The Science & Psychology of Music Performance: Creative Strategies for Teaching and Learning

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Richard Parncutt, Gary McPherson
Oxford University Press, 2002 - Music - 388 pages
4 Reviews
What type of practice makes a musician perfect? What sort of child is most likely to succeed on a musical instrument? What practice strategies yield the fastest improvement in skills such as sight-reading, memorization, and intonation? Scientific and psychological research can offer answers to these and other questions that musicians face every day. In The Science and Psychology of Music Performance, Richard Parncutt and Gary McPherson assemble relevant current research findings and make them accessible to musicians and music educators. This book describes new approaches to teaching music, learning music, and making music at all educational and skill levels.

Each chapter represents the collaboration between a music researcher (usually a music psychologist) and a performer or music educator. This combination of expertise results in excellent practical advice. Readers will learn, for example, that they are in the majority (57%) if they experience rapid heartbeat before performances; the chapter devoted to performance anxiety will help them decide whether beta-blocker medication, hypnotherapy, or the Alexander Technique of relaxation might alleviate their stage fright. Another chapter outlines a step-by-step method for introducing children to musical notation, firmly based on research in cognitive development. Altogether, the 21 chapters cover the personal, environmental, and acoustical influences that shape the learning and performance of music.

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Have considered using this as one of several texts for Brass Pedagogy course. Read full review

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About the author (2002)

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Richard Parncutt is associate professor of systematic musicology at the University of Graz. He is the author of Harmony: A Psychoaccoustical Approach, and many research articles on the perception of harmony, tonality, and rhythm. He is also an internationally experienced pianist and piano teacher. Gary McPherson is associate professor of music education at the University of New South Wales. He has served as treasurer of the International Society for Music Education and national president of the Australian Society for Music Education. As a trumpeter, he has performed with several of Australia's leading ensembles.

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