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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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Principles of Practice for the Development of Skilled Actions: Implications for Training and Instruction in Music (Richard A. Schmidt)


Principles of Practice for the Development of Skilled Actions: Implications for Training and Instruction in Music a The goal of this symposium – the integration of (a) laboratory research in motor behavior and (b) the applications to, and implications for, high- level music instruction and performance – is an excellent one, in my view. The principles of learning worked out in the laboratory should, with some care, be applicable to just about any real-world activity (high- level sports, music, dance, therapy, etc.), and it is encouraging that those studying high-level music performance should be interested in what has been found in the laboratory. Also, I am not aware of any other attempts to bridge these two fields, and hopefully this effort will spur others to continue in this direction. But there are some major problems that must be addressed before one can confidently apply laboratory-based motor- learning principles to instruction in high-level music. Considerations in melding the motor-learning and musical areas First, there is the problem of measurement. Adina Mornell, our Symposium Organizer, has pointed out that, in high-level music, the audience absolutely expects these professionals to play or sing the correct notes flawlessly, with the correct pitch, and with the correct order and timing among them – no errors. In the laboratory, on the other hand, we chiefly rely on measures of error in producing the correct action, errors in timing the actions, and sometimes speed of the actions, and so on. But, if high- level musicians do not make...

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