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

By Richard Parncutt; Gary E. McPherson | Go to book overview

2
Environmental Influences
HEINER GEMBRIS & JANE W. DAVIDSON

Environmental and genetic factors affect individual development from fetus to adult, both generally and in the case of music. We consider the difference between shared and nonshared environmental influences, and different types of interaction between the individual and environment. Parents, teachers, and peers strongly influence this development. Early nonverbal interactions between child and mother or caretaker, and parental support for music activities in childhood, seem to be of particular importance. These and other influences (e.g., exposure to music through the media) occur in the more general framework of the societal, historical, and generational context. Environmental conditions for musical development may be optimized by paying more attention to shared music experiences between child and parents (e.g., parent-baby singing), and exposing the child to a wide variety of music.

The origin of human abilities has been discussed since antiquity, and the possession and development of musical skills in Western culture has intrigued educationalists and psychologists for well over a century. Theories and beliefs about the relative influence of nature and nurture have dominated the discussion. When we assess the literature on the topic, it appears that dominant cultural ideologies have had a strong influence on the development and persistence of ideas about musical ability. For instance, it appears that the notion of genius that emerged in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is responsible for the fact that up to the present day in public opinion musical ability is often still considered to be a special gift that is relatively independent from environmental influences and learning processes. Biological evidence indicates that genetic factors influence general development in three broad ways: maturational staged development, physical capacity, and mental capacity (Bee, 1992; Plomin & DeFries, 1999). Clear examples of each can be found in musical contexts. For example, there is a gradual development of hand and eye dexterity as a child grows, so an

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • References xi
  • Part I - The Developing Musician 1
  • 1 - Musical Potential 3
  • References *
  • 2 - Environmental Influences 17
  • References *
  • 3 - Motivation 31
  • References *
  • 4 - Performance Anxiety 47
  • References *
  • 5 - Brain Mechanisms 63
  • References *
  • 6 - Music Medicine 83
  • References *
  • Part II - Subskills of Music Performance 97
  • 7 - From Sound to Sign 99
  • References *
  • 8 - Improvisation 117
  • References *
  • 9 - Sight-Reading 135
  • References *
  • 10 - Practice 151
  • References *
  • 11 - Memory 167
  • References *
  • 12 - Intonation 183
  • References *
  • 13 - Structural Communication 199
  • References *
  • 14 - Emotional Communication 219
  • References *
  • 15 - Body Movement 237
  • References *
  • Part III - Instruments and Ensembles 251
  • 16 - Solo Voice 253
  • References *
  • 17 - Choir 269
  • References *
  • 18 - Piano 285
  • References *
  • 19 - String Instruments 303
  • References *
  • 20 - Wind Instruments 319
  • References *
  • 21 - Rehearsing and Conducting 335
  • References *
  • Contributors 353
  • Author Index 363
  • Subject Index 373
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