About three weeks ago I blogged about the creative process and the importance of parents enrolling their children in arts programs. I made the comment that, “there’s a lot more to it than just being in the school musical”. So this week I’d like to delve deeper into my analogy for structuring the process. This analogy was one of the lessons, or insights that I shared with my performing arts students while I was teaching. I have always tried to find ways of helping the teen artist connect with and analyze the creative process…ways that they would easily remember each step…a perspective that would help them apply the process to not only the projects we were working on in class, but to their everyday lives. So I said to myself, “Self, what would make a teenager remember the structure? What does a teenager like that would help them make the connection?” FOOD!!!! Of course! Every teenager eats…all the time! They come to class, they have food in their hands, mouths, back packs…the bell rings, they immediately reach for food in their backpacks, or make a bee line for the vending machine! FOOD!!!! Of course!
Below are the steps I developed to follow a solid structure for the creative process. My students know that when they follow these steps for each creative project in my class, they have met each component in a comprehensive and balanced lesson. A lesson that aligns with national and state arts standards, as well as 21st Century Skills and the Root-Bernstein Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People. Now, my students don’t dissect it, or analyze it that deeply…but I do! All they know is that when they are following all these steps, they are exploring, discovering, collaborating, writing, discussing, creating, refining, reflecting, evaluating, and analyzing! These elements and this process are organic to the performing arts, it’s what we naturally do to produce our art. These elements engage the learning of the whole individual…arts students are “multi-tasking” multiple learning styles. This helps them to remember the material in a very deep way…they remember it physically, mentally and in a heartfelt manner…AND they are having fun while they are learning!
CAKE BAKING: THE PROCESS
The creative process is like baking a cake from scratch:
1. First, decide what flavor of cake to make (the idea/inspiration for the project).
2. Second, gather the ingredients (the research, scripts, music, etc.).
3. Next, as a group, go about mixing these ingredients (developing blocking, choreography, lyrics, and music).
4. After all ingredients are mixed, put the creation in the oven to bake (rehearsals—refining and perfecting a scene, dance, or song).
5. Once the cake is baked and has had time to cool, apply the icing (costumes, sets, makeup).
6. Your cake, or project, is now ready to be consumed (performance).
7. The final step in this process is one of the most important parts of the entire creation and often gets left out or ignored all together: DIGESTION! It is very important to have downtime after a performance to digest, reflect on, and evaluate the success of the product. This is an important step to not only completing the creative process, but also allowing time to fill back up with ideas for the next project. This downtime allows for evaluation of the finished work as well as the generating of new creative ideas.
So, while we are at the 7th step in this creative process, and at the point of digesting what we have just accomplished, I always ask my students where else in their daily lives could they apply the creative process? Over the years I’ve had a myriad of answers, but one day a particular student blurted out, “Everywhere!” EXACTLY! We can apply the creative process to our daily lives, every day! Every day we can mix and bake our own creative cakes! So when I say it’s much more than just being involved in the school musical, I am talking about using and applying your creative process EVERYWHERE! Enjoy baking your own creative cakes!