Valuing and Evaluating Music Performance Meeting

In June 2022 the CPS co-hosted an international and interdisciplinary meeting in Switzerland on the science and practice of how musical performances are valued and evaluated.

Performance evaluation is central to musical practice. Every musician, whether amateur, student, or professional, is subject to judgment of their performances by audiences, teachers, examiners, critics, and, perhaps most of all, themselves. The Valuing and Evaluating Music Performance workshop was convened to bring together the state-of-the-art of knowledge and practice in this field and to develop an international community to take forward new research and development.

With funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation, the workshop was hosted by the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana in Lugano, Switzerland, in collaboration with the Royal College of Music’s Centre for Performance Science. The scientific committee comprised Hubert Eiholzer and Anna Modesti of the Conservatorio and George Waddell and Aaron Williamon of the CPS.

The workshop brought together 20 delegates from Australia, Canada, China, France, Italy, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom in-person and online. The group comprised leading scholars in disciplines including psychology, sociology, education, artificial intelligence, economics, and professional practice to consider how (and why) music performances are valued, evaluated, and assessed across contexts ranging from lessons and competitions to critical reviews and billboard charts.

Topics discussed included the underpinnings of affective judgement, valuing creative products, technology-enhanced and automatic assessment, educational practices, cognitive and institutional bias, and evaluations in self-directed, teaching, critical, examination, audition, competition, online, and market driven contexts. Cutting across these topics, delegates considered the grand challenges facing music performance evaluation going forward including evolving languages and creative outputs, increased roles of technology, alignment of educational and market priorities, inclusivity and equity in assessment, the training and roles of expert judges, the impact of assessments (especially in competitive contexts) on developing musicians, and ways of effectively communicating feedback.

This and further work will be captured in a forthcoming book Sound Judgment (Oxford University Press), edited by George Waddell and Aaron Williamon.

Music in Motion 650×365-2

Learn more

Read about the Time to Decide project.

Start typing and press Enter to search