Motor Skills, Motivation, and Musical Practice
Practicing with Both Brain Hemispheres (Jürgen Beckmann et al.)
Practicing with Both Brain Hemispheres A musician has studied playing the piano for many years and practiced a piece of music for many hours but when she performs it in front of a large audience her performance is very poor. A soccer player has practiced the penalty shot a thousand times until it has become completely automated but when shooting the penalty shot that decides the world champion- ship it goes wide. Why does this failure occur and how can we prevent it? Those are the questions for which the present paper suggests some answers. We approach an explanation of this phenomenon of choking under pres- sure from the perspective of brain functions and critically challenge the common approaches to teaching motor tasks. Choking under pressure Baumeister (1984) defined choking under pressure as performance dec- rements under circumstances that increase the importance of good or improved performance. He proposed that pressure increases the con- scious attention to the performer’s own process of performance and that this increased conscious attention disrupts the automatic or overlearned nature of the execution. Masters (1992) refers to the conscious focusing on one’s own performance as “self-monitoring.” He postulated a “rein- vestment-hypothesis,” assuming that self-monitoring under pressure results in a “reinvestment” of explicit knowledge (or declarative knowl- edge) into the performance of an activity which has become automated, i.e., which is relying on procedural knowledge. This is reflected in explicit monitoring theories which link performance failure under psychological stress to an increase in attention paid to...
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