The Creative Process: Risk-taking in an Interdisciplinary Honors Course

Heather Pinson and Monica VanDieren
Proceedings of Bridges 2012: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (2012)
Pages 515–518 Short Papers


This paper describes the integrated content and instructional components of a new college course, HNRS 3900 Math, Music, and Art, housed in Robert Morris University's Honors Program and co-taught by a mathematician and a musician. This seminar emphasized the creativity that drives advances in each discipline. We interwove material from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through thematic and chronological frames of reference, culminating in the cultural avant-garde and development of the digital computer. Assuming no particular mathematical or musical prerequisites, we used art (broadly defined) and hands-on-learning experiences to bridge the abstract worlds of theoretical mathematics and music theory. To appeal to those students with substantial mathematical and musical background, we presented advanced undergraduate material otherwise absent in our school's curriculum.