This study was designed to investigate the extent to which the presentation of an auditory model prior to learning a novel melody affects performance during active practice and the overnight consolidation of procedural memory. During evening training sessions, 32 nonpianist musicians practiced a 13-note keyboard melody with their left (nondominant) hand in twelve 30-s practice intervals separated by 30-s rest intervals. Participants were instructed to play the sequence "as quickly, accurately, and evenly as possible." Approximately half the participants, prior to the first practice interval, listened to 10 repetitions of the target melody played at 552 tones per minute (half note = 138). All participants were tested on the target melody the following morning, approximately 12 hr after training, in three 30-s blocks separated by 30-s rest intervals. Performance was measured in terms of the mean number of correct key presses per 30-s block (CKP/B). Consistent with previous research, participants made considerable improvements in CKP/B during the evening training sessions and between the end of training and the morning test sessions. Learners who listened to the model made significantly larger gains in performance during training and between the end of training and test than did those who did not hear the model.
- memory consolidation
- skill learning