Performance Pedagogy

Subject MUSI90135 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A total of 24 hours (4 days x 6 hours per day).
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours (including non-contact time)





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Contact Centre
T: 13 MELB (6352)

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
VCA and Music Student Centre

Subject Overview:

Students will study the practice of performing and teaching instrumental and vocal music from an evidence-based perspective. A wide range of psychological issues that are of interest to musicians and music educators will be examined, with the aim of challenging participants to consider new ways of thinking about performing and teaching music performance as a result of having developed informed approaches to their own (and others) musical development.

This subject can be taken as a single subject via the Community Access Program, or for credit towards the Master of Music Studies degree. Further information regarding the Community Access Program and Application forms can be accessed via this website -

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • Become acquainted with the main strands of contemporary research in music performance science and music psychology;
  • Understand concepts of skill acquisition as these apply to learning to perform music;
  • Examine relationships between a performer and/or composer and his/her audience;
  • Understand how ideas and emotions are transmitted to an audience;
  • Discuss theories concerning expertise development and developmental processes relevant to performing music at the highest level;
  • Reflect critically on relevant areas of their own professional practice in light of their newly acquired knowledge of performance science and music psychology;
  • Become equipped with the knowledge necessary to understand how researchers design, investigate and report on performance science and music psychology research; and
  • Become aware of how optimum performance can be enhanced through a greater understanding of research and its applications to the performance and practice of music.

Attendance and contribution to seminar discussion and workshops (10%); a critical appraisal of 1,000 words on one dimension of research in performance science or music psychology (25%), due two weeks after the final class; teaching presentation on Day 4 concerning the topic of the critical appraisal (25%), and; a 4,000-word critical annotated bibliography of research in two different areas of performance science or music psychology, chosen by the student (2,000 words each, 40% total), due 6 weeks after the final class.

Prescribed Texts:
  • Parncutt, R., & McPherson, G. E. (Eds.), (2002). The science and psychology of music performance: Creative strategies for music teaching and learning. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • McPherson, G. E. (2006), (Ed.). The child as musician: A handbook of musical development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Hallam, S., Cross, I., Thaut, M. (2009). The Oxford handbook of music psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Williamson, A. (Ed.), (2004). Musical excellence: Strategies and techniques to enhance performance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Colwell, R., & Webster, P. (Eds.). (2009), Handbook of Research on Music Learning. New York: Oxford University Press.

A reading package consisting of the most important chapters from the above texts as well as articles from relevant journals will be distributed prior to the first class.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject, students will have enhanced the following generic skills:

  • The capacity to subject concepts, beliefs and habits of thought and action to critical scrutiny and evaluation;
  • The capacity to subject concepts, beliefs and habits of thought and action to the applied context; and
  • The ability to produce and evaluate scholarly writing.
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Music Studies

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