Does the talents developed learning music apply to other fields of study? It is our belief that learning music helps students learn in general. To learn music is to learn a new language. Like math, developing skills in music also requires the ability to see patterns, to understand symbols, to count, to comprehend a sequence of elements. Learning skills in music develops concentration, improves the ability to recall information, and most importantly, presents opportunities for the student to be creative.
Is there anything more on the spot creative then jazz, then impromptu solos, then jam sessions with other players? How does someone tap into that creative energy? Music is amazing. It captivates; it inspires; it is complex and beautifully simple all at the same time. How does a person "invent" a tune? How does one hear a melody that no one has heard before? Where does that creative spark come from? As challenging as writing one song is, how does a person find the inspiration to write many songs?
When looking for inspiration, one option is to learn from people who are already successful at in tapping into the creative energy within. As expressed in our Bylaws, we will work to increase the access students have to literature about creative people in the field of music. Why do students only study dead European composers when we have great American composers to learn from as well? As our starting point, we are working to get a book written about the American composer Crawford Gates.
Mr. Gates has written over 800 compositions or arrangements. Behind each piece is a story, a spark, an A-ha moment when he thought of a new melody that had never been played before, a moment of originality. He is such a fascinating person. There are books about Bach, Mozart, Chopin, in the same tone it would be so interesting to also learn about Mr. Gates’ life and his insights obtained over the 70 years he has been composing music.
Our goal is to have information more readily available for students to learn about Crawford Gates. To help document and make available Mr. Gates' creative insights, we will fund scholarships to college students who, as part of their degree are required to write a thesis or dissertation and who will meet that requirement by doing research about this fascinating living American composer and will be publishing their works (thesis, dissertation, journal article…). If enough articles get written they can become chapters in a book for all to benefit from. An example of a short news article about Crawford's creative output can be found on Wikipedia.
We feel that students can become inspired by learning about living American musicians who continue to tap into creative energy. We look forward to being able to share with students a book about the moments of insights experienced by Crawford Gates and relay what helps ignite the creative spark within him.
p.s. Crawford Gates’ father-in-law is a brother to Michael and Ryan’s grandfathers. While this family connection is outside the IRS definition of “related” it seems reasonable to disclose the shared family history between two board members and the subject of a fundable research project.
Well, we are starting our presentation of American Composers with what we know and who we know. If you read over the short article carried by Deseret News Oct 2006, linked in Crawford’s Wikipedia page, you will get a glimpse of the type of drive Crawford had from an early age. Family connect aside, students can benefit from learning about such a creative person.