Jan. 25, the Bowers Writers House welcomed Professor and Chair of the Psychology Department Dr. Jean Pretz, Professor and Associate Professor of Computer Science Dr. Barry Wittman and Associate Professor of Music Dr. Justin Badgerow.
These professors spoke to students about exploring the nuances of studied practice, the brain’s reactions to creative repetition and how and why computers do not do these things like we do.
The Bowers Writers House offers students a variety of events for them to experience such as speakers, panel discussions, readings and many more.
“The Writers House’s goal is to have an interdisciplinary venue and to anyone that comes to the Writers House to speak whether it be staff or someone from the community,” Director of Bowers Jesse Waters stated. “I want them to bring their passion for an energizing experience for students to have where the speaker can show their knowledge and expertise about the topic of their discussion.”
“I want the event to be a memorable experience for students for them to enjoy themselves, engage in the conversation, and leave pondering the message of the event,” Waters continued.
The evening started with Waters welcoming the students and community members who attended the event, giving a little background of each of the presenters before handing the floor over to Badgerow.
Badgerow centered his presentation on his work in music and how students can use creativity in the process of playing instruments.
He introduced the learning process of “fingering,” allowing for your own interpretation of a song to run through your fingertips and to feel the music.
He demonstrated this by showing the audience his piano playing and how he analyzes the work.
“I want students to see the way musicians interpret a piece of music in order to feel the beauty of it, put their own unique taste and to most importantly think outside of the box,” Badgerow said.
Wittman, who teaches computer science, spoke next. He looked at the artificial intelligence perspective of the topic of creativity. Computers are a helpful tool, but they are far from the use of creativity.
Pretz looked at the human perspective of the development of expertise and creativity, leaving room for flexibility of thinking.
The basic concept is that we become experts through practice and knowledge of information, such as our role as students gaining a wide range of information, as well as creating strategy and gaining experience.
“We have to create space to explore new ideas through the field that you are an expert in so that we can develop a deeper understanding,” Pretz stated.
The main point of her presentation was to show how expertise interferes with creativity and how musicians overcome this roadblock.
“I concentrate on how people think and how they are interested in creativity,” Pretz said.
Students who attended the event reflected on their thoughts about the different presentations of the faculty members.
“I think that it was amazing. I thought it was interesting how they related the bases of their presentations to what they are experts in,” first-year Angie Pisacane said.
“It was really informational and it was really well thought out,” sophomore Kaileigh Tinnin said.
After the event, students stayed behind for more of Badgerow’s piano playing. Others made their way to a chocolate fondue reception to close the event.