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Psychology for MusiciansUnderstanding and Acquiring the Skills$
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Andreas C. Lehmann, John A. Sloboda, and Robert H. Woody

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195146103

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195146103.001.0001

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(p.25) 2 Development
Psychology for Musicians

Andreas C. Lehmann

John A. Sloboda

Robert H. Woody

Oxford University Press

This chapter further expounds on the scientific approach to musical ability, which treats music as a skill. This same approach is applied to the development of musical skills and helps refute various beliefs and opinions, especially regarding musical genius as an accident of birth. The evidence presented suggests that even babies display a diverse set of musically related aptitudes which exhibit a typical developmental progression throughout childhood. This development is independent of training and education. Other studies reveal that there are environments that can accelerate the rate of acquisition of music skills and that these can be provided by parents and caregivers. Predicting future musical success based on aptitude tests and “early signs of talent” is also found to be difficult, since this does not apply to some accomplished musicians. Lastly, parental support and dedicated practice are found to be more important than inherent talent.

Keywords:   scientific approach, music, musical skills, development, environment, talent

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