Mental practice in music memorization - an ecological-empirical study
Mental Practice (MP) refers to a complex network of strategies for improving musical performance without physically performing at the instrument. The present study represents an attempt to describe cross-individual differences in the use of different MP strategies, allowing direct predictions on which strategies are more likely to be effective. Sixteen pianists were studied while memorizing piano pieces. Each subject memorized two pieces of comparable length and difficulty, one by MP and the other by Physical Practice (PP), on two different days according to standardized protocols. During MP subjects were free to apply any practice strategies they preferred except for physically playing a real piano (ecological approach). Practice and performances were video-documented; performances were judged by independent expert raters. Participants reported their practice strategies in researcher-developed questionnaires. MP alone produced successful musical learning. MP, even combined with PP, produced poorer performance compared with PP alone. MP outcomes were significantly influenced by the strategies applied. These results directly impact on musicians’ daily schedule and managing of health-risk factors, since valuable performance results can be achieved by combining optimally designed mental practice with short physical practice focused on strengthening the internal representation of the piece. ...
ConferenceESCOM 2009 : 7th Triennial Conference of European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
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- ESCOM 2009