42565 - Psychology of Music (1)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

After having attended this course students will learn:

  • the main empirical researches concerning mental processes in listening to music, musical performance and musical composition;
  • the main problems concerning musical education and learning, the main aspects concerning the relationship between music and emotion especially considering the studies on the influence of music on individual well-being and considering music therapy models and techniques, too;
  • the most recent researches on psychology of music with reference to their theoretical background as well as to their practical applications.

Course contents

This course is going to teach the relationship between music and cognitive processes in musical performance, composition and listening. Main theories concerning musical learning will also be presented. The relationship between music and emotional expression is going to be examined especially in the context of music therapy. The theoretical basis and practical applications of which can be associated with emotional regulation processes.

In order to understand better a part of this course, students who are not familiar with musical language are suggested to follow one of the basic music learning courses organized by our University (http://www.dar.unibo.it/it/attivita-didattica/supporti-alla-didattica/index.html ).

Cognitive processes in musical performance, composition and listening. Music education psychological aspects. Music and emotion. Music therapy: theories, clinical and social projects.


1) Sloboda, J.A., La mente musicale. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1988.

2) Benenzon, R., La musicoterapia. Roma: Borla, 1983.

Suggested optional reading Caterina, R. Che cosa sono le artiterapie, Carocci: Bologna, 2005.

Teaching methods

Traditional lectures and group discussions

Assessment methods

Students who regularly attend the class (the course is made of 15 lectures, students are requested to attend at least 10 lectures) will be examined in three different steps: 1) An intermediate multiple choice test after 9-10 lectures. This test will be made of 12 questions with 4 different possibilities of answer (only one of which being correct) with ratings corresponding to 30l for 12 correct answers; 30, 11 correct answers; 28, 10 correct answers; 27, 9 correct answers; 26, 8 correct answers; 24, 7 correct answers and 22, 6 correct answers. Below that threshold the test will be not passed and students will not be allowed to take the special examination for attending students we are describing here. 2 or 3 items of this text will be available into the teaching material before the course begins; 2) Small Group (from 3 to 6 people) discussion and ppt presentation on a subject which has been examined during my lectures: students are requested to bring a part of the presentation and to coordinate their presentations with those of their colleagues. Time limitations in the presentations will be fixed. The evaluation of this test will be of a qualitative and comparative nature with respect to the work done by the other groups. Achieving an organic vision of the issues dealt with, the possession of expressive mastery and a specific language, the originality of reflection as well as the familiarity with the tools of analysis of psychology of music will be evaluated with excellent marks. Mostly mechanical or mnemonic knowledge of the subject, unmanaged synthesis and analysis skills, or a correct but not always appropriate language, as well as a scholastic domain of psychology of music not going further from what has already been discussed during the lessons, will lead to good or fair evaluations. Lack of training or inappropriate language, as well as a lack of knowledge of the tools of psychology of music will lead to an evaluation that will stand on the threshold of sufficiency. Lack of training, inappropriate language, lack of orientation within the bibliography and inability to analyse the psychology of music can only be evaluated negatively; 3) Individual reports (discussants) on another group presentation or individual examinations on other subjects which have been discussed during my lectures. This test will be evaluated with the qualitative criteria above mentioned at point 2.

Students have to pass all the 3 tests. Final individual evaluations will refer to the mean of the single tasks evaluations with mark rounds favorable to students.

Students who did not attend the class (or students who prefer this type of examination even if they attended the class) will be asked to write short essays on 3 open questions (75 minutes will be given, no possibility to use books or reports during the task) concerning the books which have been mentioned as suggested readings. Some general criteria for correction and evaluations have been selected. Qualitative evaluation criteria will be applied similar to those before mentioned (point 2 concerning the examination of attending students). Final evaluation will refer to the mean of the single answer evaluations. Special criteria will be adopted in case of missing answers.

A special examination will be offered to non-attending students (for this academic year only in June 2019, as it is a form of examination we are still trying to test). It will be a multiple-choice test made of 20 questions on the program suggested readings with 4 possibilities of answer (only one of which is correct) similar to that used for the intermediate test with students attending the course. Evaluation criteria too will be similar to that test. The examinations will be passed with at least 11 correct answers on 20. The correct answers points will be converted into the university marks scale ranging from 30l to 18 with the possibility of considering 20 or 18 marks. An example of this test will be given in the teaching material before the beginning of this course. Students who have scored at this examination 27 (17 correct answers) or more are entitled to ask a supplementary oral examination that can add up to a maximum of 3 points on the realized score. This oral examination on the other hand can also be lower than the realized score in written examination up to 3 points.

Students are requested to apply for the final test using "almaesami" on line system.

Teaching tools

Power point presentations. Musical examples.

Office hours

See the website of Roberto Caterina