Music and Memory / Recall Difficulties
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Abstract of a conference paper, reference: Connolly, C. (2002) Mental Skills to Optimise Musical Performance. In: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, Sydney, 2002. London.
The aim of this research project was to explore the benefits of and participants' experiences from the first two years of a three-year programme of Mental Skills Training at the Royal College of Music. The objective of the programme (named Zoning In) was to design and pilot a curriculum of mental training that drew on applied sports psychology techniques to enhance performance. Students took part in a programme with three distinct elements: (1) instruction on a range of basic mental rehearsal techniques in a classroom setting, (2) the use of performance profiling to establish performance goals and objectives for each students and (3) individual coaching sessions for application of mental techniques and performance profiling. In a follow-up qualitative review of the content of the training, students found the following techniques most useful: relaxation techniques; mental imagery involving skills rehearsal; mental imagery involving use of symbols for evoking qualities; performance profiling for self assessment and goal setting; and individual coaching for refining the training to target specific issues. They found less useful: verbal and associate word techniques; prioritisation processes; and mental imagery with a prescriptive or defined approach (e.g. putting distractions in a black box).
The whole paper is written up in the following link as a case study