The Development of Musical Abilities

William Forde Thompson*, E. Glenn Schellenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter offers a panoramic survey of topics and issues in developmental psychology. While emphasizing cognitive aspects, it also incorporates sociological and cultural aspects. The discussion is closely tailored to the questions frequently asked by music educators, such as what results of developmental psychology parents and teachers should be aware of and what they should know about the development of musical abilities. Developmental psychology of music should not focus only on those cognitive or instrumental abilities that are readily measured. Instead, the ability to experience music, musical skills, and attitudes are also part of the musical development. Furthermore, changes of musical desires, interests, and motivations take place throughout life. Thus the meaning of musical development may be entirely different at different stages of life.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMENC Handbook of Musical Cognition and Development
EditorsRichard Colwell
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199850723
ISBN (Print)9780195304565
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


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