CEFEDEM music creation

Submitted by CEFEDEM, Lyon

This is a method of creating music but taking ones own culture and heritage as a starting point for exploration and inspiration. Step 1 – Using guidance from the Specific Cultures and Practices (SPC) course, each student conducts individual research on different practices in their own culture, to extract constituent elements that they will have to name, reference and delimit. At the end of this research the student will have to submit a text specifying the choice of one or more of these elements, and the approach envisaged to highlight them. Step 2 The student will individually invent a piece using the elements he or she has selected. This piece must refer to a precise and explicit musical practice. Step 3 The play is performed and discussed in front of the entire class.

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In which way is this method alternative?

This method aims at overcoming disciplinary barriers and helping students to develop curiosity for other musical cultures, reflect on emotional aspects of creation and improve the capacity of explaining and articulating their practice. It is the otherness, as a vector of enrichment of the musical teaching in in general, and music theory in particular, that we want to highlight.
Through the process the following aspects are addressed :
– The creative musical act and the image of the creator have a very different status depending on the student’s musical culture; the great novelty for the students is the obligation to describe both his creation and his creative process.
– The conventional image of the creator as the repository of a divine gift and a power of composition that is part of the artistic mystery is called into question.
– The creative act is summoned as a pedagogical tool to deepen their own culture. This bundle of responsibilities engages each student in a reasoned and assumed attitude of his or her role as an artist and pedagogue, and in the necessity of written and oral explicitation of his choices, his approach, and the specific contexts of their creation practices.

In which context was the method developed?

The method has been developed by the CEFEDEM in their training program for musicians. The general objective is to train a music teacher who is both a resource artist (and therefore a relevant specialist in a specific field that he or she has defined) and a versatile teacher capable of working in a multidisciplinary team.
The curriculum therefore includes work or courses centered on the student’s dominant practice and others that allow him or her to practice and reflect on other musical disciplines.

What are your experiences with the method?

The method requires each student to take on several responsibilities:
– a creative commitment
– an obligation to explain their approach and choices
– the responsibility to lead the discussion and the exchanges that follow the presentation. – an attention to the music and the discourse of the other.
At the moment of presenting his or her creation, each student is confronted with a first surprise, contradictory with the progression of multicultural practices. It is the students’ overall lack of knowledge of the systematics, contexts and terminology of other cultures. As the exercise progresses, trust is built up within the group, and each student takes to heart to make his peers understand the particularities he has chosen for his composition. A sense of solidarity is established in the exchange with the aim of explaining the elements involved as clearly as possible.
In the course of the presentations and exchanges, the fear of appearing ignorant of other music disappears, to the benefit of a curiosity and a constructive comparative attitude, which seeks the points of convergence and the fundamental differences between cultures and musical thoughts. During the sessions, the discussion space becomes a place where a common glossary is compiled, where everyone contributes to clarifying the meaning of terms unknown or misunderstood by students from other cultures, and can take hold of the nuances marked by terminology from a culture other than their own.
Each student is confronted with the obligation to explain the characteristic elements of his or her composition and of their culture. These elements are often very much integrated into their practices, but rarely defined, and these exchanges are an opportunity to practice clarification of their words. It is an opportunity to perceive that the meaning of a term, or rather what it covers is constantly under construction.

Additional references

Photos are here https://www.facebook.com/GameChangersRussia/
first beta version of the program web-site https://sites.google.com/site/itindustryintro/