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date: 20 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Performing music at a professional level is probably the most demanding human accomplishment. Making music requires the integration of multimodal sensory and motor information and precise monitoring of the performance in real time via auditory feedback. These specialized skills require extensive training over many years, starting in early infancy and passing through stages of increasing physical and strategic complexities. The present chapter covers four issues: (1) neural systems subserving motor planning/execution and anticipation/retrieval of motor programs in music performance; (2) brain processes during motor skill acquisition in music-making, focussing on neuroplasticity; (3) practice strategies based on neuroscientific findings concerning sensorimotor cognitive learning; (4) deterioration and loss of motor control due to maladaptive brain plasticity, a condition termed focal dystonia.

Keywords: music performance, motor planning, skill acquisition, neuroplasticity, practice strategies, focal dystonia

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