Children as creative thinkers in music: Focus on composition

Peter R. Webster*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


The study of creative thinking in music involves a complex combination of cognitive and affective variables, often executed at the highest levels of human thinking and feeling. This is such a complicated set of long-term engagements (composition, repeated music listening, or decisions about previously composed music in performance) or 'in the moment' engagements (improvisation and one-time listening), that it becomes quickly apparent why this field has not attracted more music researchers and why many feel the topic is hopelessly impregnable. However, the changes in education and the role of music in formal learning demands that we address creative thinking as best we can. This article takes a decidedly 'teaching and learning' approach in summarizing the many studies on creative thinking in music. While it is generally acknowledged that children's creative thinking in music occurs as part of many music experiences such as listening, performance, conducting, and improvising, the focus here is on composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191743931
ISBN (Print)9780199298457
StatePublished - Dec 4 2008


  • Children
  • Composition
  • Creative thinking
  • Music psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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