Angie Mack Reilly

Experimentation and the Creative Process by Angie Mack Reilly

by Angie Mack Reilly (c) 12/28/16

I never realized how much experimenting I do on any given day until just recently.  For example, I experiment with my hairstyles, the food I create, the marketing strategies I use, the songs I compose, the poems I write, the processes for running my business, the teaching tools for keeping my private music students engaged and my gardening techniques to name a few.

Experimentation is a term that is common in the field of science.  Sometimes I wonder if I should have gone into science.   I remember loving to make “concoctions”, or mixtures of various elements, for my little brother to drink when we were younger.  I would put things like grape jelly, Worscestershire Sauce, pure lemon juice and honey in a Dixie Cup and have him do a “taste test”.   My current family is used to seeing my “experiments” around the house.

“My Kombucha Experiment”

Kombucha Recipe
Homemade Kombucha

How about you?  Are you:

A) The type of person who follows a recipe

B)  The type of person who never uses recipes (or if they do, alter it)

Experimentation is a bit risky for some personality types because experimentation of any sort comes with a risk for failure.  Yet history has taught us that those who often fail the most reach success.   This is particularly true of the inventors.  My heroes include people like Thomas Edison, Leonardo de Vinci, Madame Walker, Benjamin Franklin and Einstein.

FAMOUS INVENTORS

But sound IS science.  And the creative process is science.

That is precisely why I decided to call my music studio an “INTERACTIVE MUSIC LAB”.

Did you know that Thomas Edison was part of the recording experiment that occurred in Grafton, WI  between the years of 1929 and 1932?  Some of the most valuable recordings known to the world were created in Grafton as part of an experiment in a “make-shift” studio covered in burlap with musicians and singers playing into a giant cone-shaped apparatus.  True!

Paramount Records Recording Studio
Recording Studio in Grafton, WI as Rendered by Don Henning and Taken From http://paramountshome.org

I believe that we are entering into a new wave of innovation.  With digital information readily available for the first time in our generation,  people are gaining more knowledge as a whole.  It would be wise for us to use this knowledge to challenge old systems, methods and products.  We need to come up with theories and then test those theories with experimentation.

My kids are grown.  So I am not aware of what is taught in public schools these days.  But I do know that as a music teacher, producer and director, I am very fortunate.  I have a lot of flexibility that other teachers with large classrooms, bureaucratic red tape and political policies don’t have.  My students and I have the privilege of being able to conduct “experiments” in the interactive music lab.

ozaukee-talent-large-view

“It has long been my experience to see that children are capable of so much more than we realize musically. In fact, I see this quite a bit. School music class isn’t enough for some of these gifted and talented children. Right now, I have a 4th grade student who is composing her own music. I have a middle school student who is working with me to create his own video game music, a nine year old vocalist who can nail the artist #SIA . What I do as a talent coach is to find those “hidden gems of talent” inside of each and every child and then give them the musical tools to succeed and to reach for their dreams.”  –Angie Mack Reilly, musician, educator and author

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