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Front Hum Neurosci. 2013 Jun 13;7:280. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00280. eCollection 2013.

Kinesthetic imagery of musical performance.

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1
Functional Imaging, Institute for Diagnostic Radiology and Neuroradiology, Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald Greifswald, Germany.

Abstract

Musicians use different kinds of imagery. This review focuses on kinesthetic imagery, which has been shown to be an effective complement to actively playing an instrument. However, experience in actual movement performance seems to be a requirement for a recruitment of those brain areas representing movement ideation during imagery. An internal model of movement performance might be more differentiated when training has been more intense or simply performed more often. Therefore, with respect to kinesthetic imagery, these strategies are predominantly found in professional musicians. There are a few possible reasons as to why kinesthetic imagery is used in addition to active training; one example is the need for mental rehearsal of the technically most difficult passages. Another reason for mental practice is that mental rehearsal of the piece helps to improve performance if the instrument is not available for actual training as is the case for professional musicians when they are traveling to various appearances. Overall, mental imagery in musicians is not necessarily specific to motor, somatosensory, auditory, or visual aspects of imagery, but integrates them all. In particular, the audiomotor loop is highly important, since auditory aspects are crucial for guiding motor performance. All these aspects result in a distinctive representation map for the mental imagery of musical performance. This review summarizes behavioral data, and findings from functional brain imaging studies of mental imagery of musical performance.

KEYWORDS:

imagery; motor skills; multimodal integration; musicians; training

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