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Psychology of Music, the pending subject

Psychology of Music, the pending subject

May 6, 2024

Art, entertainment, profession, business ... Music is a very significant part of our society and, being a subject traditionally undervalued in our schools, we have not hesitated to build a very powerful formal education environment around this discipline.

Schools, academies, conservatories and others are destined to fill the gap that music leaves in the education system and, depending on the aspirations of the student, you can choose from a more casual or recreational training to a more regulated one oriented towards the professional field.

However, when we reached a certain level of specialization, we found an increasing demand for execution, which entailed an increasing number of hours of classes and rehearsals, and what started as a hobby or the pending subject of the school, became in a high performance sport. As such, it can involve all those risks associated at the psychological level that we find in all sports.


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The demands of music training

On the one hand, a music student usually has to, by necessity, combine their musical training with their academic training and make no mistake: musical training is not a complement, but rather involves as much demand or more than a university degree (or much more, in the case of some races), and you still have to listen to that of "you study music ... and what else?".

And it is that, dedicate so much effort and time to music in a world that urges us to "not confuse" our "true" formation, together with the tremendous demand and competitiveness of some centers , implies a very high risk for intrinsic motivation, that is, to be able to guide our behavior towards music simply because we like it, which has as a consequence that many students leave early, staying on the road a lot of talent, and many others continue being able to develop another type of discomforts.


Manage stress and anxiety

In the first place, the demand for superior performance and dedication to what each one considers as "normal", can lead to the mental state that we know as stress . Stress is an adaptive response of the organism to a situation of change in the environment or of maximum demand, but without adequate management, it can extend for longer than evolution had calculated, and bring with it certain psychological consequences (anxiety disorders). , depression) and physiological (indigestion, muscle tension, headaches, back pain, etc.).


One of the psychological consequences of stress is anxiety, characterized by involuntary thoughts such as regrets ("I should have studied more", "I made a mistake too serious") or pessimistic expectations ("I'm going to make a mistake in this part", "I'm going to suspend "," I want it to end sooner ") that tend to be inter related to physical reactions (tremors, sweating, tachycardia ...).


The most ironic thing is that this state, in high doses, is very harmful when it comes to achieving high performance when performing any task, especially if it's playing a piece in public when we're playing a title , but what is most disheartening is that what we were passionate about earlier has given way to those negative feelings.


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Progress in music psychology

It is this situation that has caught the attention of psychologists on this medium, and although most of the work has consisted, at least in Spain, in investigating those optimal methods for teaching and learning music (constructive learning vs directive) ), more and more centers are interested in the mental training of their young musicians , a variable that had traditionally been left to chance and had served as a sort of tautological natural selection in the conservatories ("if you can not stand this, it's not worth the music").


Today more and more voices are raised to say no, that these variables are capable of being trained. A) Yes, there are certain techniques aimed at maintaining intrinsic motivation , based on the work with objectives and the perception of self-efficacy, techniques to combat anxiety, such as breathing and relaxation in the search for that optimal level of activation or techniques to handle that pressure that will always exist, but is in our hand regulate it, and we can do it through techniques such as exposure or cognitive restructuring, all with the ultimate goal of optimizing the experience and performance of not only our musicians, but also our dancers, actors and all those members of the arts Scenic

Finally, emphasize that every day the importance of the work of the psychologist in the mental training of the musician becomes more evident . In a world as competitive as music, the mental factor can make a difference in a professional's musical career.

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The most important lesson from 83,000 brain scans | Daniel Amen | TEDxOrangeCoast (May 2024).


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