Research Notes

Take note!

Research on the use of music in learning has been going on for many years. This list provides brief summaries of research from the 1980’s and 1990’s. Today’s research, using neuroscience technologies, provides gives us the details of how music affects the brain, body and emotions. Stay tuned for blog posts about current music research!

Send me a summary of current research you find and I’ll add it to this list! Chris


*Studies of students in two Rhode Island elementary schools given a sequential, skill-building music program showed a marked improvement in student reading and math skills. (Gardiner, Fox, Jeffry, and Knowles, Nature, May 23, 1996.)

*Listening to Mozart’s Piano Sonata K448 was found to significantly increase the performance of complex spatial reasoning during related math tasks in college students at the University of California. (Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky, Nature, 365, page 611, 1993.)

*Memory and creativity of 4- and 5-year olds learning names of body parts were tested with verbal instruction, movement and music. The music with movement group showed the greatest improvement in learning and creativity. (Mohanty and Hejmadi, Psychological Studies, 37, pages 31-37, 1992.)

*Playing classical music in the background while students studied independently indicated positive improvements in cognitive achievement in middle-school students. (Smith and Davidson, Journal of Social Studies Research v15 no 1 pages 1-7 Winter,1991.)

*Music was found to correlate with improved auditory discrimination of phonemes, assisting in the learning process of reading for beginning first-grade readers. (Lamb and Gregory, Educational Psychology, 13, 19-26, 1993).

*An exploratory study on the use of classical music for background reading indicated that 4th through 8th grade students retained more information than students in these age levels who were listening to rock music or no music. (Mullikin and Henk, Journal of Reading, January 1985.)

*The use of contemporary music in teaching reading strategies proved to increase adolescents’ confidence and reading fluency. (Rivard and Bieske, Journal of Reading 36:6, 1993 pages 492-493.)

*Familiar and relaxing music with internal imagery exercises proved to be the most effective technique for reducing learning anxiety with university students. (Russell, Journal of College Student Development, November 1992, Vol 33, pages 516-523.)

*Students in special education settings participating in a program using music and story-telling showed a developmental improvement in listening skills. (Bygrave, International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, Vol 41, No. 1, pages 51-60, 1994.)

*A study using neurofeedback training with background music, for students ages 6 to 17 diagnosed with ADD, indicated significant increase in the ability to self-regulate behavior and improve focus, social skills, and moods control while decreasing impulsivity. (Pratt, Abel and Skidmore, International Journal of Arts Medicine 4(1), pages 24-31.)

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