Evanston, Ill. —- Professor Maud Hickey states the case for making music composition a key element of primary and secondary education in her new book, Music Outside the Lines: Ideas for Composing in K-12 Music Classrooms, recently published by Oxford University Press. The book takes the largely unchallenged theory that engaging students in music programs unleashes their creativity, as Professor Hickey develops a structure in which music teachers can realize successful results. Hickey's premise is based on findings from her research on creative thinking, composition, and improvisation.

Part pedagogy and part justification for music composition in the classroom, Music Outside the Lines argues that introducing composition into music programs is not as challenging as educators may think — that, in fact, even without formal composition training, they already have the skills to show students how to composeexciting, interesting music. Professor Hickey shows that by developing the child’s natural abilities for creative learning, teachers can help students discover a deeper level of musical inspiration. 

By talking with teachers in the classroom and at major conferences, and by researching techniques in the classroom environment, Professor Hickey has crafted a curricular model for teaching composition. The book is filled with activities for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students, along with a practical approach to implementing the curriculum into K-12 classrooms. She also addresses methods for assessing the students’ progress, a thorny but important issue in school systems across the United States.

Music Outside the Lines is an indispensable manual for teachers of K-12 and beyond,” says Pauline Oliveros, professor of practice at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and executive director of the Deep Listening Institute, Ltd. “Hickey guides the reader into an irresistible process that is creative at the core.”

Professor Hickey is the coordinator for the music education program at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. Her research interest lies in the teaching and assessment of musical creativity as manifest through improvisation and composition. For the last three years, she has been working with juveniles in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, using computer software to empower the detained teenage men in uncovering their creative potential. She has previously authored chapters in several books as well as articles in leading music education journals.

For more information on Music Outside the Lines, visit http://bit.ly/musicoutsidethelines.

  • Maud Hickey
  • music education
  • Faculty Research