Category: Creativity

A Classical Evening With Hanser-McClellan

by Adam Kalwas


HM-Adam-WebWhile attending my first Knoxville Guitar Society concert, I found myself embedded in a quaint crowd of forty attendees sitting in the pews of the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan (located on 425 North Cedar Bluff Road). The evening’s entertainment featured classical guitarists John McClellan and Kirk Hanser performing as the Hanser-McClellan Duo. The event began with an introduction from the President of the Knoxville Guitar Society and fellow Knoxville Parent contributor, Michael K. Smith. After Smith’s warm welcome to the audience, McClellan and Hanser naturally entered onto the dimly lit stage. Read more →

Code-Writers Of TN: Developing A Smarter Tomorrow

by Knox County Schools, Great Schools Partnership, and United Way of Greater Knoxville


Hearing high school “code writers” talk shop is an experience with a virtual language, and now, using terms like JQuery, JSon, SSH, GitHub, SQL and others, these digital natives have the opportunity to solve real-world problems that can affect energy use, save lives, impact communities, and connect family members. Read more →

The Creative Role Of Reading Fiction

By Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



When I was a senior at West, my English teacher, Mrs. Hooper, had us read and study a book by Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren entitled Understanding Fiction. This text presented examples of well-known short stories with detailed critical commentaries. Brooks and Warren wanted a student to develop a deeper comprehension of fiction, so that the process of reading would change the student. Otherwise, there was little merit in offering an English course: “…if the views remain substantially unchanged, if the interests which [the student] brings to fiction in the first place are not broadened and refined, the course has scarcely fulfilled its purpose: the student has merely grown more glib and complacent in his limitations.” Current social science research extends Brooks and Warren’s vision: Reading fiction can actually increase empathy and help develop social skills. Read more →

PolandNow Again

 Knoxville’s second annual contemporary Polish festival 

                  By Michael Kull with photos by Edward Foley Photography


Being active can mean different things to different people: an active mind, and active body, active creativity, to name a few. This is why the many family-friendly public events that are taking place around Knoxville are great ways to get active. Rhythm and Blooms, the Dogwood Arts Festival, the Rossini Festival, and the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market on Market Square have all been great ways for families to actively spend quality time together. Read more →

An Elixir of Fun

Donizetti’s romantic comedy has and will entertain thousands

by Michael Torano, Knoxville Opera Marketing Director


Untitled-3Following the overwhelming success of its previous two seasons’ in-school performances, Knoxville Opera again brought a staged opera into schools this past month.  The performances in English of Donizetti’s romantic comedy The Elixir of Love including costumes, scenery, and props, ran from January 6th – 17th and was a part of Knoxville Opera’s robust annual $150,000 Education/Outreach Program.   Read more →

Teach Creativity

By Mike O’Hern, Center Director of Mathnasium of West Knoxville



I can’t remember what year it was, but Adam was in high school and Ali was in middle school. One Saturday morning they had decided to set up a zip line in the woods behind the house, so they went to Home Depot, bought some cable and hardware and proceeded to set up the zip line. They then (wisely, I thought) waited for me to get up to inspect it before actually trusting it with their lives. (I’m proud to say that I was able to okay it with no modifications.) Read more →

Music Makes Life Better

by Bill Jones, Owner of Bill Jones Music



From the comfort of your favorite hymn to the top tapping patriotism of a Marching Band, Music makes life better. Even more, making your own music can be a life changing experience. While you are never too old to learn, there are significant advantages of starting a child in music at a very early age.

Dr. Edwin Gordon, Distinguished Music Professor in Residence at the University of S. Carolina explains why the early study of Music is so important: “…Numerous neurologists, pediatricians, and psychologists associated with universities and research institutes have learned that there are critical periods associated with surges of neurological connections and synapses that take place during early childhood.

“Research indicates that if a very young child has no opportunity to develop a music vocabulary, the brain cells that would have been used to establish that sense will be directed elsewhere at the expense of this aural sense. No amount of compensatory education at a later time will be able to completely offset this handicap.”

That’s why we decided to offer two different programs to start children early in their musical development. Our Music Together program for ages one and two is scientifically designed to help babies experience rhythms and sounds through simple singing and rhythm making.

Then, at Age 3, children begin Yamaha Music School, which is a worldwide program developed by the Yamaha Music Foundation and is acclaimed for teaching not just piano and keyboard skills but also sight singing, improvisation, composition, ensemble playing and music theory. YMS has one of the best retention rates in our industry.

In our experience, these programs are extremely successful, and, because practice instruments are not needed until age 4, parents can start their children in a Yamaha Music School program for very little cost. When instruments are needed, rental costs are low (as little as $10 per month for a keyboard).

You can see just how creative the YMS program is by going to and clicking on the JOC box (Junior Original Composition). You will be amazed by the young people performing their own compositions. You can also see a sample YMS Class.


Bill Jones is owner of Bill Jones Music. Started in 1973, the company has grown into the largest piano dealership in East Tennessee with stores in Knoxville , Nashville and Chattanooga. For more information about the Yamaha Music School curriculum, contact Marjorie Jones: (865) 690-6465 or stop by our store for a tour.

Gifts Of Creativity

 The Fantasy of Trees makes giving beautiful

                   By Michael Kull

Untitled-13The 28th annual Fantasy of Trees took place at the Knoxville Convention Center from November 27 through December 1, with the proceeds benefitting East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. The event has grown steadily since this Knoxville tradition started in 1985, and has raised more than $6.3 million to provide much-needed medical equipment for children served by East Tennessee Children’s Hospital throughout its 28 year history. Read more →

Homemade Bottle Bouquets

 Giving thanks with creativity and awareness

                   By Michael Kull


Katherine found out that her grandmother was going back to the hospital. It had been three years since the doctor’s had given her grandmother a diagnosis of cancer, and after aggressive treatment it looked like she had successfully fought back. But now it looked like the cancer was sneaking back up on her.

Faced with two dilemmas: How to thank the doctors and nurses and what to do with all those empty water bottles and Halloween candy, Katherine had a creative spark. Read more →

The Art of Education

The study of music teaches more than just notes

By Rachel Brown, Knoxville Opera Intern

KnoxOpera-Oct2013The Ancient Greeks believed that music had a profound effect on the human body, personality and way of life. Music was thought to be a reflection of the balance of the universe. They regarded it so highly that it was included in the core curriculum that every person studied. Everyone in the society had an intimate knowledge of music and its influence. The Greeks had it right. We, as Americans, take pride in the fact we have a democratic government, and that we got this idea from such ancient peoples. Why, then, do we not follow the Greeks’ example in their reverence toward music? Most Western music that we have today has Greek roots-clearly they were doing something right. Read more →