Creative Experimentation in Music

Music teachers often find themselves stuck in hegemonic roles, expected to transmit orthodox performance techniques rather than encouraging creative experimentation among their students. What might happen if music education were opened to allow more room for creative musical experimentation? The examples below demonstrate how the simple act of experimenting with unusual techniques on instruments or found objects can lead to the emergence of new musical expressions. [NOTE: Updated 8/14/08 due to dead links. This website is best viewed with the Mozilla Firefox browser - downloadable for free - rather than Internet Explorer or Netscape.]

Alternative Approach to Guitar:

Andreas Oberg’s Guitar Solo via Harmonics:

Andreas Oberg has recently produced an excellent guitar instruction book with my former bandmember Michael Horowitz:


Carlos Vamos playing Hendrix’s "Little Wing":

Piano Music of Medtner and Rzewski:

Pianist Brad Mehldau:

Airto's Solo Percussion and Voice:

Blowing on a Tree Leaf in Malaysia:

Glass Harmonica:

Mongolian Throat Singing:

Vegetable Orchestra:

Thai Elephant Orchestra:

And on an entirely different note, what happens when we support music learners in their pursuits within newer traditions, such as rock music? I used to play in a Thai music ensemble, a wind band, and even (briefly) in a klezmer band, with my friend Brian (a fellow jakhe player and trumpeter), who now plays bass and sings as a member of 3rd Culture, a band that performs original music in the heart of the rock tradition. It took rock many years to become viewed by music academics as a genre with any credibility. This band seems to embody all that is good about rock: http://3rdculturenation.com/

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