The present study aims to systematically describe mental practice (MP) in music memorization, with regard to individual differences in the use of different MP strategies and their performance outcomes. Sixteen pianists were studied while they memorized piano pieces. Each subject memorized two pieces, either via MP or physical practice (PP). In order to keep the setting as ecologically valid as possible within the experimental setup, we allowed subjects to freely apply their preferred MP strategies with the exception of physically playing a real piano. Practice and performances were video documented and expert rated; practice strategies were reported in researcher-developed questionnaires. The use of MP alone led to successful music learning. MP combined with PP produced results that were indistinguishable from those following PP alone. Pitch imagery and structural analysis were associated with better post-MP performance. Results are discussed in the frame of expert memory theory (Chase & Simon, 1973; Chaffin, Logan, & Begosh, 2009) and practical implications for musicians are provided.
the present study was designed to investigate differences in auditory and visual temporal information processing between musicians and nonmusicians. For this purpose, timing performance on a set of six different psychophysical temporal tasks for both the auditory and visual sensory modalities was compared in 40 formally trained musicians and 40 controls without musical experience. Across modalities, superior temporal acuity for musicians compared to nonmusicians could be shown for all temporal tasks except for temporal generalization. When comparing the two sensory modalities, temporal acuity was superior to auditory stimuli as compared to visual stimuli, with the exception of the temporal generalization task in the 1-s range. The overall pattern of our findings is consistent with the notion that musicians' long-lasting intensive music training, starting in childhood, improves general timing ability irrespective of sensory modality.
The present study was designed to examine the general notion that temporal information processing is more accurate in musicians than in nonmusicians. For this purpose, 36 academically trained musicians and 36 nonmusicians performed seven different auditory temporal tasks. Superior temporal acuity for musicians compared to nonmusicians was shown for auditory fusion, rhythm perception, and three temporal discrimination tasks. The two groups did not differ, however, in terms of their performance on two tasks of temporal generalization. Musicians’superior performance appeared to be limited to aspects of timing which are considered to be automatically and immediately derived from online perceptual processing of temporal information. Unlike immediate online processing of temporal information, temporal generalizations, which involve a reference memory of sorts, seemed not to be influenced by extensive music training.