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Psychology for Musicians: Understanding and Acquiring the Skills Hardcover – Oct 15 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (Oct. 15 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195146107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195146103
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 3 x 15.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #500,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"This book is a much-needed reference and text for expanding our awareness and use of psychology's formative role in teaching, learning, and performing music. The authors begin by identifying folk wisdom that has guided performance and teaching practices in music. They then proceed to present and clarify the psychological principles that influence the various outcomes of music. The focus on musical skills ranges from musical memory to improvisation, with a unique closing to each chapter--a self-study that requires reflection on the material presented in the chapter and also on the implementation and explanation of our psychological knowledge in teaching, learning, and performing. The use of valid research studies as documentation makes this book a page-turner: the user will be reluctant to put it down."--Richard Colwell, co-editor The New Handbook of Research on Music Teaching and Learning, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois

"This book impressively bridges the gap between psychological insights into music making and the music practitioner's need for concise explanations. Its twelve readily comprehensible chapters and its innovative self-study exercises, study questions, and cultural contextualizations make it an ideal textbook for all musicians wishing to become informed performers and music teachers."--Reinhard Kopiez, Professor of Music Psychology, Hanover University of Music and Drama, Germany

"This book is written by three outstanding musicians active in the fields of psychology for musicians, teaching, and performing, working together as an interdisciplinary team. It provides a great source for students of psychology who are eager to know more about music and the mind, music making, and listening. It is the kind of book that musicians and performers will be referring to for years to come. Highly recommended."--Maurice Hinson, Senior Professor of Piano, School of Church Music and Worship, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

From the Publisher

1 halftone, 29 line illus., 2 music examples

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xb4144378) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa615481c) out of 5 stars Very Helpful for Teachers and Students Oct. 19 2008
By Peter L. Forte - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a formally trained pianist and clarinetist and an informally trained drummer I have found this book very insightful and informative. This book is very scientific and very real. Numerous studies have been cited and all the information is scientifically backed. This is what makes it so useful for teachers and students. Specific techniques and methods for teaching and learning are combined with a stimulating mix of philosophy and psychology.

From a book lover's perspective, this is not exactly an easy or fun read. I enjoy reading almost anything and I certainly enjoyed this book, however, if you're not a teacher, or someone who has a direct need to study teaching methodology, there are other books that are far more adventurous about the psychology of music and how our brains injest and interpret different aural stimuli. Two particularly fascinating books on this subject are "The Tao of Music," by John Ortiz, and "Music, the Brain, and Estacy," by Robert Jourdain.

As a former music major at the University of New Haven, I feel like this book should start appearing as a required text for many relevant college classes. Also, anyone building a library or a collection of books on music should have this book.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6154a68) out of 5 stars Psych for Musicians is one of the few comprehensive studies. April 5 2010
By Musician 35 - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a very detailed, comprehensive view of the music making process. It primarily refers to professional musicians, and the process by which they learn, memorize, play, compose, and improvise music. There is also some valuable information on performance anxiety that almost all musicians deal with. While it is great to finally see such detailed studies to "prove our worth" as musicians, this book is very wordy. A lot of what is said could have been shortened to a few paragraphs per topic, because, to the professional music, it is mostly common sense.
HASH(0xa6154a2c) out of 5 stars A solid overview that also acknowledges the full breadth of music. Oct. 6 2014
By MatthewT - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I use this as the primary text for a psychology of music course I teach (a graduate course for music educators). Full disclosure: I know two of the authors from their time at Florida State University. The book is excellent on several fronts: it is current with psychological research, and it includes the leading studies in the field without becoming bogged down in references. It is an easy read overall, which students appreciate. Cross cultural features occur throughout the text, often to point out alternatives to research which has tended to focus on understanding music from a Western classical standpoint. There's also good support for approaches to music that are becoming more important in schools: teaching to improvise, compose, and work with popular/informal/vernacular/democratic musics and pedagogies. The text is appropriately generous to the recent research in these areas, and also provides ample support for those interested in offering music education with a more generous conception of music.

I'm glad to have this book as a resource, and a reference. As the previous paragraph hints, this reviewer finds that much psychological research in music suffers from narrow conceptions of music, what Sloboda has called the "pharmaceutical model" of research. This book works well in putting forth the best of the psychological approach while situating this research within the larger world of music.
HASH(0xa6154f24) out of 5 stars Awesome supplemental resource April 17 2013
By KM - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a great resource. I am currently in a Psych of music class and it is helping a lot!