The Schulich School of Music is pleased to welcome Dr. Andrea Creech as Full Professor in Music Pedagogy. Prior to her appointment at Schulich, Prof. Creech was Professor of Didactique Instrumentale at Université Laval, where she held a Canada Research Chair in music in community (SSHRC funded). Her research combines her experience as a professional musician (violist) and educator and covers a wide range of issues in formal and informal music education contexts including interpersonal dynamics in instrumental learning and teaching, informal learning in school music, inclusion, and music for positive youth development. Most recently, Prof. Creech’s research focuses on intergenerational and later-life music-making in community contexts, and addresses questions relating to the social and emotional outcomes associated with music learning and participation, as well as pedagogies and facilitation approaches to support positive musical experience and lifelong learning. Prof. Creech is a frequent presenter at international conferences and is widely published. With such a diverse range of accomplishments under her belt, we look forward to having Prof. Creech be a part of Schulich’s dynamic faculty. (Read her full bio here.)
In advance of the upcoming semester, we spoke to Prof. Creech over email to discuss her upcoming work at Schulich as well as how she originally became interested in her research.
What courses will you be teaching in the upcoming school year?
I am very excited to have the opportunity to teach ‘Music Performance Strategies’, in the Fall semester. Students in this course will take an enquiry-based approach to learning about the psychology of music performance, exploring issues such as music performance anxiety, stress, and how to achieve performance goals - which they may have direct experience of. Our big question to explore will be ‘Does fearless performance exist – and if so, what are its characteristics and can it be learnt?’.
In the winter semester I will be teaching an interdisciplinary graduate music seminar, where again we will use enquiry and exploration to delve into topics that are relevant to learning, teaching and development in music.
What excites you most about your new position at the Schulich School of Music?
I am very much looking forward to getting to know the McGill community, including the students and my colleagues on Faculty. Part of my role is to take a lead in building on curricular change and pedagogical innovation. This is so exciting and is a wonderful opportunity for me to bring together my experience in performance, music education and community music. A first step will be to find out more about the expertise, creativity and innovation that I know is already flourishing at McGill. So, I guess I would have to say that the thing that excites me right now is the prospect of working collaboratively with our colleagues and students and developing some really ground-breaking practices. I am also very excited about the potential for developing partnerships and exchanges between McGill and my international research collaborators, around the topic of innovation, collaboration and creativity in tertiary music education.
How did you become interested in community music and why is it important?
I first became involved in community music during the 1980s, when as sub-principal violist in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, I was co-opted into the Orchestra Education Department to do community projects. We were totally thrown in at the deep end – that was in the early days of the idea of community music as a vehicle for social activism. Since that time, I have been involved in one way or another, as director of a community music school, as leader of community music initiatives, and as a researcher in community music. I see community music and music education as all part of ‘music learning and participation’. While there are certainly differences in intention, across contexts, there are also many shared characteristics. This is the theme of a Routledge International Handbook that I have co-edited, that should be published in early 2021 – the similarities and differences in how music psychology can be understood and applied in education as well as community contexts.
What inspired you to shift your research towards older adults and music?
I think researchers often find themselves researching in contexts that are personally meaningful and salient at particular times in their lives. When I first started researching in the area of music, health and aging, it is no coincidence that I had several older adults in my life at the time – parents, parents-in-law, etc. It was also at a time when the full implications of our ageing population were beginning to be a ‘hot’ topic. I started researching in this area with a focus on the wider benefits – the links between music-making and social, emotional and cognitive health. However, since that time I have become far more focused on the idea of learning – I believe we have the capacity and the right to learn and to develop musically right across our lifecourse. I call this the development of our musical possible selves. So, my research now is concerned with how learning and creative musical expression can be facilitated, among older adults. A big question is always whether this is any different from any other age group – and I do not think there is a definitive answer. Whatever our age, context and individual differences have an enormous influence on our needs as learners. One thing that is perhaps the same, across our lives, is that learning (I believe) always involves some kind of change, and in one way or another learning is always a social act – we learn alongside others, with the support of others, and through supporting others.
Explore her webinars:
AGE-WELL Webinar on Creative Aging
Global Leaders Program Webinar on Learning and Participation in Music Across the Adult Lifecourse