Musical Composition: A Personal Journey of Discovery through Critical and Creative Thinking

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Nina Greenwald


This project consists of the creation of a musical composition, a recording of that composition (on a CD attached to the inside cover), and this paper which describes this creative work and views it through the lens of critical and creative thinking skills learned at University of Massachusetts, Boston. The motivation for the project is to improve my ability to create music by analyzing my strengths and weaknesses as a composer. The musical piece entitled, “Wedding in Chicago” was created with out any pre- conceived plan for how to compose. After the piece was designed, I wrote about the critical and creative thinking processes that were used in the creation. As a result of this sequence, the techniques and the modes of thought used to create the work brought to light my true abilities as a creator. This sequence also allowed me to realize weaknesses in my creative abilities which in turn will help me create compositions. Since the analysis of the composition process was completed before the literature review, the literature is therefore used to validate my work and to suggest further improvements. Through this process I demonstrate the relevance of thinking skills learned in the Critical and Creative Thinking Program. A reoccurring theme that presents itself as a result of this work is that both critical and creative though are required in the completion of my composition and recording. The literature review, coupled with analysis of my own work suggests that I need to shift rapidly between the two modes of thought. This interplay of critical and creative thinking is interestingly analogous to the use of contrasting musical elements that characterize the creation of my composition.


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