Motor Skills, Motivation, and Musical Practice
The Path to Efficiency in Music Making: Contrasting Students with Mentors (Frank Heuser)
The Path to Efficiency in Music Making: Contrasting Stu- dents with Mentors The physical motions central to artistic music making are usually acquired under the direct guidance of an expert mentor who models desired out- comes and nurtures development the through use of metaphors. Although emerging musicians engage in countless hours of deliberate practice to refine and automate their performance skills, the processes involved in acquiring those skills are rarely analyzed objectively. The movements that both orchestral conductors and string players use to perform expres- sively are readily observable. However, teachers are often suspicious of applying any type of scientific analysis to what they feel should be an artistic endeavor. In spite of the availability of technologies that allow easy recording of the movements involved in conducting and string play- ing, the application of motion analysis to music pedagogy is an area that remains relatively unexplored. In both conducting and string playing, all technical aspects of perform- ing must be developed so that they are completely automated and highly efficient. Musicians must be able to concentrate on the communicative intent of the task at hand rather than on the mechanics involved in bring- ing the music to life. When the motor skills required for music making are under such control, expression rather than technique can be the major concern of the performer. Expert musicians should be able to make performance seem so effortless that audience members are unaware of the mechanics involved in music making. The motions in efficient auto-...
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