Musical Excellence: Strategies and Techniques to Enhance Performance

Paperback | July 5, 2004

EditorAaron Williamon

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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 pioneeringinitiatives 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 ofconceptualizing 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 acareer 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 andenergy 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 formusical 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 performancetraditions that demand dedication and resilience, unique artistic vision, and effective communication.

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From the Publisher

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 pioneeringinitiatives from across the arts and scienc...

Aaron Williamon is at Centre for the Study of Music Performance, Royal College of Music, London, UK.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9.45 × 6.61 × 0.73 inPublished:July 5, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198525354

ISBN - 13:9780198525356

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Table of Contents

Part I - Prospects and Limits1. A Williamon: A guide to enhancing musical performance2. R Chaffin and A F Lemieux: General perspectives on achieving musical excellence3. C B Wynn Parry: Managing the physical demands of musical performance4. G E McPherson and E Schubert: Measuring performance enhancement in musicPart II - Practice Strategies5. H Jorgensen: Strategies for individual practice6. J W Davidson and E C King: Strategies for ensemble practice7. J Ginsborg: Strategies for memorizing music8. S Thompson and A C Lehmann: Strategies for sight-reading and improvising musicPart III - Techniques and Interventions9. A H Taylor and D Wasley: Physical fitness10. E Valentine: Alexander technique11. J H Gruzelier and T Egner: Physiological self-regulation: Biofeedback and neurofeedback12. C Connolly and A Williamon: Mental skills training13. P N Juslin, A Friberg, E Schoonderwaldt and J Karlsson: Feedback learning of musical expressivity14. R West: Drugs and musical performanceEpilogue: a note on future directions for enhancing musical performance

Editorial Reviews

"Musical Excellence will serve as a valuable reference source for all those involved in the quest for enhanced performances. It should be very much welcomed by the music profession, including performers, teachers, students and researchers, as it offers a valuable foundation to inform empirically the training of practitioners for the achievement of artistic potential."--British Journal of Music Education