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ERIC Number: EJ932310
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jan
Pages: 31
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 52
ISSN: ISSN-0305-7356
From Child to Musician: Skill Development during the Beginning Stages of Learning an Instrument
McPherson, Gary E.
Psychology of Music, v33 n1 p5-35 Jan 2005
This article reports on a three-year longitudinal study with 157 children in school grades 3 and 4 (aged between 7 and 9 years), who commenced learning an instrument in one of eight school music programmes. The children were administered tests at the end of each school year to assess their abilities to perform rehearsed music, sight-read, play from memory, play by ear and improvise, and interviews were completed with the children's mothers in order to calculate how much practice they had accumulated on their instrument. Data were also obtained to help clarify the quality of mental strategies the children adopted when performing. Findings extend previous research on skill acquisition by proposing that conceptions based on the amount of practice undertaken or that focus exclusively on children's ability to reproduce rehearsed literature from notation are inadequate to understanding the early stages of instrumental development. It is proposed that a more coherent explanation comes from understanding the range of strategies children employ when performing and that the sophistication of children's mental strategies provides an important means for understanding why some progress effortlessly in contrast to others who struggle and fail. Conclusions highlight the importance of helping students to develop a repertoire of task-appropriate strategies that will enable them to think musically when performing challenging tasks on their instrument. (Contains 9 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A