Andreas C. Lehmann, John A. Sloboda and Robert H. Woody

in Psychology for Musicians

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780195146103
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199851164 | DOI:

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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

Chapter.  7649 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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