Confredo, Deborah A.; Dilworth, Rollo A.; Buonviri, Nathan O.; Hattikudur, Shanta (Temple University. Libraries, 2018)
      The purpose of this research was to determine whether an autonomous chamber music project would have a positive effect on band students’ creativity. Two primary research questions guided the study: (1) does engagement in autonomous chamber music increase the creativity of students’ performances of pre-composed music (creative products), and (2) does engagement in autonomous chamber music enhance the manner in which students navigate the creative processes of problem finding, ideation, and evaluation when preparing pre-composed music for performance? It was hypothesized that autonomous chamber music would cause an increase in both creative production and processes. Participants (N = 60) were all enrolled in a band class at one of three participating high schools. Using an experimental randomized block design, participants were evenly divided between an experimental and a control condition. Participants in the experimental condition engaged in an autonomous chamber music project, in which they self-selected into duos, selected a piece of repertoire, analyzed their chosen repertoire, conducted four rehearsals of the repertoire, and recorded a performance of the repertoire. The control group participants did not engage in autonomous music making. All participants continued to engage in all regularly scheduled band class activities during the treatment phase of the study. Creativity was measured twice—in a pretest and posttest—using the Measure of Creativity in Ensemble Collaboration (MCEC), which was designed for the study. The MCEC examines 10 indicators of creative thinking: problem finding fluency, flexibility, elaboration, and collaboration; ideational fluency, flexibility, and collaboration; and evaluation fluency, elaboration, and collaboration. The MCEC also makes use of the Consensual Assessment Technique (CAT) to evaluate the creativity of musical performances. Experimental and control group scores on all 10 indicators of creative thinking and on the CAT were compared to determine the extent to which the autonomous chamber music project increased creativity. No significant differences were found between the experimental and control groups for any of the 10 indicators of creative thinking, indicating that the autonomous chamber music project had no noticeable effect on participants’ creative process. This finding prompted the investigation of potential boundary conditions which may have inhibited participants’ creative abilities. No substantive relationships were found between creativity and either technical proficiency or enjoyment that suggested either limited participants’ ability to be creative. Additionally, the CAT dimensions (creativity, technical correctness, and aesthetic appeal) failed to achieve discriminant validity, making it impossible to draw meaningful conclusions on the effect of the autonomous chamber music project on participants’ creative production. The failure of the autonomous chamber music project to enhance participants’ creativity is likely a function of a number of potentially confounding variables. Task enjoyment, absolute learning, procedural knowledge, and technical proficiency each have the potential to have inhibited participants’ creativity. Though no concrete evidence explicitly implicates any of those variables in the observed lack of creative growth, the results suggest that each might have acted, in some fashion, to inhibit creativity. Each should be thoroughly investigated to provide further information regarding the relationship between autonomous music making and creativity.