Some bits from Mónica López-gonzález introduction to her article for the Creativitypost.
While working with young jazz soloists, Miles Davis once said, “Play what you hear, not what you know.” Practice, experience, and sheer talent taught Davis that a personally and socially satisfying gig occurs when the ideas entering the musician’s imagination are developed through solo improvisations instead of ignored in favor of practiced patterns. Simply put, no one wants to pay for and hear a contrived performance. Both the fascination we have with the art of in-the-moment creation and the value we place on it continue to flourish.
A primary difference between our brains and those of other animals is our capacity to engage in cognitive abilities such as reasoning, representation, association, working memory, and self-reflection. During any creative act, from language production to marketing techniques selling the latest iPhone, ideas or past experiences are combined in novel and significant ways via the interaction of such cognitive capacities.
Humans appear to have a propensity for making complex new things that are not explicitly necessary for biological survival or reproduction. In comparison to other arts, such as design, photography, and sculpture, however, the universal abilities of musical creation and processing are generally accepted as some of the oldest and most fundamental of human socio-cognitive development. In fact, researchers have argued for music’s role in evolutionary biology. Scholar Ellen Dissanayake has further claimed from an ethnological stance that the creation and appreciation of art more generally are advanced adaptive behaviors that are key to social survival.
From Musical Creativity and the Brain at the Creativitypost.