Example #85 Music and Creativity

What if music made children think about where creativity came from?

Joanne’s infant class loved music lessons and Joanne wanted them to appreciate their own ability to create and think about where it comes from. As Joanne teaches in a church school, she talked about creativity being a gift from God.

"I began by changing the visual impact of the room. I put up lots of patterns made from coloured dots of different sizes. I made sure everything looked exciting.

"I gave the children coloured card counters in groups as well as an assortment of musical instruments. First, their counters were all mixed up, then I asked them to sort them out and make a pattern.

"We went on to make random sounds with the instruments, and likened it to the mixed up counters. I recorded their sounds. We assigned colours to different instruments and created a colour/sound pattern and recorded it with our counters.

"We added different size counters, small ones for quiet sounds, big ones for loud sounds and recorded our pattern. We listened to the recordings and heard how we had created a pattern of sounds and we gave ourselves a clap. I talked to the children about our ability to be creative and asked where they thought that ability came from. I shared the Christian belief that it comes from God, the creator who made bird song and the lion's roar."

What’s going on here?

Joanne saw her music lesson as a chance for her class not only to be aware of and delight in their ability to be creative but to think about where that ability came from, connecting with faith and big questions.

She engaged her pupils in exploring pattern and creativity through various media (colour, dots) and in making connections, asking big questions about life, faith and values.

Joanne reshaped her practice by using the classroom environment (displays, use of color) as well as objects and sounds to create a particular atmosphere (exploration, creativity), guiding student interaction (group exploration), planning a sequence that would provoke insights, planning for student reflection (playing their sounds back to them), and making explicit connections to faith.

How do I do this myself?

What does this have to do with faith, hope and love?

Christian faith includes the belief that God made people in a particular way. The book of Genesis describes God as the creator who made a beautiful and complex world out of chaos. Genesis goes on to say that God made people a little like God in some way. This is called being ‘made in the image of God’. Our creative ability may be connected with our nature as images of God.

What difference does it make?

By drawing the children's attention to their creativity through the way she designed the lesson, Joanne created a natural context for asking where this ability comes from. There are lots of creative lessons, but often we don't stop to ask about their source.

Where could we go from here?

Scholars have debated what the 'image of God' means for many years. Some have suggested creativity as one aspect of it. Some have pointed to reasoning, our ability to choose between right and wrong, our capacity for love and forming complex relationships, and our ability to self-reflect. Others would see imaging God as a task or responsibility in which all of these human abilities get used to carry out God's calling. Various aspects of what it means to be human could be explored in different parts of the curriculum in connection with our relationship to God.

Digging deeper

In Genesis we see God bringing creative order out of chaos and creating a world of immense variety (Genesis 1:1). Human beings are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Scholars differ in how they understand what being made in the image of God means; it could be our creativity, reasoning, our role in bringing order in the world, our ability to make moral decisions and our social relationships, or the tasks to which God calls us. God is a creator, and in a more limited sense we too can use our creative abilities to bring beauty and order out of chaos.
 
The widest thing in the universe is not space; it is the potential capacity of the human heart. Being made in the image of God, it is capable of almost unlimited extension in all directions.  And one of the world’s worst tragedies is that we allow our hearts to shrink until there is room in them for little beside ourselves.
From Narrow Mansions by A. W. Tozer
Being made in the image of God is a very big concept. A person as a whole is made in the image of God, not just one bit of them. Being made in God’s image is about reflecting a little of God to the world.

Explore similar examples:

What if a poem about ducks connected with God’s creativity?
What if poetry were delighting in sounds?
What if music helped children to show respect?
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1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was barren, with no form of life; it was under a roaring ocean covered with darkness. But the Spirit of God was moving over the water. 3God said, I command light to shine! And light started shining. 4God looked at the light and saw that it was good. He separated light from darkness 5and named the light Day and the darkness Night. Evening came and then morningthat was the first day. 6God said, I command a dome to separate the water above it from the water below it. 7And that's what happened. God made the dome 8and named it Sky. Evening came and then morningthat was the second day. 9God said, I command the water under the sky to come together in one place, so there will be dry ground. And that's what happened. 10God named the dry ground Land, and he named the water Sea. God looked at what he had done and saw that it was good. 11God said, I command the earth to produce all kinds of plants, including fruit trees and grain. And that's what happened. 12The earth produced all kinds of vegetation. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 13Evening came and then morningthat was the third day. 14God said, I command lights to appear in the sky and to separate day from night and to show the time for seasons, special days, and years. 15I command them to shine on the earth. And that's what happened. 16God made two powerful lights, the brighter one to rule the day and the other to rule the night. He also made the stars. 17Then God put these lights in the sky to shine on the earth, 18to rule day and night, and to separate light from darkness. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 19Evening came and then morningthat was the fourth day. 20God said, I command the sea to be full of living creatures, and I command birds to fly above the earth. 21So God made the giant sea monsters and all the living creatures that swim in the sea. He also made every kind of bird. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 22Then he gave the living creatures his blessinghe told the sea creatures to live everywhere in the sea and the birds to live everywhere on earth. 23Evening came and then morningthat was the fifth day. 24God said, I command the earth to give life to all kinds of tame animals, wild animals, and reptiles. And that's what happened. 25God made every one of them. Then he looked at what he had done, and it was good. 26God said, Now we will make humans, and they will be like us. We will let them rule the fish, the birds, and all other living creatures. 27So God created humans to be like himself; he made men and women. 28God gave them his blessing and said: Have a lot of children! Fill the earth with people and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and every animal on the earth. 29I have provided all kinds of fruit and grain for you to eat. 30And I have given the green plants as food for everything else that breathes. These will be food for animals, both wild and tame, and for birds. 31God looked at what he had done. All of it was very good! Evening came and then morningthat was the sixth day.
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was barren, with no form of life; it was under a roaring ocean covered with darkness. But the Spirit of God was moving over the water. 3God said, I command light to shine! And light started shining. 4God looked at the light and saw that it was good. He separated light from darkness 5and named the light Day and the darkness Night. Evening came and then morningthat was the first day. 6God said, I command a dome to separate the water above it from the water below it. 7And that's what happened. God made the dome 8and named it Sky. Evening came and then morningthat was the second day. 9God said, I command the water under the sky to come together in one place, so there will be dry ground. And that's what happened. 10God named the dry ground Land, and he named the water Sea. God looked at what he had done and saw that it was good. 11God said, I command the earth to produce all kinds of plants, including fruit trees and grain. And that's what happened. 12The earth produced all kinds of vegetation. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 13Evening came and then morningthat was the third day. 14God said, I command lights to appear in the sky and to separate day from night and to show the time for seasons, special days, and years. 15I command them to shine on the earth. And that's what happened. 16God made two powerful lights, the brighter one to rule the day and the other to rule the night. He also made the stars. 17Then God put these lights in the sky to shine on the earth, 18to rule day and night, and to separate light from darkness. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 19Evening came and then morningthat was the fourth day. 20God said, I command the sea to be full of living creatures, and I command birds to fly above the earth. 21So God made the giant sea monsters and all the living creatures that swim in the sea. He also made every kind of bird. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 22Then he gave the living creatures his blessinghe told the sea creatures to live everywhere in the sea and the birds to live everywhere on earth. 23Evening came and then morningthat was the fifth day. 24God said, I command the earth to give life to all kinds of tame animals, wild animals, and reptiles. And that's what happened. 25God made every one of them. Then he looked at what he had done, and it was good. 26God said, Now we will make humans, and they will be like us. We will let them rule the fish, the birds, and all other living creatures. 27So God created humans to be like himself; he made men and women. 28God gave them his blessing and said: Have a lot of children! Fill the earth with people and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and every animal on the earth. 29I have provided all kinds of fruit and grain for you to eat. 30And I have given the green plants as food for everything else that breathes. These will be food for animals, both wild and tame, and for birds. 31God looked at what he had done. All of it was very good! Evening came and then morningthat was the sixth day.