Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Gifts and supplies for the musician

the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad) Yamaha CP4 Rebate
Yamaha CP4 Rebate
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
113 registered (Anita Potter, albumblatter, ando, anamnesis, 36251, 32 invisible), 1348 Guests and 10 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#1151665 - 02/22/07 11:59 AM Does creativity get better with age?
absent-minded professor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/07
Posts: 25
By this I mean musical creativity in composition, improvisation, making arrangements, depth of interpretation, etc.

Personally, I think so. I'm just starting to tap into my creative potential and I'm in my mid 30s. I heard the other day Brahms was 43 when he wrote his first symphony. Mozart on the other end of the spectrum, was 8, so perhaps everyone develops at different rates.
Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.

Piano & Music Acc. / Sheet Music

Sheet Music Plus Homepage
#1151666 - 02/22/07 01:50 PM Re: Does creativity get better with age?
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2839
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Hi absent,

You've asked a great question, one that I'm going to use to touch on lots of aspects of what being a composer means. So fasten your seatbelts boys and girls I'm gonna RANT!

First let me respond to your question. I don't think the issue is one of creativity increasing with age. Any parent will tell you that kids can be amazingly creative. The issue is one of what satisfies. We get a lot of posts regarding "my first composition" or "my latest effort." Generally these are by students and they are nice little pieces (if stunningly unspectacular). These young people have fallen in love with the fruit of their creation because they haven't been composing long enough to develop perspective. Generally folks are supportive. I personally hesitate to be too positive because frankly I have higher standards and I strongly believe the impetus to compose should come from within and not be a way to garner external validation.

Here's what I consider the starting point for beginning to compose seriously. Complete familiarity with tonal theory, including study of formal structure and history. If you're a student who's wrestling with 4 part harmony exercises and the terms augmented sixth and secondary dominant are foreign to you I don't believe you're ready to compose seriously. That doesn't mean don't write at all, just don't expect others to be "wowed" by your work. Beyond that studying composition generally means becoming familiar and experimenting with extended harmonic techniques. I'm not suggesting everyone write atonal music, heck I don't compose atonal music, but familiarity with these and other "modern" harmonic techniques means you'll have more colors on your palette.

So what does all this mean with regard to absent's question. Composing takes a lot of learning and then a lot of doing (practice) to get to the point where you've developed your own unique voice. At that point you're just getting started, everything before was training, at that point you're at the starting line of the race of compositional life.

I mentioned earlier the concept of falling in love with the fruit of your creation. This is easy even for experienced composers. It's important to become your own worst critic. On this forum I have suggested (on a number of occasions) that practice composing variations is a very useful exercise. I haven't explained my concept as fully as I should so let me do so now.

It's easy to write 5 or 6 variations, these are the obvious ones (walking bass, embellished melody). Now think about Beethoven's Diabelli Variations. Beethoven took a mundane theme and wrote some variations, then wrote some more, and more. It may have seemed like he couldn't stop. He finished the piece with 32 variations. It isn't until you get past the obvious variations that you start to force yourself to go farther afield, then even farther afield. This is when you're starting to really be creative. One of my favorite pieces of my own music was a fairly youthful effort at variations, I wrote 20. When I listen to that piece I skip past the first 5 or so, they're boring, but then it gets good, then better, then magical. Just the doing of that exercise (and that's what it was) set my personal sights so much higher in terms of what degree of creativity I would accept for a work composed by me. My music was transformed from that time on and that was the starting line of my compositional race.

#1151667 - 02/22/07 03:32 PM Re: Does creativity get better with age?
Ted Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 1522
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
With me, it was more a case of acquiring the confidence, regrettably not until my middle age, to simply make the sounds I enjoy and ignore "rights", "wrongs", "ought tos", theories, structures, traditions, what teachers say, what "experts" and famous people say, what's popular and what's not, the Western strait-jacket of musical notation ...... everything, just let it all go, it's all nonsense. The sound and its effect on my own brain is all that matters any more.

That's what happened to me. Whether or not it implies an increase in "creativity", whatever that word really means, I don't know. Not a very acceptable answer, I dare say, but it's the truth. Then again, I don't much like written composition, I'm a pretty rough pianist and almost certainly not a musician by any normal definition.
"It is inadvisable to decline a dinner invitation from a plump woman." - Fred Hollows

#1151668 - 02/22/07 04:33 PM Re: Does creativity get better with age?
Harmosis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 308
Loc: California
If "age" means experience and practice, then, in general, I'd say yes (without strictly defining "creativity"). I would also agree with Mr. Chandler that composing variations is a good exercise.


Moderator:  Piano World 
Shop our Store for Music Lovers!
PianoSupplies.com is Piano World's Online Store
Please visit our store today.
circle of 5ths coaster
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Hal Leonard Teacher VIP
Hal Leonard Teacher VIP Your Source for Piano Music
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Coda on Tcherepnin's Bagatelles Op.5
by izaldu
03/28/15 08:54 AM
What monitors do you use with your MP11?
by Morodiene
03/28/15 08:40 AM
book recommendation...
by Entheo
03/28/15 08:03 AM
Best and worst to work on?
by PhilipInChina
03/28/15 06:26 AM
New Kawai CA97: first impression and some problems
by Brometeo
03/28/15 05:34 AM
What's Hot!!
Trade Regrets: Gary Trafton - Piano Rep
Historic Piano Documents
Posting Pictures on the Forums
Forums Rules & Help
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
Forum Stats
78,673 Registered Members
43 Forums
162,769 Topics
2,389,311 Posts

Most users ever online: 15,252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
Sheet Music Plus (125)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |

copyright 1997 - 2015 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission