Qualitative and Quantitative Relationships Between Children’s Creative Musical Thinking Processes and Products
The main purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between children’s creative musical thought processes and the quality of their resulting musical compositions. A secondary purpose was to compare children’s creative musical thinking processes and products to their scores on a creative music aptitude measure, musical performance experience, and music teacher ratings of creativity.
Twenty-one 4th and 5th grade subjects’ musical performances were recorded as they spent three days exploring musical composition ideas using MIDI synthesizers with a custom designed computer software program. These unobtrusively recorded data were collected in order to study subjects’ musical thinking processes. For the analyses of this process data, selected musical variables were tabulated for quantitative analysis and descriptive categories emerged for a qualitative analysis.
Subjects created musical compositions as the final product for the study. The compositions were rated for qualities of creativity, craftsmanship and aesthetic appeal using a consensual assessment technique. Based on their composition ratings, subjects were separated into highest and lowest groupings in order to compare process data.
Quantitative data analyses showed that the high creativity group displayed more tendencies toward flexible and fluent musical behavior than the lower group. This group also had more musical parameter changes, played over a wider range of notes, played more measures, spent more time, and started earlier than the low creativity group. Based on qualitative findings, the high creativity group developed and experimented with whole musical ideas more than the low group, and their compositions emerged later rather than earlier in the process data. The qualitative tendencies for the high craftsmanship group were similar to the qualitative tendencies of the high creativity group.
There were low or negative relationships between subjects’ process variables and their MCTM-II scores and music teacher ratings of musical creativity. There were no significant relationships between subjects’ process variables or composition ratings and their level of musical performance experience. There were no significant relationships between ratings of subjects’ musical compositions and MCTM-II scores. Teachers’ ratings of subjects’ creativity showed no significant correlation with composition creativity ratings but significant positive correlations with composition craftsmanship ratings.