The Apple Banana Carrot Method has
been developed in Scotland by twin brothers.
Tom and Phil Bancroft are 2 of Scotland's leading
Jazz musicians and educators, who both trained in Medicine at
Cambridge University. Their contemporary jazz band Trio AAB is
recognised as "the most complete mix of originality and invention"
The Times, and their CDs have been made worldwide Jazz Albums
of the year by the Guardian and BBC Radio 3 (see www.cabermusic.com).
They have extensive teaching experience in schools, workshops,
and with private students. Phil has taught saxophone, and improvisation
at Napier University and the RSAMD. Tom has taught Jazz composition
at Napier University, has been a creativity tutor on Distil (training
leading professional traditional musicians) as well as being Musical
Director for the Grampian Jazz School, and the National Youth
Jazz Orchestra of Scotland until 2003.
Tom won a prestigious Creative Scotland Award
in 2004 and in 2007 won the BBC Jazz Award for Innovation.
for more info.
They began developing the Apple Banana Carrot
Method 10 years ago and have used the ideas in teaching students
on all instruments and musical styles and from nursery to university
"We are both jazz musicians and teachers,
and did a lot of workshops and concerts in schools. This is important
and valuable work but we began to feel frustrated that we were
not leaving much behind for children or staff other than good
memories . In some cases we felt we were actually de-skilling
the staff in the schools we visited because we could improvise
and they couldn't. We felt we could contribute something that
made more of a permanent difference rather than just one great
So we set about developing simple and accessible
techniques that addressed the psychological barriers holding back
the teaching of music creativity: eg feeling I am not qualified
to do or teach this, fear and anxiety of being put on the spot
and sounding 'bad', being overloaded by the challenges of being
creative while playing an instrument in front of an audience,
the feeling that if I can't do this to a professional standard
then I can't teach it.
We looked deeply at the process of music
creativity, how it happens in the brain, and the reasons why your
brain can overload and the process can become unpleasant and threatening.
From this work we have developed simple, fun, and age-appropriate
techniques that we have tested extensively in our own teaching
and that really work"
Some of the central ideas in the Apple Banana
Carrot Method are:
1) Use of Brain
We believe everyone has the same amount of BR. They are used for:
• using concepts
• motor skills (conscious to unconscious)
• social factors (dealing with anxiety)
• memory (conscious to unconscious)
• listening/singing/playing an instrument
Asking students to do too many tasks at once
(eg be creative while playing an unfamiliar instrument) requires
more brain resources than are available and causes 'Brain Overload
in Public' BOIP. BOIP = Fear = BOIP. BOIP can be damaging and
can even put people off performance and creativity for life.
2) Teach Concepts:
• Use Intermediate Achievable Steps
• use the familiar to teach the new
• 'do' then 'name'
• learn through play/creativity
3) Teach Motor Skills
• conscious new movement becomes unconscious
familiar movement and uses fewer brain resources
• use IAS to overcome challenges
• be repetitive
4) Support Creativity
• Create a Safe/Fun dynamic
• Teach an understanding of Form - use it to create phrases!
• Restrict choice
• Split performer/creator roles
• Remove the technical challenge
• Repetition 'Rules'!
• Organise Small things into Large things
• Repeat Back results of creativity
• Avoid BOIP
5) Enjoy Performance
• Role Play to create a feeling of performance
• Encourage applause
• Practice performance skills
Is creativity appropriate for very young children.
All parents know that their children are born creative. At nursery
age, the challenge is to support children to develop and consolidate
early creative skills, and to retain this creative exploratory
outlook, as they enter into the social world and become self-conscious.
We see early creativity as:
• Imagining & pretending
• Making simple choices
• Learning to repeat things
• Combining simple elements into new things
• Enjoyment of performance