Creative Ability Development


From what I have seen, the CAD students seem to all share certain characteristics:

  1. A love of the music, their instrument, and what they are doing
  2. Warmth, supportiveness, respect toward one another
  3. Wonderful concentration
  4. Freedom of movement and expression
  5. Sensitivity - a musical sensitivity within themselves and a sensitivity to the group and other individuals - both musically and personally
  6. Self-acceptance
  7. A comfort with performing.
Judith Fletcher - Violinist, Teacher

For once, students are not told what or how to play but are allowed to discover their own unique ideas and style. The freedom of expression developed by the students spills over into the playing of their repertoire. This development of creative thinking is also bound to influence and help them in all of life's endeavors.

Raymond Pickens - Pianist, Composer, Teacher

A CAD student carries much of the freedom he has learned through improvising into the other music he is studying. I saw many students playing with beautiful legato--students who would perhaps not be able to have such a sound if it were strictly 'taught.' It also makes a student less afraid to experiment with musical ideas (indeed to have musical ideas!) within the given rules. Also, they probably learn more useful theory than any traditional student. The fact that a piece of music is in G Major mans very little unless you have played freely in that key and really gotten to know its 'taste.' Also, I was amazed that some pianists who tend to have poor arm and hand position in lessons did everything right in CAD.

Kevin Jacobs - Pianist, Teacher

Effects of CAD on Students' Playing:

  • Flexibility of technique - using one technique in improvised settings means there are a great quantity of uses for that technique - This fills in a complete understanding of the technique. In traditional music study we program ourselves to play certain pieces using this technique resulting in quality at the expense of quantity.
  • Spontaneous development of vibrato
  • More access to musicality - the students bathe in the "feeling tone" of the modes and piano accompaniments in the games, gaining access to their own musicality spontaneously.
  • Understanding of rhythm, intonation, and coordination spontaneously - in repertoire study, these elements are often learned deliberately through engaging the will. In CAD improvisation, the feeling tone (I think) is predominant and draws the will indirectly into its service the way music is supposed to be played. Coordination at the instrument springs from a musical spontaneous impulse in the "now," rather than a pre-planned, controlled execution of a piece.
Sera Smolen - Cellist, Teacher, Ithaca Talent Education

[CAD develops in students] a higher level of artistry and musicality, a great understanding of the compositional process and structure of the piece, and a greater self-confidence and belief in themselves and the music.

Dana Pielet - Pianist, Teacher, Third Street Music School Settlement