John Paynter, an English composer and advocate of creative music making, visited Japan for a lecture at the Tokyo Contemporary Music Festival in 1991 and held a small workshop on creative music making in Tokyo.It was the first creative music making workshop in Japan. The Institute of Creativity in Music Education was formed around the people who gathered there. Since then, the institute has led creative music making in Japan and has invited guests from both Japan and abroad to hold workshops and lectures on world music and workshops by composers and performers of contemporary music. Noteworthy events in the 1990s which can be mentioned are: some workshop concerts held by inviting members of the London Sinfonietta and visits to England to receive the workshops by several music groups, including Southbank Centre, Guildhall School, the London Sinfonietta, the Royal Ballet and others.
Participants are wide-ranging, including master and doctor course students, teachers from primary school to university, researchers of music education, and performers and composers of various genres.
At present, in addition to the annual research conference, a research meeting is held once every one to two months at Garage Studio in Tokyo. We have been publishing the International Journal of Creativity in Music Education in English since 2012 and the Journal of Creating Music Lessons in Japanese since 2016.
We will continue to propose new music lessons based on creativity in music education.
In this institute, we continue to research the meaning of creativity from the position of both theory and practice and from the perspective of collaboration on theory and practice as it pertains to school music education.
The practices and research often involve creative music making, that is, music activity in which children from kindergarten to university level create music themselves even without having musical skills or knowledge.
A wide variety of musical styles can be the basis of their activity, from European classical to contemporary and pops, or from Japanese traditional to World music.
One of the purposes of this institute is to provide a place for musicians and teachers involved in music education to work together, and more widely, to make a bridge between schools and society.
Values and beliefs
Fostering and collaborating with young researchers who are interested in creativity in music education not only in Japan but also in mainly East Asian countries.
In Japanese school music education, the aim is to encourage top rank achievements in competitions of chorus or brass band. But in the creative music activities, we don’t aim to such a result, but rather value rich creativity fostered through the process of creating music, regardless of whether students sometimes deviate from the root or break the rules and traditions of music.
In these 2 years, the institute has proposed the “TAS model” project which encourages people in numerous positions to be involved in creative music making with their various abilities. This project includes more than a hundred musicians and people and comprises more than 20 practices and pieces of research. The institute will continue in this manner from now on.
Director, Institute of Creativity in Music Education
Professor, Kaichi International University
Professor Emiritus, Japan Women’s University