Dr. Ian Flatt: Donate Today, Support Creative Music Programs (FLIA & BGCCI)
Future Leaders in Action
Dr. Ian Flatt: Donate Today, Support Creative Music Programs (FLIA & BGCCI)
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I am honored to have the chance to work with Future Leaders in Action(FLIA), who is currently partnering with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Iowa (BGCCI). Our goal is to begin developing and implementing music programs for string players of all ages using the core idea that improvisational training and creative play can exist alongside conventional methods in a 21st Century class setting. All the funds donated here will go directly to the BGCCI to give young musicians the tools, equipment, music stands, teachers supplies, and skill development they need to get started and keep going! 

This program is a burgeoning field of teaching/learning and a radical step in contemporary practices that the BGCCI is planning. With a focus on advocacy, growth, and sustainability, the idea is that this program can exist in any city where a BGC resides, sustained by local music specialists, schools/universities, and professional entities. While many programs employ conventional music curriculum in the United States, the Central Iowa BGC, the Des Moines Symphony, and Drake University will be the first to offer a singularly BGC-centric year one experience, to provide guidelines, support, and methodologies from the inside out. To do this, we need your help.

Improvisation is a foundational way that musicians and teachers can support creative thinking in music classes without sacrificing developmental goals for young people (Koutsoupidou & Hargreaves, 2009). As such, creative activities are a vital enrichment to all teaching methods and do not need to be overturned or abandoned (Hamann & Gillespie, 2009). Our contemporary institutes of higher learning are beginning to suggest that improvisation should be recognized and implemented as a regularly visited core component in the process of all musical development. This means it is not only a supplement to a curriculum but a skill that is a means for growth in creative thinking, critical thinking, and communication. Learning theories are proving that improvisation is a crucial component of most skill development. We have all experienced this in some form or another. We all improvise to some degree every day...when we acquire a new skill/idea/word/story and are then able to paraphrase/perform/use/teach that idea or process, in our unique way, to someone else. Teacher biases about improvisation in instruction may influence the extent to which it is used in pedagogy. Still, I believe it can have a significant impact on students' musical development. BGCCI hopes to provide a platform for those interested in bringing together the classical and contemporary to give established and upcoming music specialists a way to advance these new methodologies. 

Consider this, early childhood music methodologies like Orff/Kodaly approaches suggest that improvisation takes place in the developmental process between exposure to sound and its symbolic representation, similar to how we learn to read and write (Gordon, 1999; Campbell, 2008). In child-centric learning, teachers have diverse opinions about who is capable of improvisation and how advanced a student should be to begin improvising. However, improvisation is a part of the process of musical development. It is a product of advancing understanding (Kratus, 1991). Let's incorporate it from the start. What does this mean? 

Learning many musical skills without simultaneously developing the capability to create music spontaneously and independently is pointless and often one dimensional. Improvisation is the epitome of language proficiency, both in music and literacy (Dobbins 1980). This statement is often misinterpreted to mean that improvisation should not be practiced until students show mastery of musical or literary skills. However, the development of creative abilities can and should often coincide with technical training (Kratus, 1991). Educational institutions now realize the importance of introducing independent music creation into the processes of early musical development, as something to be sustained throughout that process. While improvisation can be an expression of a high level of musicianship, it has to develop as part of musical understanding. Help BGCCI to give our communities an elite education with this new initiative for music programs. Donate today.  


ABOUT Fellows P2P 2019
Name Date Amount Comments
Anonymous Friend 10/28/2019 $51.64 To Boys and Girls Clubs
Anonymous Friend 10/16/2019 $100.00 We are so pleased to support Dr. Flatt's work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa and their music programs!
Anonymous Friend 10/16/2019 $50.00 To support the development of music for children.
  Total $201.64  
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