Practicing Perfection: Memory and Music Performance

Practicing Perfection: Memory and Music Performance

Tânia Lisboa
Royal College of Music, London, UK
& Roger Chaffin
Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut

How do classical musicians perform long programs from memory with note-perfect accuracy? To find out how, we have studied concert soloists as they prepare new works. Experienced performers have a mental map of the piece in mind as they play. The map tells them where they are and what comes next. Landmarks in the map are established during practice by thinking about particular features of the music so that later, during performance, they come to mind automatically. The map allows the soloist to monitor the rapid, automatic actions of playing and adjust to the needs of the moment. We will describe our research and Dr. Lisboa will perform two short works that we are currently studying: Prelude from cello suite No. 1 & Bourree from cello suite No. 3, by J.S. Bach.

Cellist Tânia Lisboa is widely acknowledged as one of Brazil’s foremost musical personalities with an international profile and an extensive range of recordings. She holds a PhD in performance and, in parallel to her solo career, she appears in masterclasses and lectures world-wide. Tânia Lisboa is a member of staff at the Royal College of Music, Center for Performance Science, in London.

Roger Chaffin is a professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut. His longitudinal case studies of experienced musicians provide a new way of understanding the cognitive processes involved in skilled performance.

Tuesday, April 10
12:30 pm-1:30 pm

University of Connecticut, Greater Hartford Campus, Library Building, Room 404
1800 Asylum Ave., West Hartford
Free and open to the public

Co-sponsored by: University of Connecticut Research Foundation, Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies Center for the Study of Perception and Action (CESPA), Community School of the Arts, Music Department, and Trecker Library

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