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Art in Motion II

Motor Skills, Motivation, and Musical Practice

Adina Mornell

Musicians, dancers and athletes spend a tremendous amount of time and effort preparing for performance in the hope of success, aiming for certainty, flexibility and expressiveness. Their use of visualization, verbal labels, muscle energy, and emotion is often based upon intuition instead of knowledge. Art in Motion intends to fill this vacuum. Effective training and teaching hinge on motivation, self-regulation, useful feedback, and an understanding of perception, cognition, timing, motor skill learning, and automation. Information about empirical research concerning mental representations of movement and musical goals can drive the creative process, facilitating the artist at work. Innovative and intentional – purposeful and meaningful – techniques of practice are developed.

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In Search of a Movement Science for Musicians (Klaus Schneider)

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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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