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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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Beating Time: The Role of Kinaesthetic Learning in the Development of Mental Representations for Music (Jane Ginsborg)


Beating Time: The Role of Kinaesthetic Learning in the Development of Mental Representations for Music Background: musicians’ mental representations When musicians perform from memory, they draw on mental representa- tions that can take a variety of forms: visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and/ or analytic. These enable musicians to give performances that are both stable, insofar as repeated renditions of the same work can be said to be the same, and flexible, insofar as performers are capable of respond- ing to changing demands, for example in the context of accompaniment (Lehmann & Ericsson, 1995). In a detailed study of a pianist preparing to perform Bach’s Italian Concerto over the course of 33 hours practice, Chaffin, Imreh and Crawford (2002) showed how mental representations are formed. Mental representations are for a specific piece of music; the same pianist had very different representations for the Italian Concerto and Debussy’s Clair de Lune (Chaffin, 2005). However it is clear from the findings of several longitudinal case studies that the nature of a musi- cian’s mental representations is also determined by the way he or she practices and rehearses. Perfomers studied in this way to date include a jazz pianist (Noice, Chaffin, Noice, Jeffrey, & Pelletier, 2004) and a cellist (Lisboa, Chaffin, Schiarella, & Barrera, 2004; Logan, Begosh, Chaffin, & Lisboa, 2007), as well as the singer whose practice, rehearsal and recall forms the basis of the research outlined in this chapter. While a great deal of research into the cognitive processes underlying musicians’...

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