English Country Music And Academic Performance Education Essay

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Since the dawn of civilization, music has been an integrated part of a child's education; everyone knows that sounds have the potential to shape the mind of a young pupil or student. Music has a direct influence on your mood. Music brightens up the atmosphere around you and is definite to cheer you up. Sad tunes often bring tears to the eyes. Cheerful songs brighten up your mood. Different types of tunes are seen to create different kinds of moods and arouse different kinds of emotions. In most countries music lessons are offered in schools as part of the basic curricular activities, along with sports and drawing. Music not only provides entertainment and beautiful, rhythmic sounds, but it also has a commendable effect on memory and learning. Through research it has been found and observed that people have better GPAs who study with music as compared to people who don't study with music. Our research basically aims at university level students and their preference of listening or not listening to music while they study. These students also develop faster physically. Listening skills of students are also improved through music education. The top three schools in America all place a great emphasis on music and the arts. Hungary, Japan, and the Netherlands, the top three academic countries in the world, all place a great emphasis on music education and participation in music.

It is understood that though technology is increasing rapidly, the level of success among high school students is rapidly decreasing.  Perhaps this is a result of the changing times, or simply the overwhelming amount of stress and work it takes to graduate with what is now deemed an acceptable education. Many worldwide researches have shown that listening to music helps in concentration, and almost every student is seen with CD or MP3 players, I-phones and headphones playing music while studying to concentrate more on whatever they are studying.

Our research is about performance and music. It should be given importance by students as it would increase their concentration level which will ultimately result in getting better grades than before.

BACKGROUND

There is profound evidence that co curricular activities such as sports, debates, and music can enhance academic performance. There are different types of music like for example classical, rock, jazz, country, pop and hip hop etc and each kind has its own effect on human beings. The power of music to affect memory is quite interesting. It activates the left and right brain. The simultaneous left and right brain action maximizes learning and retention of information. The information being studied activates the left brain while the music activates the right brain. Also, activities which engage both sides of the brain at the same time, such as playing an instrument or singing, causes the brain to be more capable of processing information. The common elements of music are pitch, volume and rhythm and if they are kept at appropriate levels then they have profound effects on the performance and the concentration level of human beings. Every culture has its own music. Music is thought to link all of the emotional, spiritual, and physical elements of the universe. Music can also be used to change a person's mood. Music also has the ability to strengthen or weaken emotions from a particular event such as a funeral. People perceive and respond to music in different ways. An experienced and accomplished musician might hear and feel a piece of music in a totally different way than a non-musician or beginner.

Mental performance can be enhanced by exposure to music. Music has now become a part of today's youth. Advanced technology has made music accessible to everyone through cds and internet. Now people can go on internet or to shops and buy their favorite songs or download from the internet.

LITRATURE REVIEW

The influence of music on learning has been the subject of study for many years.

Research has confirmed that loud, cacophonous background noise impedes learning,

concentration, and information acquisition. However, some amount of background

music may in fact be helpful in the learning process, both in a structured school setting

and under self-directed homework conditions.

In 1994, Donald A. Hodges and Debra S. O'Connell carried out a research on

the impact of participation in music education on academic achievement of

students and they found out that the students who participated in music education did

better than their peers on academic achievement such as grade-point averages and

standardized tests like the SAT or ACT. Those who participated in music

scored higher grades in English, math, history, and science than those who did not

participate in music.

Cardarelli in 2003 investigated the effects of instrumental music instruction on

standardized test performance of third-grade students. Students were divided into two

groups: those participating in an instrumental music training program and those not

participating. The music training activity was designed for inner city students who

could not financially afford to take music lessons. She found statistically significant

differences between the mean scores of the two groups, with a positive effect of the

music program on the students' achievement levels.

Schneider & Klotz in 2000 examined the relationship between enrollments in music

performance classes and athletic extracurricular activities on academic achievement.

Three hundred forty six subjects were divided into three groups: musicians (band or

choir), athletes, or non-participants. All three groups were statistically equivalent in

fifth and sixth grade. During seventh, eighth, and ninth grades the musicians achieved

significantly higher academic achievement scores than the athletes but did not score

higher than the non-participants. The authors noted that the musicians showed a

tendency to maintain stabilized scores while the athletes and non-participants groups'

scores dropped.

Trent in 1996 determined that those high school seniors who had participated in

instrumental music programs from sixth through 12th grades scored significantly higher

on standardized tests of language arts and math than their counterparts who had

participated in non-music extra-curricular activities or who had not participated in

extra-curricular activities. Several researchers like Arnett-Gary in 1998, Shobo in 2001

and Yoonin 2000 who conducted research arrived at conclusions that those who

participate in music have higher academic achievement than those who do not.

According to a Neurological Research conducted on March 15, 1999, students were exposed to the music-based lessons scored a full 100 percent higher on fractions tests than those who learned in the conventional manner.

In February, 1994 Physician and biologist Lewis Thomas revealed that music majors scored the highest reading scores among all majors including English, biology, chemistry and math. He also found that 66 percent of music majors who applied to med school were admitted, the highest percentage of any group.

In 1988, U.S. Department of Education carried out a research which showed that music participants received more academic honors and awards than non-music students, and that the percentage of music participants receiving As, As/Bs, and Bs was higher than the percentage of non-participants receiving those grades.

Neurological Research February 28, 1997 has shown that piano students are better equipped to comprehend mathematical and scientific concepts. To prove this a group of preschoolers received private piano keyboard lessons and singing lessons. A second group received private computer lessons. Those children who received piano/keyboard training performed 34 percent higher in their tests.

Young children with developed rhythm skills perform better academically in early school years. Findings of a recent study showed that there was a significant difference in the academic achievement levels of students classified according to rhythmic competency. Students who were achieving at academic expectation scored high on all rhythmic tasks, while many of those who scored lower on the rhythmic test achieved below academic expectation.

Whatever a listener's preference is in music a recent Pennsylvania State University study has shown that college students are likely to report more positive emotions when they have been listening to music. According to the research conducted by Australian Music Association (2001), music does have a positive effect on academic, mental functioning and social skills. Though there are different types of music but if we particularly talk about pop music then it has been proved by research that pop music boosts brain. An article written by Donna Watson was published in The Scotsman on January 22, 2001. It said that the experts have finally proved that - pop music aids concentration which teenagers have told their parents earlier.

In 2002, Cindy Zhan concluded in her research of math and music that music enhances mathematics skills. Music targets one specific area of the brain to stimulate the use of spatial-temporal reasoning, which is useful in mathematical thinking. However, the question arises whether music is the magical portion that will elevate anyone's ability to do math, the answer unfortunately is No. That's because most mathematicians are fond of music, doesn't mean that all musicians are fond of mathematics.

In 1993, Rauscher, Shaw, & Ky conducted a research and found out that 36 college students who listened to 10 minutes of a Mozart sonata scored higher on a subsequent spatial-temporal task than after they listened to relaxation instructions or silence.

Spatial reasoning is important to many fields and to core concepts in mathematics, such as proportions and fractions. Hetland in 2000 also conducted a research and found out that children provided with music instruction score higher than controls on spatial-temporal tasks.

One study found that 9-year-old children who were provided with piano instruction indeed scored higher than controls on a spatial-temporal task immediately following the instruction. However, in 1999, Costa-Giomi found no differences between the music and control groups after two years of instruction..

As we have already mentioned in the introduction of our report that music influences our moods, brightens the atmosphere around us and makes us cheerful. This has been proved by Campbell in 2001. He has said that music serves many different functions and purposes like entertaining, changing ones mood and emotions.

Campbell (2002) reports that research, in terms of students and education, shows that music may have the properties to increase students verbal-emotional spatial intelligence, inspire right-brain creative thinking processes, strengthen intuitive thinking skills, induce relaxation and sleep, improve body movement and coordination, enhance mood, improve memory, and increase concentration.

In 2003, Ho, Cheung, & Chan, found that ninety 6- to 15-year-old boys with music training had significantly better verbal memory than children without such training. The research suggests that music may act as a catalyst for cognitive abilities in other disciplines, and the relationship between music and spatial-temporal reasoning is particularly compelling.

A research done by Dr. James Catterall in 1997, showed that more than 25,000

students, regardless of socioeconomic background those students who are involved in

music score higher not only on standardized tests, such as the SAT, but also on reading

proficiency exams.

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK:

English country music

Academic Performance of Students

INDEPENDENT VARIABLES

DEPENDENT VARIABLES

Pitch of music

Tone of music

Volume of music

Subject being studied

Surrounding Temperature

INTERVENING VARIABLES

DEPENDENT VARIABLE

Our dependent variable was academic performance of students at ICBS and Comsats

INDEPENDENT VARIABLE

Our independent variable in this research was English country music.

INTERVENING VARIABLE

Pitch

Tone

Volume of music

The subject being studied

The surrounding temperature.

NULL HYPOTHESIS

There is no relationship between any type of music and student's academic performance.

ALTERNATIVE HYPOTHESIS

There is a relationship between English country music and student's academic performance at ICBS, Comsats and Kinnaird university.

ALTERNATIVE DIRECTIONAL HYPOTHESIS

There is a positive relationship between academic performance of the students and English country music.

METHODOLOGY

PARTICIPANTS

Our research was a group based study. In order to test our hypothesis a laboratory experiment was carried out, controlling certain variables in order to study the effect of those variables.

Participants were undergraduate and graduate students who were chosen through random sampling from each university namely ICBS, and Comsats.

APPARATUS AND PROCEDURE

I-Phones

Test paper having 10 multiple choice arithmetic questions .

Sample size

Our total sample size was 132. From each of the two universities 66 students were randomly selected and these groups of 66 students were further sub-divided into control group and an experimental group of 33 students each. These groups of students were then asked to solve the arithmetic questions. Students answered 10 arithmetic problems on their own.. Later, same test was given to the control group and they solved it in the absence of music.

The sample was selected using table 11.3 from the book Research Methods for Business by Uma Sekaran.

The experiment which we carried out was a lab experiment consisting of experimental group and a control group. At ICBS it was carried out in A1 and A2 simultaneously under normal room temperature. In A1 we had the control group who solved the given test without music and in A2 we had experimental group which solved the similar test with the music played in I-phones and the music was English country music.

At Comsats we carried the research in auditorium. Each participant was given 20 minutes to solve the questions. In the experimental group, music was monitored so that it is played continuously without being stopped. Both the groups were personally monitored and made sure that they do not cheat answers from anyone. No calculators and cell phones were allowed to be used.

In order to measure the reliability of out testing instruments, test-retest reliability technique was used in which a group of 13 students having GPA above 3 were handed assessment worksheet. After 5 days the same students were tested by making them solve the same worksheet and both the test scored were then compared. The value came out to be +0.75. Hence this proved that the instruments were highly reliable.

The test papers used to measure the academic performance of students had high content validity as it consisted only of basic mathematical questions.

RESULTS

Our experiment was to determine the effect of English country music on academic performance and through our research we found out that English country music help in increasing the academic performance level of students. Our study showed that students who solved the test without music scored less as compared to the ones who solved the same test while listening to music on a I-Phone. In fact the students who solved the test listening to music solved it quickly than the ones without music. To get the results we used inferential statistics. The result of our research the mean of the control group was 5 while the mean of the experimental group was 7.

DISCUSSION

The most surprising part of our research was the result which showed that listening to English country music while solving mathematical problems does increase the academic performance of the students. So, the alternative hypothesis mentioned earlier has been accepted as our research showed English country music does increase academic performance of students.

Through this research we come to know that if we solve basic mathematical problems while listening to country music then it affects our concentration level in a positive way. We have heard people saying that music is entertaining and therefore distracts our concentration and that we should not listen to it while studying. Well this is a general assumption and there is little reality attached to it as a person who is good at math may require or be in a habit of pin drop silence to fully concentrate on his work. But a few things should be kept in mind in this regard, that only the right music with the right volume should be played because too loud or too low a volume of the music would affect the concentration level. There is difference in the means of the two groups but it is not significant. The difference is by chance.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We are glad that our professor Mr.Humair Hashmi gave us the opportunity to conduct this research which helped us, in understanding the student psychology related to studies while listening to music.

We would also like to thank the students of ICBS and Comsats for participating and taking out time in making this research possible. We would specially like to mention that sir Hashmi has been the inspiration for our research work.

REFERENCES

Textbooks

Uma Sekaran - "Business Research Methods-- A Skill Building Approach". Fourth Edition -2000

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