Creativity Co-Curriculum: a three year, tiered, multi-faceted creativity curriculum to be woven into a traditional choral performing ensemble. You'll find an outline of the 60 or so lesson plans below, as well as the lesson plans themselves. Some of these I have abandoned over the years, almost all I have modified and continue to modify as I grow and develop as a teacher of creativity. Feel free to use these freely. I'd love to hear what is working and what is not. Happy creating!
Below are a few of my favorite creativity exercises that I do periodically with my students.
Long Tones Improv - "We're going to create a seamless musical tapestry. The instructions are simple: choose a note and hold it out as long as you can. When you run out of air, listen for a bit, choose a new note and try again. Listen to the ensemble and make sure your note adds to the beauty of the tapestry rather than intentionally sabotaging." My advanced women's chorus kept it going for about 8 minutes without any intervention (I stood in the back of the room): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YmAIxO4mfQY0gnKJI4kFWZY7RUeLi8fA/view?usp=sharing
Welcome Back Improv - It was the first day of school, and I wanted to start with music rather than talking. I got the class singing a simple repetitive ostinato in harmony, modeled a terrible improvised solo, then left the mic on the piano. I gave no other instructions. Here's what happened: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KbEhyteHuu62PfdQeW4KJ6jc9TD0L6wQ/view?usp=sharing
Mini Valentunes - My Chamber Choir delivers singing Valentunes each February as a fundraiser. In order to prep them, this year I decided to do a few "mini" valentune sessions. The instructions were simple: choose a well known love song and prepare a 60-90 second performance to deliver to one lucky individual. I gave them 8 minutes to prepare. Students arranged harmony, designated soloists, and sometimes even created quick choreography. Here is an example: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iAHmC5s3DrFTx5Kd8MlteDFeMmIUSZKs/view?usp=sharing
Group Composition - I ask individual students to contribute musical ideas, sounds, or structural suggestions. I take notes on an iPad connected to the projector so that the "score" is visible throughout the entire process. I act as a facilitator; the students make all of the musical decisions. Here is the final "performance" of one of these compositions. The entire exercise takes approximately 15 minutes from start to finish. This particular video recording was from a Friday-inspired composition: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eXkKg0oWiZKYn0iTXKH_zrXnvM4IAIy9/view?usp=sharing
Utah Music Educators' Association Conference Feb. 2019