The improvising mind

Beschrijving van deze twee uitgaven is afkomstig van

  • Berkowitz, A. (2010). The improvising mind. Cognition and creativity in the musical moment.
  • Williamon, A. (2004). Musical excellence. Strategies and techniques to enhance performance.
The improvising mind:
The ability to improvise represents one of the highest levels of musical achievement. An improviser must master a musical language to such a degree as to be able to spontaneously invent stylistically idiomatic compositions on the spot. This feat is one of the pinnacles of human creativity, and yet its cognitive basis is not completely understood. What musical knowledge is required for improvisation? How does a musician learn to improvise? How is this knowledge used in performance? What are the neural correlates of improvised performance? In ‘The Improvising Mind’, these questions are explored through an interdisciplinary approach that draws on cognitive neuroscience, the study of historical pedagogical treatises on improvisation, interviews with improvisers, and musical analysis of improvised performances. Findings from these treatises and interviews are discussed from the perspective of cognitive psychological theories of learning, memory, and expertise. Musical improvisation has often been compared to ‘speaking a musical language’. While past research has focused on comparisons of music and language perception, few have dealt with the music – language comparison in the performance domain. In this book, learning to improvise is compared with language acquisition, and improvised performance is compared with spontaneous speech from both theoretical and neurobiological perspectives. Tackling a topic that has hitherto received little attention,The Improvising Mind is a valuable addition to the literature in music cognition. This book will be of interest to musicologists, music theorists, cognitive neuroscientists and psychologists, musicians, music educators, and anyone with an interest in creativity.
Musical Excellence:
Williamon has garnered the collective expertise of an impressive array of music scholars to produce a book of quality. Different chapters in the book will be variously useful for academics, teachers and both music research and performance students. It will be a worthwhile addition to all Conservatoria libraries. ( )

Musical Excellence is an inspirational collection of articles on achieving excellence in musical performance, based on empirical, cross-disciplinary research within the context of theories of human performance and cognition…it should be very much welcomed by the music profession, including performers, teachers, students and researchers, as it offers a valuable foundations to inform empirically the training of practitioners for the acievement of artistic potential (British Journal of Music Education Vol 23, No 1 )

The Williamon book, while providing excellent summaries of current research, is intended to influence the way in which musicians are trained and perform, and consequently should be read by music teachers and performers, as well as by those of us with an interest in music science. The relationship between researchers and professional performing musicians has been tenuous. The Williamon book seeks to bridge this divide by providing clear recommendations for practices that will improve musical performance along with a synopsis of the scientific basis for these recommendations. (Psychology of Music Vol 33, No 4 )

This is a book of high quality that provides a wealth of useful information for both practicing musicians and researches in music psychology and medicine. (Psychology of Music, Vol 9 )

A fascinating new book published by OUP. This is a collection of essays, edited by Aaron Williamon, about strategies and techniques designed to enhance performance. Some of the contributions are tough going but are rewarding. Performers at all levels will be interested (and probably helped) by the revelation of scientifically grounded ways of enabling them to achieve their potential artistically. Those who achieve greater control over their mental and physical state can often surpass their own expections. Musicians will be specially interested by the chapters on ways of avoiding the chronic pain and discomfort that seem to be inseparable from playing most instruments. Poor posture, bad practice technique and stress account for most of these ills… Music teachers should study this unusual – probably unique – book. Musical performance is a strenuous and demanding life, but ways of lessening the physical strain can only be welcomed and absorbed. (Sunday Telegraph )

A certain mystique has perhaps surrounded high-level musical achievement and this book dispels ambiguity, offering ideas that can direct all musicians to their best efforts. Individual practice strategies, memorizing, sight reading, improvisation and effective rehearsing are all addressed. Physical and mental fitness, pre-performance routines through selected relaxation and visualization techniques, the impact of drugs, expressivity, are appraised in the context of occupational stress… These studies clearly show that applied research can and does facilitate the musician’s quest for excellence and will continue to do so. Gone is the concept of the lofty musician in his gilded cage, guided by mysterious powers. In our quest towards lofty ideals we need first to understand the physicality and the psychology of what constitutes a musician. This pragmatic book guides us towards that goal. (To appear in future issue of Stringendo or the Australian Music Teacher )

Product description:
Musical Excellence offers performers, teachers, and researchers, new perspectives and practical guidance for enhancing performance and managing the stress that typically accompanies performance situations. It draws together, for the first time in a single collection, the findings of pioneering initiatives from across the arts and sciences. Specific recommendations are provided alongside comprehensive reviews of existing theory and research, enabling the practitioner to place the strategies and techniques within the broader context of human performance and encouraging novel ways of conceptualizing music making and teaching. Part I, Prospects and Limits, sets out ground rules for achieving musical excellence. What roles do innate talent, environmental influences, and sheer hard work play in attaining eminence? How can musicians best manage the physical demands of a profession that is intrinsically arduous, throughout a career that can literally span a lifetime? How can performers, teachers, and researchers effectively assess and reflect on performance enhancement for themselves, their colleagues, and their students? Part II, Practice Strategies, presents approaches for increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of practice. These are examined generally for the individual and ensembles and specifically for the tasks of memorizing, sight-reading, and improvising music. Musicians spend vast amounts of time and energy acquiring and refining their skills, but are there particular rehearsal strategies that they can employ to produce better performance results or to achieve the same results more quickly? What implication does existing knowledge of human information processing and physical functioning have for musical learning and practice? Part III, Techniques and Interventions, introduces scientifically validated methods for enhancing musical achievement, ordered from the more physical to the psychological to the pharmacological; however, they all address issues of both mental and physical significance for the musician. Collectively, they stand as clear evidence that applied, cross-disciplinary research can facilitate musicians’ strive for performance excellence. Throughout, the book highlights ways for musicians to make the most of their existing practice, training, and experience and gives them additional tools for acquiring and developing new skills. Each chapter is underpinned by physical and psychological principles relevant to all performance traditions that demand dedication and resilience, unique artistic vision, and effective communication.

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