Music Performance Science

Subject MUSI30219 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2015.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One 2-hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours


At least 75 points of level 1 subjects; musical background equivalent to at least AMEB grade 6.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting the requirements of this course are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Contact Centre
T: 13 MELB (6352)

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
VCA and MCM Student Centre

Subject Overview:

This subject addresses all levels of music performance science by critically examining psychological, sociological and scientific research related to performing and creating music. Attention is given to the sub-skills of music performance including processes involved when listening, sight-reading, practising, memorising, improvising and creating music, as well as structural communication, emotional communication, body movement, performance anxiety, and rehearsing and conducting with regard to various types of musical instruments and ensembles and in differing social contexts.

Learning Outcomes:

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

  • Distinguish between the main strands of contemporary research in performance science;
  • Understand the contributions that psychologists, acousticians, physiologists and physicians are making on contemporary understandings of music performance and music creation;
  • Make critical judgments about psychological, sociological and scientific literature related to appreciating, performing and creating music;
  • Appraise literature related to how optimum performance can be enhanced through greater understanding of research and its applications to the performance and practice of music; and
  • Explore different approaches and consider theoretical and methodological issues relevant to designing and conducting research in music performance science.

Attendance and active participation at seminar discussions and workshops (10%); Formulation of research question/issue that includes 1,000 word contextual information on why the study would benefit knowledge in the area (20%, due week 4); Development of research proposal of 4,000 words that includes problem statement, contextual information, literature review, and proposed methodology (50%, due end of semester); One written test on content covered in lectures (20%, week 9).

Prescribed Texts:


Recommended 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.

Williamon, A. (Ed.), (2004). Musical excellence: Strategies and techniques to enhance performance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Selected readings from various journals, including Psychology of Music and Muscæ Scientiæ.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

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 an applied context; and
  • The ability to produce and evaluate scholarly writing;
  • The ability to design an interdisciplinary research proposal.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Composition
Graduate Diploma and Certificate Elective subjects
Music Studies Electives
Related Breadth Track(s): Music, Mind and Wellbeing

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