Music Learning Research—Two New Books

Oxford University Press has just published a two-volume work about research on music learning that combines the expertise of 20 well-regarded music researchers.

Volume 1, titled MENC Handbook on Research in Music Learning: Strategies, contains chapters on these and other topics:

  • How Learning Theories Shape Our Understanding of Music Learners
  • Biological and Environmental Factors in Music Cognition and Learning
  • Motivation and Achievement

Volume 2, MENC Handbook on Research in Music Learning: Applications, contains, among others, the following chapters:

  • Contemporary Research on Music Listening
  • The Acquisition of Music-Reading Skills
  • Music, Movement, and Learning
  • Music Learning and Special Education: Focus on Autism and Developmental Disabilities

According to Steve Demorest, one of the contributors to these books (whose main readers may be postsecondary students and preservice teachers), his chapter “can give us insights into the kinds of musical skills that develop naturally through exposure to music” as opposed to “those that benefit from formal training.” He believes that this type of information can “guide instructional processes and help us design learning activities that capitalize on students’ ‘natural’ musical abilities.”

The findings, Demorest says, “might help music teachers shape curricula and experiences that are more meaningful and beneficial to their students.”

To order either or both of these paperbacks for your professional library, visit the OUP-NAfME webstore at, and save 20% now. 

Ella Wilcox, December 16, 2011, © National Association for Music Education (formerly MENC),