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News / 2017 CAD Performance Workshop and Teacher Training Sche


Creative Ability Development

 Teacher Training and Workshop

August 7-11, 2017

Rochester, NY

Imagine a place where you cannot make a mistake, where everyone listens when you speak and everyone applauds your ideas…. You have just entered the world of Creative Ability Development.

Creative Ability Development (CAD) uses music as a language, and disciplined improvisation as a tool, to cultivate the creative part of the brain. When practicing the art of improvisation, studies have shown that the whole brain is activated in a way that goes significantly beyond any other endeavor.

At the workshop:

v History, Science, Philosophy, and Pedagogy

v Daily CAD Performance Workshops

v Introduction to Early Childhood CAD

v Multi-level Student Observations

v Improvisation Accompaniment Lessons

v CAD in Suzuki, El Sistema, Public School, Private Studio, and College Programs


The CAD movement is spreading across the US, Canada, and Europe, and is now recognized by the Suzuki Association of the Americas and the El Sistema System as an important part of a child’s education impacting intellectual, artistic and social development.


Participating in the 2015 CAD teacher training course was a truly transformative experience. Although I'd already been teaching CAD for some time, engaging in this immersive week of sessions helped me enormously in understanding the broader philosophical and pedagogical implications of the method. Alice's scientifically verified discovery--that all children can develop creativity through the structured practice of musical improvisation--has profound ramifications both within and outside the field of music. If we accept that creativity defines intelligence at the highest level, we in turn recognize that the development of creativity gives our students extraordinary potential to make unique and impactful contributions throughout their lives. I adamantly encourage you to join Alice for a trip down this 'road less traveled' in music education! 

Zachary Preucil–Cello, Musicianship, and CAD Faculty,

Music Institute of Chicago 


The Creative Ability Development Teacher Training dramatically changed the way that I approach private lessons and chamber ensembles.  Alice Kanack brilliantly explained the scientific theories behind her improvisation method, and encouraged all to experience the activities firsthand.  The casual atmosphere of the Kanack School of Music combined with CAD's approach made the teacher training a playground for my fellow teachers and I to experiment with our improvisation skills while observing Alice's mastery.  In addition to observing Alice and my classmates, I found that observing students at a variety of levels was essential.  The rich culture of improvisation and excellent students at the Kanack School demonstrated the capability of CAD as a viable method easily approachable to me as a private teacher and school music instructor.  Following the CAD teacher training, I found myself filled with confidence in my ability to introduce improvisation to my students.  The results of including CAD in my teaching have been dramatic, and my students have demonstrated improved confidence, technical mastery, and musical sensitivity.  I strongly recommend Alice Kanack's Creative Ability Development Teacher Training!

Drew Robertson – Violist, Violinist, Teacher, Performer






Alice Kanack is an educator of true originality and inspiration, who has been at the forefront of the movement to encourage creativity through musical improvisation in young musicians. At her music school and through her training programs she encourages students of all ages to include improvisation skills in daily practice, as an organic part of one’s musical development. I’m inspired by her continuing exploration of the pedagogical potential of this movement….

Steven Doane

Professor of Cello, Eastman School of Music

Visiting Professor and Fellow, Royal Academy of Music


From what I have seen, the CAD students seem to all share certain characteristics:

1.     A love of the music, their instrument, and what they are doing

2.     Warmth, supportiveness, respect toward one another

3.     Wonderful concentration

4.     Freedom of movement and expression

5.     Sensitivity - a musical sensitivity within themselves and a sensitivity to the group and other individuals - both musically and personally

6.     Self-acceptance

7.     A comfort with performing.

Judith Fletcher - Violinist, Teacher

The CAD method develops the relationship between the player and the instrument in a very special way. In creating his or her own music, the student learns and experiments with every aspect of the instrument and technique in a fun, creative context. The instrument becomes his or her own, a vehicle for a voice. In improvising, the student, the musician, and the teacher discover -- perhaps for the first time, perhaps again -- that they speak the language of music.

Margaret Coote – Violist, Teacher, Performer 


Creative Ability Development History

Early 1980s: The Creative Ability Development method is conceived by Alice Kay Kanack as an experiment to help a special needs child.

1984: Dr. Shinichi Suzuki nicknames Ms. Kanack “Mozart’s Mother” in response to her developing work in creative ability pedagogy. In a public speech at a summer program in Matsumoto, Japan, Suzuki introduces Ms. Kanack to the audience, encouraging them to study her work so that someday all children might "create!"

1985-1995: Ms. Kanack continues her work in New York City, finding a home for experimentation at the Third Street Music School Settlement. The first of several tour groups is formed to demonstrate the potential and power of this unique method. At the request of area teachers, Ms. Kanack publishes her first books and CDs. In demand as a lecturer, Ms. Kanack travels the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and finally returns to Japan.

1995: Alfred takes over publishing the Creative Ability Development Series, renaming it “Fun Improvisation for Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano.” Ms. Kanack founds the Kanack School of Music in Rochester, New York.

1997: “Musical Improvisation for Children", a keyboard based book for absolute beginners, is published by Alfred.

2012: After spending several summers teaching at the quartet program, “Music at Port Milford,” Ms. Kanack is inspired to write a new book, “Improvising String Quartets.” With the help of Dr. Sera Jane Smolen, this latest addition to the series is completed in 2012. It is published by the newly-formed Creative Ability Development Press and distributed by Alfred.

 2015: Creative Ability Development Press publishes “Basslines & Fantasies – CAD Book 2”, 25 Improvisational Puzzles in all twelve keys for Violin, Viola, Cello or Piano. With the publication of the new books and several more on the way, Ms. Kanack has resumed guest appearances, teacher training, and lectures internationally. 

Registration is available on the web at creativeabilitydevelopment.com/news


or by calling 585-244-6910

Creative Ability + Music = Musicality,
Musicality + Technical Facility = Artistry