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The Psychology of Music

  • Module code: MU6006
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 6
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: Satisfactory completion of level 5 Music or Creative Music Technologies requirements or equivalent
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This optional module will consider music from a psychological standpoint, with emphasis on experimental psychology. It considers the diverse levels of engagement we have with music by examining our experience of music including: learning music, memorising music, composing, performing and improvising. Students will be exposed to current theories of music psychology. Themed lectures will introduce key topics, followed by student-led discussion workshops which will provide the opportunity for students to reflect and discuss issues. Assessment will be through an applied project which involves collecting empirical data in a chosen field via observation and/or questionnaires and submitting a critical assessment of the data (30%), and, an essay on a related topic selected from a choice provided by the tutor (70%).

Aims

  • To develop in students an awareness of some psychological approaches relating to music;
  • To enable students to engage with and critique a range psychological processes underpinning music making;
  • To develop students ability to construct questionnaires, collect empirical data and to draw conclusions from focused observations conducted in the community;
  • To develop critical and analytical appreciation of the discourse in relation to chosen topics within music psychology.

Learning outcomes

  • demonstrate awareness and understanding of a range of issues relating to the study of music psychology;
  • evaluate and assess a range of texts and other materials from published research in the field of music psychology;
  • engage in discussing and evaluating issues concerning the social and applied psychology of music, including music and the everyday, music cognition, composing, performing and improvising music, music therapy and commercial music;
  • Consider and implement necessary ethical precautions to safeguard both students and public in collecting data;
  • express arguments relating to music psychology in an appropriate academic written format.

Curriculum content

  • Introduction to the field of Music Psychology
  • Introduction to data collection and analysis
  • Psychoacoustics and the auditory system
  • The Social Psychology of Music
  • Music and the Everyday
  • Commercial Music – consumer behaviour
  • Music Cognition – emotion
  • The Psychology of Learning Music
  • Theories of Creativity (performance anxiety, composition and improvisation).
  • Music Therapy

Teaching and learning strategy

The content is delivered via a mix of lectures, case studies, discussions and student led activities. Students will be assigned weekly reading, from the text book as well as additional sources, The reading will inform class discussion and provide essential steps towards completing the assignments.

Students will have the opportunity to practice a data collection activity and to analyse the data as part of the seminars. Seminar work provides an opportunity for feedforward.

Tutorial support for assessment preparation will be delivered in office hours. Additional support will be provided for students by the Academic Skills Centre and music-dedicated Study Space skills support. 

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lectures, seminars and debates 44
Guided independent study 256
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

1. Applied project (c. 1,500 words plus data collection evidence)  – 30%

Students will collect empirical data in a chosen field (agreed by the tutor) via observation and/or questionnaires in the local community. A critical assessment of the data utilising the theories explored in class.

 2. Essay (c.2,500 words) – 70%            

Students will choose an essay topic from a selection provided by the tutor.

Students are required to choose a topic which relates to one of the areas discussed in class.  The assessment for this module is designed to test the students' understanding of the theories of Music Psychology, to critique those theories, and to engage with up-to-date research on their chosen topic. Topic will come under the areas of commercial music, music and the everyday, music performance/composition/improvisation, and may be an examination of music played in commercial venues, such as shops and restaurants, or an examination of amateur music making in the community, exploring the reasons why musicians choose to perform in amateur ensembles, or the venues and audiences of amateur music making.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1) demonstrate awareness and understanding of a range of issues relating to the study of music psychology; Applied projects and essay
2) evaluate and assess a range of texts and other materials from published research in the field of music psychology; Applied projects and essay
3) engage in discussing and evaluating issues concerning the social and applied psychology of music, including music and the everyday, music cognition, composing, performing and improvising music, music therapy and commercial music; Applied projects and essay
4) Consider and implement necessary ethical precautions to safeguard both students and public in collecting data; Applied projects and essay
5) express arguments relating to music psychology in an appropriate academic written format. Applied projects and essay

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
CWK Folio of applied project and essay 100
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Thompson, W. F. (2009). Music, thought, and feeling: understanding the psychology of music (2nd Edition) Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hargreaves, D. J. & North, A. (ed.) (2008) The Social and Applied Psychology of Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lehmann, A.C., Sloboda, J.A.  & Woody, R.H. (2007) Psychology for Musicians. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Bibliography recommended reading

Aiello, R. & Sloboda, J. (eds.)(1994) Musical Perceptions,Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Clarke, E., Dibben, N., & Pitts, S., (eds.) (2010) Music and Mind in Everyday Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Deliège, I. & Wiggens, G.(eds.) (2006) Musical Creativity: Multidisciplinary Research in Theory and Practice,Hove and New York:Psychology Press.

Deutsch, D. (ed.) (1999) The Psychology of Music San Diego: Academic Press.

DeNora, T.(2000) Music in Everyday Life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gritten, A. and King, E. (2011). New Perspectives on Music and Gesture (Aldershot: Ashgate).

Hallam, S., Cross, I., & Thaut, M. (2011) Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hargreaves, D. J. (1986) The Developmental Psychology of Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hargreaves, D. J. & North, A. C. (eds.) (2005) Musical Communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Parncutt, R. & McPherson, G. (eds.)(2002) The Science and Psychology of Music Performance:  Creative Strategies for Teaching and Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Scruton, R. (1999). The Aesthetics of Music.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sloboda, J. (ed.) (1988) Generative Processes in Music: the psychology of performance, improvisation and composition, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Sloboda, J. (2004) Exploring the Musical Mind: cognition, emotion, ability, function. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Juslin, P. N, & Sloboda, J. A. (eds.) (2001)Music & Emotion, Theory and Research. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Zbikowski, L. M. (2005). Conceptualizing music: Cognitive structure, theory, and analysis. Oxford University Press.

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