Guri’s Workshop

Music, technology and creativity

Looking at several schools of the Programa Guri we can find students with excellent performance in musical instruments or singing courses but who have little or no experience in creative improvisation activities, as well as little (or none) contact with contemporary music. With these students in mind, I propose (along with Guri’s pedagogical team) one (1) workshop to practice free improvisation using technological support, where the students could experience collective creative activities in addition to making a first contact with the possibilities of sonic synthesis and manipulation using computers.

October 22, 2014 the workshop entitled Música, Tecnologia e Criatividade (Music, Technology and Creativity) occurred for Programa Guri students in Polo Penha (São Paulo/SP). This activity was conducted by myself with the aid of professor Bruno Hernandes and lasted 2 hours. The workshop included a small presentation about creative processes and organization in improvisation, along with a brief history about music and technology in XX and XXI centuries.

In this meeting the students improvised in their own musical instruments while the sounds was modified in real time using the software Pure Data.

There is much discussions today about creative development and the role of music in human development, and for the great majority of music education thinkers (including Swanwick, Dalcroze, Gainza, Willems and Kodály, among others), improvisation is a fundamental part of teaching music. In a collective teaching environment, improvisation activities are usually taken as secondary, witch can cause delay in the learning process or even preventing student to create a relationship of intimacy with the instrument.

Several students reported that before the workshop they viewed improvisation as something unattainable, very difficult or intended only for great masters. All educators cited above defend that improvisation should be stimulated early in music students and, in addition to creative growth, enhances the student’s intimacy with the instrument (and his own body), stimulates critical listening, encourages pro-activity and, in the case of collective improvisations, encourages teamwork.

Digital inclusion is also a trending topic in Brazil and the goal of several governmental programs. Using the computer and other technologies in musical creation makes sense to help this inclusion, adding a artistic result to the exploration of these devices. With the use of the computer in musical performance we expand the creative possibilities, generating sound material that could not be obtained otherwise.

This workshop feedback was extremely positive as we can observe in the evaluation of the activity, carried out as a questionnaire answered by the students and compiled in this document.