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

Trying Something New with Search
Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
Who's Online
66 registered (AndrewJCW, AprilE, Annette Schmidt, AZ_Astro, agraffe, 13 invisible), 920 Guests and 5 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
*Live Piano Venues
*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 Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#1151666 - 02/22/07 01:50 PM Re: Does creativity get better with age?
Steve Chandler Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 3089
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: 1537
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 
What's Hot!!
Why It's Impossible to Tune a Piano!
aka, why you should be nice to your tuner.
Posting Pictures on the Forums
Forums Rules & Help
on Piano World

Piano Classified Ads
Piano Acc. & Gift Items in
Piano World's Online Store
In PianoSupplies.com ,(a division of Piano World) our online store for piano and music gifts and accessories, party goods, tuning equipment, piano moving equipment, benches, lamps Caster Cups and more.

Free Shipping on Jansen Artist Piano Benches
Hammond A100 for Sale!
(Think B3)
Hammond A100 for sale!
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad 125)
Sweetwater $55,000 Giveaway
Sweetwater $55,000 Mic Locker Giveaway
Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tours
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Technique Book?
by schlaigs
05/29/16 10:32 PM
Yamaha Clavinova Troubles
by StartwithBach
05/29/16 08:58 PM
Dave Frank/Pat Martino duo - Lean Years
by Dfrankjazz
05/29/16 07:45 PM
Bösendorfer 200 disklavier—is this E3 PRO?
by Corvus
05/29/16 07:09 PM
ear training
by Sylwek
05/29/16 02:03 PM
Forum Stats
83,809 Registered Members
44 Forums
173,021 Topics
2,529,099 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 - 2016 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission