Categorizations of physical gesture in piano teaching: A preliminary enquiry

The following taken from Communicating musical knowledge through gesture: Piano teachers’ gestural behaviors across different levels of student proficiency. (Psychology of Music, SAGE Journals).

Abstract

The significance of the “physicality” involved in learning to play a musical instrument and the essential role of teachers are areas in need of research. This article explores the role of gesture within teacher–student communicative interaction in one-to-one piano lessons. Three teachers were required to teach a pre-selected repertoire of two contrasting pieces to three students studying piano grade 1. The data was collected by video recordings of piano lessons and analysis based on the type and frequency of gestures employed by teachers in association to teaching behaviours specifying where gestures fit under (or evade) predefined classifications. Spontaneous co-musical gestures were observed in the process of piano tuition emerging with similar general communicative purposes as spontaneous co-verbal gestures and were essential for the process of musical communication between teachers and students. Observed frequencies of categorized gestures varied significantly between different teaching behaviours and between the three teachers. Parallels established between co-verbal and co-musical spontaneous gestures lead to an argument for extension of McNeill’s (2005) ideas of imagery–language–dialectic to imagery–music–dialectic with relevant implications for piano pedagogy and fields of study invested in musical communication.

Conclusion

The findings of this study revealed that the instrumental teaching context not only makes use of spontaneous co-verbal gestures, but also avails from a set of gestures, that in analogy to co-verbal gestures have here been termed spontaneous co-musical gestures. Whilst McNeill’s (1992, 2005) spontaneous co-verbal gestures provide a relevant conceptual basis for theorizing the interactional communication between teacher and student, spontaneous co-musical gestures were ubiquitous and an essential element in the process of musical communication between teachers and students. Moreover, teachers were observed as employing both spontaneous co-verbal and co-musical gestures simultaneously and in some cases independently for the achievement of specific music instrumental pedagogical ends.

The strongly significant and moderate effect size of the correlation between teaching behaviour and gesture types suggests that there is a relationship between the didactic intention of the teacher and the forms of gesture they use to communicate information to the student. The nature and effectiveness of this relationship should be a subject of further investigation. Such a step might help in the development of teaching strategies alongside factors such as students’ ages and skill levels.

The communicative parallels established between co-verbal and co-musical spontaneous gestures can have important implications for piano pedagogy and fields of study invested in musical communication by instigating new lines of enquiry, promoting empirically based practical and useful knowledge for practitioners. These findings are specific to the context of the Western classical music tradition and considerations of other musical cultures in which music notation may be regarded differently demand their own specific contextual approaches.

 
Source: Lilian Simones, Franziska Schroeder, and Matthew Rodger

Categorizations of physical gesture in piano teaching: A preliminary enquiry

Psychology of Music. January 2015 43: 103-121, first published on October 8, 2013 doi:10.1177/0305735613498918

UC MERCI Project Wins $300K Award for Music and Science Research

UC MERCI

Scott Makeig, research scientist and director of the Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience at the Institute for Neural Computation of UC San Diego, has brought together a research group from four UC campuses who have won a $300,000 President’s Research Catalyst Award, one of five such awards across the UC system announced by President Janet Napolitano.

The group’s research, which uses music to understand the human brain, “brings together UC experts on music listening, performance, neuroscience, brain imaging, and data science to understand the transformative potential of music for health and cognition,” says Napolitano’s announcement.

Makeig and his colleagues are among the first to receive the new awards, which will channel $10 million over three years to fund research in areas of strategic importance, such as sustainability and climate, food and nutrition, equity and social justice, education innovation, and health care.

“It’s gratifying to know our work on the frontiers of music, systems neuroscience, and human experience has been recognized for its potential value,” said Makeig. “I’m especially pleased for my collaborators. This is a true team effort by scientists from different disciplines with common interests in musical experience and communication.”

His winning project proposes “an American center for the scientific study of musical experience, communication, and behavior.” The UC Music Experience Research Community Initiative (UC MERCI) will allow UC researchers to share cutting-edge resources and collaboratively develop methods to understand – and enhance – music’s ability to affect and even transform the human mind.

Working with Makeig on the project are John Iversen, Sarah Creel, and Gert Lanckriet of UC San Diego; Ramesh Balasubramaniam, UC Merced; Petr Janata, UC Davis; and Mark Tramo, UCLA. Under the initiative, a group of graduate students will work together across the four campuses. California music-industry groups may also be involved.

“The study of musical experience and communication is truly interdisciplinary,” said Makeig. “For centuries, humanists and scientists have studied music and language from different angles and for varied purposes at conservatories and universities around the globe. We now have an opportunity to gain new understanding by using new scientific tools including brain imaging and computation.”

“A thorough and systematic study of music cognition requires a truly multidisciplinary effort, bringing together neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science, linguistics, medicine and, of course, music. While the UC system has much invested in individuals, technologies, and methodologies for studying each of these separately, a systematic interdisciplinary effort to tackle music-cognition problems could enable UC to attain worldwide prominence in these research areas.”

 

Above information taken directly from full press release by Paul K. Mueller, which may be found here.

More information on MERCI may be found here.

The causal inference of cortical neural networks during music improvisations

12.09.2014
The causal inference of cortical neural networks during music improvisations

Wan X1, Crüts B2, Jensen HJ1 
1 Department of Mathematics and Centre for Complexity Science, Imperial College London, London, UK; 2 Brainmarker BV, Molenweg 15a, Gulpen, The Netherlands

“We present an EEG study of two music improvisation experiments. Professional musicians with high level of improvisation skills were asked to perform music either according to notes (composed music) or in improvisation. Each piece of music was performed in two different modes: strict mode and “let-go” mode. Synchronized EEG data was measured from both musicians and listeners. We used one of the most reliable causality measures: conditional Mutual Information from Mixed Embedding (MIME), to analyze directed correlations between different EEG channels, which was combined with network theory to construct both intra-brain and cross-brain networks. Differences were identified in intra-brain neural networks between composed music and improvisation and between strict mode and “let-go” mode. Particular brain regions such as frontal, parietal and temporal regions were found to play a key role in differentiating the brain activities between different playing conditions. By comparing the level of degree centralities in intra-brain neural networks, we found a difference between the response of musicians and the listeners when comparing the different playing conditions.”

For our Italian friends:

Gli Autori presentano uno studio EEG da due esperimenti di improvvisazione musicale. Ai musicisti professionisti, con un grande livello di capacità di improvvisazione, veniva chiesto di eseguire musica composta o di improvvisare. Ogni pezzo musicale veniva eseguito in due modalità differenti: “preciso” e “rilassato”. I dati di sincronizzazione EEG sono stati registrati sia sui musicisti sia sugli ascoltatori. Gli Autori utilizzano una delle più attendibili misure di causalità, l’Informazione reciproca da embedding misto (MIME) condizionale, per analizzare le correlazioni dirette tra differenti canali EEG, che sono stati combinati con la teoria dei network per costruire circuiti sia intra-cerebrali che cross-cerebrali. Sono state identificate differenze nei network intra-neurali tra la musica composta e l’improvvisazione e tra il modo “preciso” e il modo “rilassato”. Particolari regioni cerebrali come quella frontale, parietale e temporale sono state identificate come regioni chiave nella distinzione delle attività cerebrali tra le differenti condizioni di esecuzione. Comparando i diversi gradi di centralità nei network intra-cerebrali, si è riscontrata una differenza tra la risposta dei musicisti e quella degli ascoltatori quando si comparavano le differenti condizioni di esecuzione.

For full article, please visit Cornell University Library.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Biennial Meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition

SMPC

 

The biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition will be held at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, on August 1-5, 2015.

Submissions are welcome from a broad range of disciplines, including (but not limited) to Psychology, Neuroscience, Medicine, Education, Engineering, and Musicology. Abstracts for presentations should be no longer than 300 words and should describe the motivation, methodology, results, and implications to the degree that this information is available at the time of submission.  Empirical contributions should refer to the stimuli/corpus, methodology, and data collected.  Theoretical contributions are also welcome, provided that the connection to music perception and cognition is underscored through discussion of aims, methods, and/or results. Abstracts for proposed symposia are welcome and should include individual abstracts as well as a brief description of the theme.

Abstracts can now be submitted as follows:

  1. Prepare your abstract using this template smpc2015abstracttemplate. Formatting requirements are here:http://smpc2015.weebly.com/submitting-an-abstract.html
  1. Register as a new User and Create a CMT account for SMPC conference here:https://cmt.research.microsoft.com/SMPC2015
  1. Go to the drop-down menu “Select Your Role” and choose “Author”. Then click on “Create a new Paper submission” in the Author Console.
  1. Enter in the required information and upload formatted abstract.

Deadline for submissions is 11 pm CDT on February 2, 2015.

Chill-inducing music enhances altruism in humans

Chill-inducing music enhances altruism in humans                                                                                                                                       Frontiers in Psychology, published online October 2014

Fukui H, Toyoshima
Faculty of Education, Nara University of Education, Nara, Japan

Music is a universal feature of human cultures, and it has both fascinated and troubled many researchers. In this paper we show through the dictator game (DG) that an individual’s listening to preferred “chill-inducing” music may promote altruistic behavior that extends beyond the bounds of kin selection or reciprocal altruism. Participants were 22 undergraduate and postgraduate students who were divided into two groups, the in-group and the out-group, and they acted as dictators. The dictators listened to their own preferred “chill-inducing” music, to music they disliked, or to silence, and then played the DG. In this hypothetical experiment, the dictators were given real money (which they did not keep) and were asked to distribute it to the recipients, who were presented as stylized images of men and women displayed on a computer screen. The dictators played the DG both before and after listening to the music. Both male and female dictators gave more money after listening to their preferred music and less after listening to the music they disliked, whereas silence had no effect on the allocated amounts. The group to which the recipient belonged did not influence these trends. The results suggest that listening to preferred “chill-inducing” music promotes altruistic behavior.

T1

Table 1 – Mean allocation of each stimuli.

And for our Italian friends:

La musica è una caratteristica universale tra gli esseri umani, che da anni affascina e intriga i ricercatori. In questo studio i ricercatori dimostrano, attraverso il gioco del dittatore (DG), che quando un individuo ascolta la sua musica preferita, quella che induce i brividi, viene spinto verso comportamenti altruistici che vanno al di là del clan di appartenenza o dell’altruismo reciproco. Hanno partecipato allo studio 22 giovani tra studenti e laureati divisi in due gruppi, il gruppo “interno” e il gruppo “esterno”, e agivano da dittatori. I dittatori ascoltavano musica di loro gradimento o musica che non gradivano, oppure silenzio, prima di agire da dittatori. In questo esperimento ai dittatori veniva dato denaro reale che non potevano però tenere, ma che dovevano distribuire ai riceventi, presentati come immagini stilizzate di uomini e donne sullo schermo di un computer. I dittatori giocavano al DG sia prima sia dopo avere ascolto la musica. Sia i dittatori uomini che donne elargivano più denaro dopo avere ascoltato la loro musica preferita e meno dopo avere ascoltato musica sgradita, mentre il silenzio non aveva alcun effetto sulle somme che venivano allocate. Il gruppo al quale il ricevente apparteneva non influenzava questo trend. Gli Autori concludono che l’ascolto della musica preferita incoraggia comportamenti altruistici.

Fukui, H., & Toyoshima, K. (2014). Chill-inducing music enhances altruism in humans. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1215. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01215

For complete article, please see Frontiers in Psychology.

Editorial note: The views of the following statement contained in the full article, As is widely known, music has the ability to strongly affect a person’s emotions and sometimes even control them (Juslin and Sloboda, 2010),” does not necessarily represent the views of Pathways in Music.

Personal preferred ‘chill-inducing’ moment, in total recollection, occurs in the following piece, 3:32

Hope through Community in Music: Introducing Superbands

Introducing Superbands, a non-profit movement dedicated to helping those who struggle with depression, self-harm, eating disorders, thoughts of suicide, and other mental illnesses. Through the shared love of music, Superbands aims to encourage hope and positivity, and to remind people that they are not alone.

I’d love to share with you the words of my friend and founder of Superbands Jessica Villa, whose similar vision has been a significant encouragement in my own journey in music and suicide prevention advocacy.

Even at twenty two years olda recent college graduateI still feel like life is so quickly whirling around that I can barely keep up. While things are constantly changing around me (which can be quite overwhelming) one thing that has never changed is my passion for music. From a young age, I learned that music can heal the broken and give people a means of escaping their troubles, realizing that they are not alone. As I learned to battle my own inner demons growing up, I developed a vision to create a community of people all over the world who believe in the power of music. A community of hope. Thats where Superbands was born: a nonprofit movement dedicated to helping those struggling with depression, self-harm, other mental illnesses, or simply feeling lost. Through the shared love for music, we aim to encourage hope and positivity, and to remind people that they are not alone.

If you looked time back to 2006, you would likely find fourteen-year old me screaming at the top of my lungs at a dimly-lit Jonas Brothers concert, wearing a tour t-shirt plastered with the faces of the three brothers. In the midst of being an awkward pre-teen with an obsession with music, I was struggling with being bullied at school; the taunts of my peers echoing through the halls on a daily basis. This verbal abuse led to depression, self-loathing, and downright disgust every morning when I saw myself in the mirror. Struggling with self-hate for years, there were multiple days where life got so difficult that I considered attempting suicide.

It was around this time that I spent all my free time listening to my favorite songs on a hand-me-down CD player, miserably held together with medical tape from my mom’s cabinet. I awaited the final bell to echo through the school hallways so I could drown out everything around me just by putting on my headphones. The stress of schoolwork, the taunts of bullies, the loneliness I felt after moving to a new town, the perils of growing upit all disappeared. Nothing else mattered except the music. I refused to take my own life and give up. I wanted to go to more concerts, listen to my favorite songs, and meet my musical idols. Because of this, I firmly believe that these songs and these bandsthough they did not know my name or my facesaved my life.

While most kids my age played sports or got involved in after-school clubs, the fear of being further tormented by my peers kept me at home everyday. Buried underneath the covers with my CD player, I felt alone, like no one understood me or my passion for music. Concerts were the only place where I truly felt happiness. Why did I feel so at home in these dark venues, surrounded by these complete strangers?

It was because we were united, connected by the music.

It was something that is nearly impossible to explain in words. Hundreds, thousands, of people singing along to songs that I sang along with in my bedroom alone. People’s eyes twinkled with hope as they sang, faces glimmering with amazement. We were in the same vicinity as our favorite musical artists, who jumped around on stage and played these songs just for us. Here we all were, people with the same passion for music, swaying to melodies that once only radiated from our headphones. It was like an island of misfit toys, with everyone finally finding a place where they belonged. We formed bonds, friendships that thrived on new albums and tour dates. We were a family of music loverssomething I had yearned to find for so long.

Today, there are so many ways to reach out to others thanks to social media. From Instagram to Twitter to Facebook to Tumblr, these different social media platforms allow us to interact with people worlds away, regardless of culture, religion, language, or sexual orientation. Barriers are breaking because of music. This is something that we could not do until now – sharing our favorite band photos on Twitter and Instagram, posting our most memorable concert experiences on Tumblr, talking to people about our favorite bands’ upcoming tour dates on Facebook. It’s surreal how much technology has grown in such a short amount of time.

Superbands was an idea that had been swirling around in my head for as long as I could remember. It wasn’t until I came back from college and saw my younger sister Jenna’s passion for music that I got flashbacks from my own awkward teenage years. My own passion for music never faded, but instead grew stronger. I wanted to create the network that I once longed for, somewhere that music lovers could find a place they belonged. Music inspires so many people to keep fighting to overcome obstacles, no matter how difficult their lives become. This passion for music is something that people shouldn’t be ashamed of; it should be something in which we we find comfort. It should be what breaks down those barriers to unite us.

And that’s what I wanted to do with Superbands. I want to connect us, so we can continue breaking down barriers.

For more information on Superbands, please visit http://www.superbands.org

Photo of band After Our Juliet 

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Learning and Teaching Music in the Twenty-First Century: The Contribution of Science and Technology

Submission deadline: December 15 2014.

Learning and Teaching Music in the Twenty-First Century:
The Contribution of Science and Technology
International Symposium
LTM21/AEM21
November 5 – 7, 2015
www.ltm21aem21.wix.com/colloque2015

Schulich School of Music, McGill University, and
Department of Music, Université du Québec à Montréal, Québec, Canada

The aim of this bilingual (English-French) conference is to bring together researchers from instrumental and music pedagogy as well as those from performance,  science performance and music practices to discuss the contribution of scientific research and technological advancements in music learning and teaching contexts in the twenty-first century.

We welcome submissions on any topic relating to learning and teaching of music cross-themed with science and technology, including (but not limited to):

Learning and teaching music – individual and collective settings – all levels/formal and informal settings
Instrumental practice
Control parameters – physiology, physics and psychology of instrumental practice
Traditional and augmented/hyper instruments
Performance and creativity
Learning and technologies
Music, health and well-being
The musician’s health and well-being
The benefits of music on health and well-being

The conference will include scientific presentations (talks, posters and discussion panels) from international researchers in Canada’s two official languages, English and French. This conference seeks to gather researchers, teachers and practitioners from across disciplines (music performance, collective and individual instrumental teaching, science of performance, musicians’ health, music learning and technology, etc.) to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and the development of evidence-based music pedagogy.

Three types of proposals associated with the topics listed above are welcome:
1.       Oral scientific communication;
2.       Scientific poster;
3.       Panel discussion.

For detailed guidelines, please see www.ltm21aem21.wix.com/colloque2015

Keynote speakers
Aaron Williamon, Director, Centre for Performance Science. Royal College of Music, London, UK.
Marc Leman, Director, Institute for Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music,  Ghent University, Belgium.
Wendy E. Mackay, Research Team Director IN|SITU at INRIA, Paris France