I am going to present results from my second experiment at Neuromusic VII from the 19th to the 22nd of June in Aarhus, Denmark 🌵
Accepted abstract: “The Sound of Teaching Music: Experts’ sound modulation for novices”
It has been shown that experts modulate their performance of actions for teaching purposes, performing slower and exaggerated movements when demonstrating novel actions to novices. Much less is known about teaching of artistic expressions through performance modulations.
This study investigated whether and how expert pianists modulate their playing to demonstrate to students piece-related musical expressions requiring specific techniques, compared to performing the piece with the same notated expressions but without didactic intentions. Expressions in the piece concerned either articulation (i.e., legato and staccato) or dynamics (i.e., forte and piano). The pianists played either with the goal to perform the piece to an audience or with the goal to teach students how to play the piece expressively.
Results showed that expert pianists made systematic and fine-grained sound modulations in order to teach expressive techniques to novices: When playing with the intention to teach articulation, they produced shorter staccato. When teaching dynamics, they produced louder forte and softer piano. Moreover, they exaggerated dynamics at structurally important points to create a larger contrast between forte and piano. These findings suggest that ostensive action modulations are performed not only to guide learners’ attention but to highlight the most relevant aspects of the actions to be learnt.