Stanford University Online

Creativity: Music to My Ears

Tina Seelig, Executive Director, Stanford Technology Ventures Program
A free course from Stanford University
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The Course

With the power to cross borders and languages, music serves as a compelling tool for unlocking creative potential.

Creativity: Music to My Ears is a six week course designed to explore several factors that stimulate creativity in individuals, teams, and organizations. In each session we will focus on a different variable related to creativity, such as reframing problems, connecting and combining ideas, and challenging assumptions. All of the projects in this experiential course will deal with some aspect of music, including listening, creating, and sharing. No musical talent is required - just an interest in exploring the role that music plays in our lives.

To deepen your understanding of music, throughout the course we will include video clips from experts in the music industry, including world-renowned Warner Music recording artists, Stanford music scholars, and industry executives who work to bring new and innovative musical expression to a global audience.

The course includes weekly projects that will each take approximately 5 hours to complete. Each Wednesday a new challenge will be presented, and the results are due the following Tuesday. The first two weeks there individual challenges, followed by a two week team project, and a final individual assignment.

For the two-week, team project, you can select your own team members, we can put you on a team, or you can work by yourself. All assignments will be submitted on the course website and viewed by fellow class participants, allowing you to see a breadth of solutions for each challenge and get feedback on your work. There will also be a course Twitter feed and Facebook page, and several Google Hangouts that will enable active discussions on specific topics.

As Plato is quoted as saying, "Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

Recommended textbook: inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity by Tina Seelig.

More Information

Workload: Expect to spend between 1 - 5 hours a week on the course.
Technical Requirements: You need a computer that allows you to watch the video lectures, and the ability to upload your assignments, which will be images, videos, slides, and text. You will also be required to collaborate with teammates via email, skype, and other free online tools.
Prerequisites: This is an introductory course designed for anyone, anywhere in the world. There are no prerequisites. It would be helpful to have basic skills taking digital photos, creating slide, presentations, and creating short videos for your homework submissions.
Course Content: The course is designed to introduce you to a set of tools for generating new ideas individually and as part of a team, including opportunity identification, reframing problems, connecting and combining ideas, and challenging assumptions. We will also discuss team dynamics, creative communication, and cultures that support creative problem solving.
Team Projects: There are several short team projects in the course. You can bring your own team or we will create one for you.
Evaluation: Because this course focuses on creativity, evaluation of the projects is necessarily subjective. Our goal is to make sure that you get thoughtful feedback on your submissions and to showcase the most creative solutions for each challenge. To do this, the entire class will be involved in providing feedback on the assignments. The more projects you review, the more feedback you receive on your project. Also, you will be getting guidance and feedback on your evaluations in order to make sure they are as accurate and constructive as possible. The projects that are the most highly rated will be showcased on the course home page.
Statement of Accomplishment: Subject to satisfactory performance and course completion, you will receive a statement of accomplishment signed by the instructor. This statement will not stand in the place of a course taken at Stanford or an accredited institution.