I joined orchestra when I was in fifth grade. I was a cello player, and I was able to keep doing it until I started college. The thing I remember is that when I first started our teacher taught us placement of our fingers by taping the correct distance on the finger board. See, early on, we were not able to discriminate between slight variations in pitch caused by string tuning and finger placement. By the time I started orchestra in high school, I no longer used tapes on my cello. I had had so much training that I could distinguish between a correct note and even a slightly sharp or flat note just by listening. With training, the auditory sound of a note, rather than the visual cue of tape came to control my behavior of where I placed my fingers on a finger board.

In our text, the author notes that Pavlov believed stimulus generalization was a result of an animal learning to respond to stimuli that were similar to the originally trained stimuli. Other theorists contend that stimulus generalization is actually a result of a failure to learn to discriminate between stimuli. This second view point is what fits with my eventually learning to use sound to control the placement of fingers when playing music, rather than sight. I had to learn how to distinguish variations in pitch, rather than just assuming that an a, a slightly flat a, and a slightly sharp a were all the same.

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