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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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Playing Beyond the Limits of Health: Loss and Regain of Hand Control in Professional Musicians Suffering from Musicians’ Cramp (Victor Candia)


Playing Beyond the Limits of Health: Loss and Regain of Hand Control in Professional Musicians Suffering from Musicians’ Cramp Summary Important insights into brain-behavior interactions have been gathered through research in the field of neuroscience. There is now compelling evidence to assume that important changes are needed in the way musicians select their learning strategies and practice behaviors. While professional musicians have a wide and profound experience-based knowledge on hand and finger behaviors, they generally base their learning strategies on tradition. These strategies expose musicians to unnecessary risk of developing hazardous work-related health problems. Focal hand dystonia in musicians, also termed “musicians’ cramp,” is a greatly feared condition that can lead to the termination of a musician’s career. The neurological disorder is characterized by a loss of control over individual finger movements, particularly during specific actions related to playing a given musical instrument. Apparently, changes in the functional organization of the brain are involved in the origins of focal dystonia. Based on this consideration, we have developed a successful task-specific treatment for the condition. Nevertheless, the burden is particularly difficult to treat and could probably be prevented when specific, research-grounded prevention and practice concepts are developed. For the future, it is expected that interdisciplinary work of professional musicians in tight cooperation with neuroscientists will give crucial impulses to prevent musicians’ maladies through optimized learning and practice strategies. Research on movement control Modern research on movement control has, to some extent, revealed the role of different brain...

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