Creativity vs rote learning in music

My friend Nikhil who hosts his own Nikhil Hogan Show, and who is the founder of the Songbird Music Academy, made points about the music education industry in his interviews and videos that I had suspected when I studied music in secondary school.

Back then, I was neither enlightened nor did I have the awareness to question the inkling of doubt I had with regards to wherein lies the creativity as far as music training is concerned.

For example, (need some help here) I remember having to repeat the A verses and B verses while playing Mozart’s piano pieces. And I wondered to myself the purpose of it. Then I saw Nikhil’s video about the repeat section being an avenue for the pianist to express the music piece in a different style.

And this jolts a memory of an exchange I had with the top music student of my class. He played some music which I had never seen before and came the second run through, he played it in his favourite jazz style to which I asked him, “don’t you have to follow the markings on the score?”

Maybe it wasn’t the music education system of the day, but it was I, a regimental NCC boy studying music, who just didn’t get it. Though I’m pretty sure I didn’t understand the system that incorrectly. Like the criticism levelled against our education system in general, our music syllabus was and is still rote based, like Nik pointed out.

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