Creative Ability Development

The theory and method

Alice Kanack has been experimenting with improvisation for the past thirty years with students age two and up. In her work, students studying the Suzuki approach and Creative Ability Development together demonstrated a much more highly developed musicality than their peers who only studied a Suzuki approach.

Recently, the evidence garnered in the research by Charles Limb at Johns Hopkins demonstrated a scientific defense for these observations. His research, in combination with Daniel Coyle's observations in "The Talent Code," clearly support the idea that exceptional musicality can be developed through the structured, disciplined practice of improvisational exercises.

The Creative Process Theory

The creative process of the brain has four parts:

  1. Conscious Work

    This is the struggle to find a solution to a question or problem. This struggle includes logical thought and experimentation, as well as the exploration of all relevant knowledge.

  2. Subconscious Work

    While the conscious part of the brain is at rest, the subconscious part of the brain searches for the truest or most beautiful solution to the problem. This can only be triggered by conscious creative effort.

  3. Inspiration

    Upon reaching a solution to the problem, the subconscious presents it to the conscious as a complete entity with stunning speed and clarity.

  4. Theory

    Since the subconscious provides only the solution in the form of inspiration, it is necessary to use theoretical analysis to understand or explain the solution.

The Method

The CAD method follows the elements of the creative process. Conscious work is done through disciplined practice of improvisation over a given harmony. The given harmony provides the creative problem: Through improvisation the child searches for the most beautiful solution. After weeks of practice and searching, the child is rewarded by inspiration and thus creates his own most beautiful solution. Theory is introduced through the rules of the games and exercises that the child practices.