Category: Sam McIlhagga (Faculty Co-author)

Erin Sovansky, ’13

Sovansky, E. E., Wieth, M. B., Francis, A. P., & McIlhagga, S. D. (2014). Not all musicians are creative: Creativity requires more than simply playing music. Psychology of Music.

Abstract: Musical training has been found to be associated with increased creativity. However, it is not clear whether increased creativity, particularly divergent thinking, is associated with music expertise due to knowledge and skill, or if increased creativity arises from participation in the creation of music through practices such as improvisation and composition. This study investigated how level of music expertise and engagement in the creation of music relate to divergent thinking in musically trained adults (musicians). Sixty participants of varying music expertise were tested for divergent thinking using a modified version of Guilford’s (1967) alternative uses task, in which participants listed creative uses for two music items and two non-music items. Results indicate that musicians who create music listed more creative uses for music items than non-musicians and musicians who do not create music. For non-music items, participants did not display differences in divergent thinking.

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