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

Article excerpt

The Science and Psychology of Music Performance: Creative Strategies for Teaching and Learning, by Richard Parncutt and Gary E. McPherson, (Eds.) Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002

Among practicing musicians and music teachers there is no shortage of opinion, shared in print or passed from one person to another, on just about any topic one might name related to the performance and teaching of music. The great performers and pedagogues are sought out for their wisdom and expertise. At the same time there is an abundance of research, written primarily by college professors of music education and psychology (and many times their graduate students) that has examined in some detail these same general areas. Eminent scholars are widely published, and in some circles, read. In practical fact the two sources of information, or ways of knowing about music and teaching, pay less attention to each other than the situation warrants (or the participants deserve). The extent to which research can inform practice, and vise versa, are at the heart of The Science and Psychology of Music Performance.

In the introduction to the book, editors Parncutt and McPherson address this issue as central to their rationale for creating something which is much more than another re view of the 1 iterature. The chapter authors were invited to contribute, and paired under specific headings, because as members of a duo they each bring a focus on either the practical or theoretical. It is true that many of these authors have expertise in both ways of knowing about music performance, but the editors have done a good job of developing teams of experts who are able to bring aprimary focus to bear on the task of working in concert with their partner. The result is a volume which comes as close as anything to date in providing understandable explanations of research and practical applications of results.

Three major area headings of the book are used to create the inevitable taxonomy. …