Understanding the Stakes

As a composer who has made his primary living in the business world over the past twelve years, I have seen firsthand the importance of ideas and creative thinking in the workplace. Among other things, creative employees help a company create new products, solve problems, design solutions, simplify processes, attract and retain top talent, market  services, and operate more efficiently.

As the economy has tightened, I have noticed an even greater need for  innovative thinking as companies try to deliver the same quality products and services more cheaply.  The stakes are high – companies are forced to either save costs and create new revenue streams or layoff staff.

Sadly, there is a shortage of creative thinking in the workplace at the time when we need it most.  

For musicians, creative thinking comes naturally. Composers essentially create a new musical product out of nothing and solve formal problems along the way. Performers breathe humanity into notes merely printed on a page through creative decision-making,  asking themselves which notes to elongate, which to emphasize, where to pause and for how long, the exact tempo to choose, how to make a phrase fit into a larger musical structure, what shadings of color to use, etc. The lessons learned through music, the stretching of the creative mind composers and performers receive through music study apply easily to all other fields of human endeavor.

To understand the power of creative thinking through out all facets of life, ask yourself the following questions. 

  • Do we need creativity in the sciences to theorize cures for cancer and make other medicinal advancements?  
  • Do we need innovations in technology, so that we can use energy more efficiently?  
  • Are we better parents, when we invent games to play with our children during a long car ride or during an interminable wait at the doctor’s office?  
  • Do we need to be innovative to stretch our finances in providing for our families’ needs?

If you’re like me, you answered yes to each of these questions.  As individuals and collectively as a society, we are more successful when we apply creativity to solve life’s problems. Now, more than ever, we need students to experience the mind broadening power of studies in the arts, to apply new concepts and methods of thinking to all aspects of problem solving in their adult lives.  

So to those entrusted with the artistic education of our youth, I say this - keep inspiring our children through music; keep challenging them to attain new heights; be open to their own performing instincts and interpretations; encourage their natural curiosities about the different sounds an instrument can create; and nourish their fragile desire to compose their own music.  

The stakes to their lives and ours are too high to do otherwis


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