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Musicians in the MakingPathways to Creative Performance$
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John Rink, Helena Gaunt, and Aaron Williamon

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199346677

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199346677.001.0001

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Learning to perform

Learning to perform

from ‘gifts’ and ‘talents’ to skills and creative engagement

(p.7) 1 Learning to perform
Musicians in the Making

Jane W. Davidson

Gary E. McPherson

Oxford University Press

To perform any skilled activity to expert level requires committed and intensely motivated learning. This chapter explores how musical development, particularly as it applies to learning an instrument, depends crucially on inventive and productive opportunities that coalesce in configurations unique to each learner. It reveals how an obsession with gifts and talents on the parts of researchers, teachers, parents and musicians alike has led to confusion over the nature and acquisition of the skills required for high-level music performance. It traces key theories on family scripts and self-determination to illustrate the ways in which psychological constructs shape belief and thus motivate learning. Environmental catalysts such as practice support and opportunity for creative expression offer additional significant influences. These factors are shown to align with intrapersonal characteristics and are described as syzygies, or inventive configurations, that provide pathways to committed music learning.

Keywords:   gifts, talents, motivation, family scripts, self-determination, creative expression, syzygies

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