42565 - Psychology of Music (1)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Roberto Caterina

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-ART/07

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Drama, Art and Music Studies (cod. 0956)


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Quality education Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

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)Manarolo, G. (a cura di), Manuale di musicoterapia, Teoria, metodi e strumenti per la formazione, Carocci: Bologna, 2020.

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

Teaching methods

Traditional lectures. Ppt presentation and Group discussions. Due to the COVID 19 limitations classes could be done in presence and on line (according to a blended teaching modality). Special interactive lectures will be organized on major theoretical topics on perception. Students may be personally contribute to these lectures, also if their contribution is not compulsory. See the notices on my web diary for other information and variation.

Assessment methods

In standard examinations students 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. 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. Final evaluation will refer to the mean of the single answer evaluations. Special criteria will be adopted in case of missing answers.

Due to COVID 19 the standard examination as above described maybe substitueted by an oral on line examination as it happens since March 2020. A more detailed description of this oral examination may be found on the front desk notices of my webpage.

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

Students who regularly attend the class may apply for a special multiple-choiche test, if possible due to COVID 19 emergency, based on what has been discussed during class. If the multiple choice examination will not be possible, an oral examination based on what has been discussed during class will be done instead. Special interactive events will be also planned during the class. Students who successfully partecipate to those events may have some extra credits (up to 3 points) that will be added to the result of their final test (that for attending students).

Teaching tools

Power point presentations. Musical examples.

Office hours

See the website of Roberto Caterina