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  • Studies in Musical Performance as Creative Practice



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Until recently, the notion of musical creativity was tied to composers and the works they produced, which later generations were taught to revere and to reproduce in performance. But the last few decades have witnessed a fundamental reassessment of the assumptions and values underlying musical and musicological thought and practice, thanks in part to the rise of musical performance studies. The five volumes in the series Studies in Musical Performance as Creative Practice embrace and expand the new understanding that has emerged. Internationally prominent researchers, performers, composers, music teachers and others explore a broad spectrum of topics including the creativity embodied in and projected through performance, how performances take shape over time, and how the understanding of musical performance as a creative practice varies across different global contexts, idioms and performance conditions. The series celebrates the diversity of musical performance studies, which has led to a rich and increasingly important literature while also providing the potential for further engagement and exploration in the future.

These books have their origins in the work of the AHRC Research Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice (, which conducted an ambitious research programme from 2009 to 2014 focused on live musical performance and creative music-making. The Centre's close interactions with musicians across a range of traditions and at varying levels of expertise ensured the musical vitality and viability of its activities and outputs.

Studies in Musical Performance as Creative Practice was itself broadly conceived, and the five volumes encompass a wealth of highly topical material. Musicians in the Making explores the creative development of musicians in formal and informal learning contexts, and it argues that creative learning is a complex, lifelong process. Distributed Creativity explores the ways in which collaboration and improvisation enable and constrain creative processes in contemporary music, focusing on the activities of composers, performers and improvisers. Music and Shape reveals why a spatial, gestural construct is so invaluable to work in sound, helping musicians in many genres to rehearse, teach and think about what they do. Global Perspectives on Orchestras considers large orchestral ensembles in diverse historical, intercultural and postcolonial contexts; in doing so, it generates enhanced appreciation of their creative, political and social dimensions. Finally, Music as Creative Practice describes music as a culture of the imagination and a real-time practice, and it reveals the critical insights that music affords into contemporary thinking about creativity.

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Musicians in the Making

Pathways to Creative Performance


John Rink, Helena Gaunt, and Aaron Williamon

15 December 2017
Studies in Musical Performance as Creative Practice

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