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Professor Shinichi Furuya, Faculty of Science and Technology discovers neuromuscular attributes of motor virtuosity in expert musicians using data science techniques

The discovery is published in Nature Publishing Group, Scientific Reports; Great hope for the development of evidence based revolutionary music pedagogy and skill mastery


Professor Shinichi Furuya, Faculty of Science and Technology Information and Communication Science, Director of Musical Skill and Injury Center made the world first discovery of neuromuscular attributes of motor virtuosity in expert musicians based upon the biometric and the data science. His discovery was introduced to the public online in Nature Publishing Group, Scientific Reports on Oct 27, 2015.

From 19th century, the musical performance which requires extremely fast motor skill “virtuoso” attracted many people all over the world. The music experts sometime engage in the exercise to strengthen the hand muscle in order to perform such a way. However the underlying biological mechanisms have been unknown.
Twenty four pianists participated in the experiment included eighteen pianists majored in piano performance in music conservatories and eleven of these pianists won prizes at international piano competitions such as Queen Elisabeth International piano competition and Concours International Marguerite-Long Jacques Thibaud.
For the study, the pianists’ anatomical characteristics, neuromuscular functions and history of musical training were evaluated in order to examine the requirement for the maximum rate of repetitive piano keystrokes.
The result demonstrated these factors were in effect: 1) Strength of upper arm-muscles 2) Power grip weakness 3) Agility of finger muscles
The study shows in order to gain such a skill the dualism theory such as “Exercising of hand and arm muscle is good or bad” is no longer applicable but the evidence based and customized training method must be implemented.
The study was a part of “Virtuoso Project” promoted by Director Furuya of Musical Skill and Injury Center and supported by Yamaha Music Foundation. The discovery will not only become foundation for the music players to master virtuoso performance, it is expected to be implemented in the broad area such as in neuroscience, rehabilitation science sports science, biomedical engineering and sports science.

Publication :Scientific Reports 
Title : Secrets of virtuoso: neuromuscular attributes of motor virtuosity in expert musicians.
URL : www.nature.com/articles/srep15750
Affiliations : Shinichi Furuya(Sophia University), Takanori Oku(Osaka University), Fumio Miyazaki(Osaka University), Hiroshi Kinoshita(Osaka University)

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