Processes of Instrumental Learning: The Development of Musical Expertise

Susan Hallam and Alfredo Bautista

in The Oxford Handbook of Music Education, Volume 1

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199730810
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Processes of Instrumental Learning: The Development of Musical Expertise

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Music
  • Music Education and Pedagogy


Show Summary Details


This article explores the processes underlying learning to play an instrument. The processes underpinning the learning of a musical instrument require time, effort, and commitment, although the extent to which these are needed depends on the nature of the music itself and the particular cultural traditions that pertain in relation to its creation and performance. Widening participation in instrumental learning means that most learners will engage with music-making in the longer term as a recreational activity either through amateur music-making or as listeners. What they need to develop as a result of their learning is a love of music and the meta-cognitive skills that will support them throughout their lifetimes in whatever musical activities they choose to pursue. To reflect these changes, music educators need to consider what their curricular priorities should be. Learning is most enjoyable when what is to be learned is challenging (not too easy or too difficult) and there is a sense of achievement when it has been mastered.

Keywords: musical instruments; music learning; music education; music-making

Article.  7296 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Music Education and Pedagogy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.