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Art in Motion

Musical and Athletic Motor Learning and Performance

Edited By Adina Mornell

Musicians tend to believe that the mystery of their art cannot be objectively studied, quantified, or explained. As a result, the term «motor learning» is rarely used in connection with musicians, and an empirical approach to musical performance is more the exception than the rule. Sports scientists, however, show a great interest in musicians because of their advanced skill level and the attentional and emotional demands of the concert stage. This work combines knowledge across disciplines. Advances toward an understanding of human behavior and cognition offer clues to strategies of motor learning and performance that promote the well-being of musicians and athletes. This book provides a forum for an interdisciplinary exchange of research, laying the groundwork for future projects.

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Art and Thought in Motion (Adina Morell)

Extract

Art and Thought in Motion Recently I found myself at an international symposium on music pedagogy being affectionately introduced as the odd duck. The organizer began with a few words about my stage experience as a classical concert pianist, and went on to describe my academic career as professor of instrumental and vocal pedagogy, but these two elements of my biography were not surprising. It was my third profession, that of scientist, that he was presenting as something … well … suspicious. “And she is a psychologist who studies physiology and motor learning,” he continued, picking up speed, “working with people in the sports sciences …” I felt the pressure of many eyes turning towards and focusing on me. Perhaps the others were trying to figure out how all of that fit into one 5 foot 2 package, when the announcer concluded “and conducting empirical research, collecting and analyzing data.” It was then that I heard an unidentifiable sound, perhaps a murmur, in the audience. Astonishment? Disdain? Skepticism? Nervousness? Maybe I should have worn a white lab coat. Was it my own imagination, or did the rest of this colorful crowd of musicians and music teachers feel that something set me apart from them? I felt their apprehension, their distrust. The majority of musicians just aren’t certain that art and science mix. Of course they do. About two years ago, I had quite a wonderful experience when I approached top researchers in the field of athletics, psychology, expertise, human factors, aviation and...

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