What is Creativity?
My recent activities have included a great deal of research in the area of psychology in terms of the concept of creativity. Here is a term that has been lost due to modern usage. For example:
- The word creativity in popular culture has, at best, an ambiguous definition
- No one, not even any psychologist, knows exactly what happens in our minds when we are creative
- Furthermore, some people just seem to be more creative than others, just because of who they are
I don’t know exactly how we got here, but this is where we are.
Looking back at all of the great composers of the past, I can’t help but think that creativity is a whole lot more straightforward than we are making it. Was it really anything more than hard work, plenty of technical skill, a little bit of ingenuity and plenty of practice that produced all the great works of Bach, Beethoven and the like?
In the midst of my research, I was re-listening to a great deal of early Schoenberg and had to marvel at its beauty. Verklärte Nacht was the piece that really struck my fancy. Wow.
Interestingly enough, the man who wrote that piece didn’t have a great deal to say about creativity in particular. For him, it was a quality that a person either possessed or not. In Fundamentals of Musical Composition Schoenberg wrote:
The greatest difficulty for the students is to find out how they could compose without being inspired. The answer is: it is impossible.
A composer does not, of course, add bit by bit, as a child does in building with wooden blocks. He conceives an entire composition as a spontaneous vision.
I think, however, that creativity may be a lot more objective than that. The result of all of this research was my first white paper. “So You Want to be More Creative…” is the culmination of my thoughts and findings. I encourage you to download it, share it and let me know what you think.