MARGARET ALLEN

Margaret Allen was one of those lucky few who were able to live, work and study with Martha Russell at her seaside home. After Mrs. Russell died in 1951, Margaret Allen played a key role in allowing for continued Creative Motion study by sponsoring a week-long workshop at her estate near Berea, Kentucky. The annual workshop "Windswept" still bears the name of Margaret's mountain-top home. Through her efforts and the work of countless others, Creative Motion study has been passed from teacher to student through the years, and continues to this day.

 

In her early years, Margaret moved into the world of music in a natural creative way. Previous to any professional training, at the age of five, she was improvising on the piano, intuitively expressing four part harmony, and rounding out the tonal meanderings with a certain amount of phrase form. Her first teacher, the then noted Mrs. Crosby Adams of Chicago, was a pioneer in the imaginative and creative approach to music training. 

 

This study, of course, nurtured Margaret's inherent musical interest. Soon after her lessons began she startled her father (sitting next to her in church) by singing the harmonic structure of the hymns rather than the words. “Quiet now,” he would whisper. Later, at the age of ten, she organized a club in Oak Park, where she lived, teaching her interested peers to improvise. 

Oberlin College and the University of Wisconsin left their strengthening stamp upon her: but she was always haunted by the wonderment of why music moved as it did? What was the inner necessity that made the rules of music effective? No answers ever seemed to satisfy her.

While she was teaching Interpretive Dance and Drama in Evanston, she met Martha Russell and became acquainted with the Creative Motion principle of involving the whole self in order to truley experience a piece of music. At last dance, drama, rhythm, melody and harmony moved together in a wholeness of expression for her.

After marrying John Milton Allen they moved to Scarsdale, NY. Here she taught in her private studio for sixteen years, inspiring the students to hear inside that which the music actually wanted them to hear on the outside. The response and the results justified the approach.

Following the death of her husband and after her daughter and son had left home, she chose to transplant herself to a college campus. Berea College invited her to teach in the music department where she has taught for twenty five years, interrupted only in order to get a Masters from Stanford University. She eventually became Professor of Humanities and Piano, but it was always Creative Motion that guided her teaching.

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