Andrew Goldman draws on his training as a concert pianist and composer to study the cognition and neuroscience of musical improvisation. Andrew’s experiments explore how degrees of improvisation experience in musicians and dancers affect sound perception and motor planning. His research helps define what improvisation is, how people learn to do it, and the role improvisation plays in daily life. Together with colleagues, he recently has found that experienced improvisers categorize musical harmonies more according to function than a specific sound, which aids their ability to use those harmonies flexibly when they improvise. Understanding the differences in knowledge between experienced improvisers and experienced musicians who do not improvise can help us understand creative ways of knowing. Before joining the PSSN program, Andrew received his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2015. While there he wrote Science! The Musical, which premiered in 2014 and was recently produced in New York City.
Project Title: Neuroscience and Musical Improvisation