The author discusses research in music cognition and education indicating that novices and untrained students perceive and learn music in a fundamentally different manner than do expert musicians. Based on these studies, he suggests implementing high-level musical percepts and constructionist learning schemes in new expressive musical instruments that would provide thoughtful and joyful musical activities for novices and experts alike. The author describes several instruments—the Musical Playpen, Fireflies and Squeezables—that he has developed in an effort to provide novices with access to rich and meaningful musical experiences and recounts observations and interviews of subjects playing these instruments.

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