Implications for education

Williamon, A. (2014) Implications for education. In: Expressiveness in Music Performance: Empirical Approaches Across Styles and Cultures. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 348-351. ISBN 9780199659647 (print) 9780191771651 (online)


In some music educational contexts, a distinction is made between technical and expressive skills. It is argued that the former are within reach of anyone who is motivated to work hard, pay attention, and heed instruction. The latter, on the other hand, are accessed through more mysterious, subjective, and ephemeral processes—they are skills that simply “cannot be taught.” Irrespective of whether musical skills should be viewed in such dichotomous terms, it is clear from a large and growing body of research that the wide range of musical skills that typically fall within the “expressive” category are indeed amenable to learning and teaching. This chapter therefore addresses the questions of how expressive skills are learned, and how research can begin to inform and direct this learning process.

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