Development of timing skills

Thenille Braun Janzen, Paolo Ammirante, William Forde Thompson

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


    Music is intimately connected with the experience of rhythmic movement. This unique relation between music and movement depends on a complex set of timing skills that are developed throughout childhood. However, extraordinary cases of rhythmic prodigies seem to challenge our understanding of the normal course of motor development. This chapter examines the existing literature on timing skills in order to identify some milestones in the development of timing skills that are essential for the production of accurate rhythmic movements. We consider the importance of formal music training and weekly practice for the development of timing skills involved in discrete and continuous rhythmic movements, and we describe a preliminary study in which we compare the timing skills of a prodigy musician with those of age-matched musicians and nonmusicians.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMusical prodigies
    Subtitle of host publicationinterpretations from psychology, education, musicology, and ethnomusicology
    EditorsGary E McPherson
    Place of PublicationOxford
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Number of pages27
    ISBN (Print)9780199685851
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • timing
    • training
    • development
    • prodigy
    • music performance
    • gifts
    • natural abilities
    • talent
    • musical prodigies
    • sense of rhythm


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