Book Chapter

Musical potential

G McPherson, S Hallam

The Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology | Published : 2008

Abstract

An ongoing controversy persists regarding the extent of individual variability in musical potential and the extent to which observable differences in acquiring musical skills result from social contexts that facilitate learning, genetic factors, or interactions between the two. This article outlines key elements of these debates and considers how ‘musical potential’ has been assessed. It argues that what children are born withenablesrather thanconstrainswhat they will eventually be able to achieve. While a range of generalized abilities may come into play when learning music, a host of environmental and personal catalysts work in combination with teaching and learning processes to develop pa..

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