A1 Journal article (refereed)
Expert Pianists’ Practice Perspectives : A Production and Listening Study (2021)

Loimusalo, N. J., & Huovinen, E. (2021). Expert Pianists’ Practice Perspectives : A Production and Listening Study. Musicae Scientiae, 25(4), 480-508. https://doi.org/10.1177/1029864920938838

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Loimusalo, Nina Johanna; Huovinen, Erkki

Journal or series: Musicae Scientiae

ISSN: 1029-8649

eISSN: 2045-4147

Publication year: 2021

Publication date: 12/07/2021

Volume: 25

Issue number: 4

Pages range: 480-508

Publisher: SAGE Publications

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1029864920938838

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:


The purpose of this study was to investigate how professional pianists practice music for a concert, and whether their individual cognitive orientations in such practice processes can be identified accurately from the resulting performances. In Study I, four pianists, previously found to be skilled music memorizers, practiced and performed a short piece by André Jolivet over the course of two weeks, during which their practice strategies were studied using semi-structured interviews, and analyses of practice diaries, practice activities, and eye-movement data. The results indicate that the pianists used similar basic strategies but had different cognitive orientations, here called “practice perspectives,” consistent with each individual, in that they focused on different kinds of information while practicing. These practice perspectives may be related to skills and habits in using imagery and music analysis, as well as to professional and educational background. In Study II, 34 piano teachers listened to recordings of the concert performances and evaluated them against 12 statements representing the four practice perspectives identified in Study I. The results did not support the prediction that practice perspectives would be correctly detected by listeners. Nonetheless, practice perspectives can be used to highlight potentially vast differences between the ways in which individual professional classical musicians conceptualize music and make it meaningful to themselves and others. They could be used in the context of music education to increase musicians’ knowledge of different practice strategies and the ability to develop their own preferred working methods.

Keywords: music; musicians; pianists; training; exercise methods; professional development; individuality; cognition; cognitive processes; cognitive musicology; music education

Free keywords: expertise; individual differences; music practice; piano performance; musical interpretation

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2023-03-10 at 10:28