When I took band for four years, it was so stressful to learn the fingerings and scales and then to be tested onthem every week. We had to play exactly what we say on the page.
Years later, I played a simple plastic recorder and would make up fun or beautiful melodies, all improv/freeflow. I remember the day when the idea hit me, what if I tried to freeflow on my complicated saxophone. I don't consider myself a musician but I had so much fun and passion. I wanted to play and learn all I could about playing the sax. I had found my reason for learning technique, it was so that I could learn to forget the rules and express and experiment with what was in my heart.
Being an art teacher now, I see the same predicament. I can teach technique up the wazoo and yet the kids may never know the possibility of releasing the voice and emotion of their heart through art.
I gotta teach both, but inspiration, experimentation and risk taking is harder to teach than technique in many ways.
How to tap into the inner emotion and personal voice? How to move past the critical voice of self and fear of others? These are important skills.