Miming to Recorded Music: Multimodality and Education

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Abstract

The present study focuses on the use of multimodal strategies for listening to recorded music in the elementary music classroom, with particular regard to the role of expressive physical gestures performed along with the music. The study aimed to verify to what extent children tend to preserve stronger and more detailed mental images of recorded music, when listening with the use of mime instead of listening more passively. An experiment compared 2 listening conditions, with and without the use of mime. After the treatment, when tested on the identification of excerpts from the musical piece, the experimental group scored significantly higher. The results support the idea that listening to music is favored by multimodal encoding including movement, as compared with more passive listening. Listening activities, where children attend to diverse coordinated tasks and with physical movement, seem to favor a distributed mental representation with positive effects on musical memory.

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