The Effects Of Classical Music On Learning Education Essay

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This study aims to investigate the integration of music in classroom helps students to perform better in exams and does integrating classical music in classroom is better than jazz music in helping students to perform in exams. Two research methods (non-experimental design and experimental design) have been proposed to test the two hypotheses respectively. In the non-experimental design, 40 participants will be interviewed while 200 participants will be recruited in the experimental design. 200 participants will either be exposed to classical or jazz music as the background music in the classroom during a semester. Lastly, all participants will be given a class test to test their academic performances and the results will be recorded and tabulated.

Does Beethoven Actually Help You in Study: The Effects of Classical Music on Learning

Everyone listens to music. It has become a prominent feature in our lives. According to Ronald Pen (1992), he defined music as noted below:

Music is the sound ordered in time-or, from another perspective, time measured by sound. Music originates with a sound source- a composer or performer who organizes and creates the sound using some forms of instruments. The sound becomes a stimulus that is received by the brain and interpreted as music. (p.4)

Music can elicit emotional response as well as provoke thoughts. It can be used as a way to communicate between the composer and the listener. It all depends upon the historical and social context (Brewer, 1995). According to Dr. Roy Paget (2006, p.5), music has an important impact in stimulating the limbic systems. As the scientists had proven, limbic system is very important in promoting our long term memory. Thus, when information is imbued with music, people tend to memorize better. 

Ronald Pen (1992) proposed that there are three levels of listening to music. The first one is background mood-enhancement level. In this level of listening, people use music to bring pleasure to stimulate their ears in order to alleviate the boredom. The next level is through association level. This level of listening tends to make the listeners associate their personal memories to the music. It may provoke an emotional response as well. Lastly, analytical level proposed that people make critical judgments upon the quality of the music when they listen to it.

This present research is to study the role of music on learning in a scientific way. Learning is a common human experience but a complex process. A universally accepted definition of learning does not exist. However, Michael Domjan (2000) has introduced a definition for learning that included many critical aspects of learning. According to Domjan, "learning is an enduring change in the mechanisms of behaviour involving specific stimuli and/or responses that results from prior experience with those or similar stimuli and responses." Moreover, there are many types of learning including increasing one's knowledge, memorizing and reproducing, applying, understanding, seeing things in a different ways and changing as a person (Marton, 1996, as cited in Jarvis, 2006)

Looking at the past research, Sarah Forgie (2007) from University Avenue, Edmonton has done a study to assess the performance of medical students using a teaching intervention relating a story about the magician Harry Houdini and the Enteric Jazz Band. This study is designed to 161 students who attended the session on anaerobic bacteria. The story was told with background music ("Take Five" by the Dave Brubeck Quartet). Houdini died after abdominal trauma and the story focuses on what was happening in his belly at a cellular level. All the instruments play, symbolizing all of the organisms' activities in his belly. The results were found that the enteric jazz band story was useful in enhancing active learning. In this case, medical students learnt better with the present of background music in the class.

Besides this, in the research report, "Music Lessons Enhance IQ" which done by E. Glenn Schellenberg (2004) from University of Toronto has come with an idea that music makes ones smarter through scientific view. This is the first report to test the hypothesis directly with random assignment of 5144 of children to two different types of music lessons (either keyboard or voice) or to control groups that received drama lessons or no lessons. IQ of the participants was measured before and after the lessons. Compared with children in the control groups, children in the music groups exhibited a greater increase in full-scale IQ. Thus, it is clearly understand that ones can enhance his/hers IQ through music.

Moreover, Schellenberg (2001) also did another research on Music and Non-musical Abilities. In the present study, mainstream media have paid more attention to the exposure of music that causes benefits in non-musical domains. This has an impact on public policy. The "Mozart effect" has two different phenomena. The first one is about short-term increases in spatial abilities and the other one is about the chances that formal training in music succumbs non-musical benefits. The results show that the short-term effect is unnoticeable and relatively small. In contrast, there is an unanswerable question for the effect of music lessons on non-musical aspects of cognitive development. Others researches also pointed out that there is a positive correlation between formal music lessons and abilities in non-musical (e.g., linguistic, mathematical, and spatial) domains. However, the causal relationship is still undefined.

Music is not only related to non-musical abilities but it also related to personality. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Adrian Furnham (2007) have also done a research to study the relationship between personality and it affects the uses of music in everyday life. They recruited 341 respondents in their study. The results show that open and intellectually engaged individuals tended to use music in a rational way while introverted ones use music for emotional regulation. Nevertheless, individual differences in personality and cognitive level may also influence how ones practice when they are listening to music.

Despite looking at Western countries, a Vietnamese researcher, Mark Huy Lê from the University of Tasmania has studied a similar research that related to music from the Asians perspectives. This study was about learning the second language which is English in a Vietnamese culture by using music in the English lesson. Huy Lê has used a qualitative method to study how music was perceived by Vietnamese second language educators and students. The focus was on the role of music in second language learning. The finding indicates that English music was highly appreciated by English teachers and students in teaching, speaking, listening, reading and writing. It is proven that especially English songs, which is a combination of cultural values and ideology for better learning in English language.

However, the research question that this present research hopes to answer is whether classical music or jazz music can help students perform better in examinations. The aim of this research is also to determine whether the integration of music (either jazz music or classical music) in the classroom helps students to perform better in their exams. Thus, there are two hypotheses for this research:

The integration of music in the classroom helps students to perform better in exams.

Integrating classical music in the classroom helps students to perform better than integrating jazz music in the classroom.

Classical period as generally accepted is being 1750 to 1828. The well-known composers in this period are Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven. The classical melodic ideas are usually in harmonic progression. Besides this, the melodies are pleasing and tuneful. There are different forms of classical music, such as sonata, opera, symphony, string quartet, minuet, trio and rondo. However, in this present research, Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor "Quasi una fantasia", Op. 27, No. 2, by Beethoven, which is also popularly known as Moonlight Sonata will be used to integrate in the classroom to test if it will affect the students' ability to perform better during exams (Yudkin, 2002).

On the other hand, Jazz has a long history and it started out with a blend of many types of music. The music was based on simple melodies and complex cross-rhythms mixed in with verbal slurs, vibrato, syncopated rhythms, and "blues notes". Jazz has many forms, such as Ragtime, the Blues, Bop, Traditional, Swing, Dixieland, and Acid Jazz (the most recent ones). The well-known composer for Jazz music is Duke (Edward Kennedy) Ellington. Ellington wrote a great deal of music for the band, including one of his most famous pieces, "Mood Indigo", which is composed on 1930 (Essentials of Music, 2001). As a result, in the control group, participants will be exposed to "Mood Indigo" in the classroom.

Methods

Researchers will carry out two types of research designs to test the hypotheses. The first one is non-experimental research design while the second one is experimental research design. The non-experimental design is aim to investigate whether the integration of music in classroom helps to increase students' ability to perform well in exams or not. In contrast, the experimental design is use to test the second hypothesis which is, "Integrating classical music in the classroom help students to perform better than integrating jazz music in the classroom."

Non-experimental Research Design

Participants/Subjects

A total of 40 participants (which include 20 females and 20 males respectively) will be assigned randomly to this study. The age range of participants is assumed to be in between 18 to 25 years old. The participants will be recruited through random assignment technique from the existing Psychology students. All participants will be required to have the ability to speak English fluently in order to speak out during the interview session.

Materials

During interviews, a Sony Business-coder mini-cassette will be used to record the interviews with the awareness of the interviewees. Different types of music such as Ragtime, Moonlight Sonata, Hard Blues and Mozart music will have to be prepared to play as background music during the lessons in classroom. A class test paper regarding the lessons that the participants will be learnt throughout the whole semester. A sample of the questions (as refer to Appendix 1) that will be asked in attempt to obtain their views regarding the integration of music in the classroom will be provided in the Appendix section.

Research design

As this is a non-experimental design, an ex post facto study will be carried out. Ex post facto research is used to look for the after the fact answers about what happened to the measured variable. Although ex post facto is similar to an experiment, the independent variable (IV) is not manipulated. The variables to be studied will be selected after they have occurred. Thus, a qualitative study will be also conducted in this research. Interviews will be carried out in order to gain some insights from these participants about their views on the integration of music in the classroom before the class test is being carried out. Questions such as "how they feel when they are listening to the background music during classes?" and "how loud should the background music be played during the class?" will be asked during the interview session. Researches will have to carry out some tasks regarding interview, observing, participating in social and musical activities in order to interview the participants as well.

Procedure

Different types of music will be played during the lessons for a semester in the classroom. At the end of the semester, a class test regarding that lesson will be given to the participants. The results of the class test will be recorded and tabulated in the Result session for further observation purpose. The researcher will conduct informal and unstructured interviews with the participants. A set of questions will be asked by the researcher to the participants during the interview. Appendix 1 is the sample of the questions. Each interview will be assumed to last for an hour. Researcher will encourage the participants to engage in talks that are relating to the integration of music in the classroom.

Experimental Research Design

Participants/Subjects

200 participants (100 females and 100 males respectively) will be assigned randomly to this study. The 200 participants will be divided into two different groups, which are experimental group and control group. Participants are assumed to be aged 18 years old and above. The participants will be recruited using the random assignment technique from the existing Psychology students.

Materials

Different types of music such as Ragtime, Moonlight Sonata, Hard Blues and Mozart music will have to be prepared to play as background music during the lessons in classroom. A class test paper regarding the lessons that the participants will be learnt throughout the whole semester.

Research design

The independent variable (IV) is carefully manipulated by the researcher in an experimental research design. It also permits greater flexibility, efficiency and powerful statistical manipulation. Furthermore, experimental design research can yield causal relationships. The main purpose of using experimental design is to test the second hypothesis which is, "Integrating classical music in the classroom help students to perform better than integrating jazz music in the classroom." Thus, in the present study, the independent variable (IV) is the two types of music (jazz music and classic music) that will be played in the classroom while responding variable will be the results of the participants' class test. The study will be carried out under a known, tightly defined and controlled condition. Moreover, the participants will be randomly assigned to either experimental group or control group. Experimental group will be exposed to the classical music as the background music in the classroom. In contrast, control group will be exposed to jazz music during the lessons. In an experimental designed study, two groups will be equivalent and investigated systematically under conditions that are identical in order to minimize variation between them. As the use of experiments subjects involving people, the participants will obtain informed consent before they are recruited to this study. For ethical issues, the research will be reviewed by institutional review board (IRB). Besides this, pre-testing and post-testing will be conducted before and after the study to ensure the validity of this present study. However, there are several drawbacks of using experimental design such as it is hard to represent a specified population and natural setting is impossible.

Procedure

Different types of music will be played during the lessons for a semester in the classroom. At the end of the semester, a class test regarding that lesson will be given to the participants. The results of the class test will be recorded and tabulated in the Result session for further explanation purpose.

References

Brewer, C. (1995). Music and Learning: Integrating Music in the Classroom. Retrieved March 16, 2010, from the World Wide Web: http://www.newhorizons.org/strategies/arts/brewer.htm

Domjan, M. (2000). Learning: Overview. In A. E. Kazdin (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Psychology (Vol. 5, pp. 1-3). New York: Oxford University Press.

Essentials of Music. (2001). Retrieved March 18, 2010, from http://www.essentialsofmusic.com/composer/ellington.html

Forgie, S. (2007). The Enteric Jazz Band Lecture: Enhancing Active Learning. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Medical Education, 41: 505-526. Retrieved March 17, 2010, from Academic Source Premier database.

Huy Lê, M. (1999). The Role of Music in Second Language Learning: A Vietnamese Perspective. Code of Paper LE99034. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from http://www.aare.edu.au/99paplle99034.htm

Jarvis, P. (2006). Towards a Comprehensive Theory of Human Learning. New York: Routledge

Paget, R. J. (2006). The Role of Music in Learning. United Kingdom: BAAT Ltd Publishing. Retrieved March 17, 2010, from BATT database.

Pen, R. (1992). Introduction to Music. Singapore: McGraw Hill Book Co.

Premusiz, T. C., & Furham, A. (2007). Personality and Music: Can Traits Explain How People Use Music in Everyday Life? British Journal of Psychology, vol. 98, 175-185. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from the British Psychological Society database.

Schellenberg, E. G. (2001). Music and Non-musical Abilities. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 930: 355-71. Retrieved March 17, 2010 from ResearchGATE database.

Schellenberg, E. G. (2004). Music Lessons Enhance IQ. American Psychological Society, vol. 15-Number 8. Retrieved March 17, 2010, from Psychological Science database.

Yudkin, J. (2002). Understanding Music (3rd edition). The United States of America: Pearson Education, Inc.

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