Motor Skills, Motivation, and Musical Practice
In Search of a Movement Science for Musicians (Klaus Schneider)
In Search of a Movement Science for Musicians “One of the most striking features of biological systems is their high degree of coordination between their numerous parts.” Haken, 1987, p. 11 Musicians depend on physical movements, and very often on a high degree of coordination to play music and communicate their musical ideas. To play music with its varying elements of rhythm, syntax, emotional expression, etc., inter- and intralimb movements have to be coordinated in a spatially and temporally precise manner. For example, playing the piano requires accurate bimanual coordination. And the acquisition of the motor skills to play the violin on an expert level requires many years of practice: A novice violinist has to master several tasks simultaneously, i.e., maintaining the right posture and correct playing position as well as performing appropriate bow movements with respect to amplitude and tempo while pressing the fingers of the other hand on strings at specific times and locations. However, among musicians – performing as well as teaching individuals – there seems to be little knowledge about the prin- ciples governing the movements of biological systems and motor skill learning, although during the last decades multidisciplinary research in movement science has highly emphasized these issues, and performers and teachers of music may benefit from these insights. In biological systems the motor ensemble consists of bones, muscles, joints, kinesthetic receptors and areas of the brain – and all of these parts must function as a unit in order to produce motion. A major problem, however, is to...
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