Washington, June 19 (ANI): Practice makes a man perfect except sight-reading music, if new research is to be believed.
The ability to play sheet music on an instrument with little or no preparation is known as sight-reading.
Any piano player who practices sight-reading regularly will get pretty good at it, according to study co-authors Elizabeth Meinz of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and David Hambrick of Michigan State University in East Lansing. But a strong ability to keep different pieces of relevant information in mind while performing a task - known as working memory capacity - complements sight-reading no matter how much practice someone has had, they add.
The researchers' investigation revealed that the best sight-readers combined strong working memories with tens of thousands of hours of piano practice over several decades.
Working memory appears to be a capacity that gels early in life and can't be improved much by learning, according to the study.
For the study, Meinz and Hambrick recruited 57 volunteers who had played piano for between one and 57 years.
Their estimated hours of overall practice ranged from 260 to 31,096, and hours of sight-reading practice ranged from zero to 9,048.
Two university piano teachers rated volunteers' performance on six sight-reading pieces.
A majority of players were rated as moderately good sight readers.
Four tasks assessed working memory capacity.
On one, a math equation with an answer, as well as a word, briefly flashed on a computer screen.
Participants had to say whether the answer was correct and remember the word for later.
"Deliberate practice, although necessary for acquiring expertise, will not always be sufficient to overcome limitations due to a person's basic cognitive abilities," Discovery News quoted Meinz, as saying.
The findings of the study appear online in Psychological Science. (ANI)