Improvisation, Music, & Critical Thinking

Ludwig von Beethoven and Cole Porter may strike you as strange bed-fellows but when Bratislava’s Janoska Ensemble mixed Moonlight Sonata and Night & Day at a recent concert, the results were breathtaking! Classically trained musicians, Janoska style is known for mixing it up, four hundred years of musical ideas, shifting beats, and improvisational style. They open a brand spanking-new conversation and food for thought about how we think, the reason for history as a foundation for new ideas, and why an inter-disciplinary education is important for innovation for all fields in the 21st Century.

Jaroska knows how to get fresh with their audience. Jaroska’s M. C., Julius Darvus, observed classical music is a timeless foundation for innovation, mixing styles and eras that bring music alive. That, he said is Janoska’s style. Reflecting on today’s approach to education, he observed that we don’t teach or encourage this kind of music. In teaching music, we focus on teaching to the rules laid down by the composer rather than seeing how we can create, re-create, enhance, and adopt other styles and creations. In other words, it is an example of the restrictions of thinking inside the box. Another attribute of the Applied Humanities! We are a country of innovation and we see it in American Jazz, our national music, in so many ways, the language of our souls and an example of our ability to create new worlds from old traditions.

In the Applied Humanities, we take this idea beyond music. Old themes, new beats, incredible mixes are all pertinent to modern society whether you are in business, the arts, the STEM disciplines, or social studies of all kinds. When we throw out the old, without examining historical content and extenuating circumstances, we end up re-inventing the wheel instead of improving it. Since the human condition never changes, looking back at epochs and eras rather than 40-year cycles, tells us more and provides a comprehensive picture. It is a treasure-trove of ideas to sort through.

Deconstruct, re-assemble, using the palette of past ideas produces an exciting world. Janoska brings these lessons home, not only in music but in how we teach innovation through the Humanities. Remember, long before the Wright Brothers, Leonardo Da Vinci was designing the means to flight.

TAGS: music, classical music, critical thinking, history, innovation, STEM, Janoska, revolution,