Orchestrating life skills: the effect of increased school-based music classes on children's social competence and self-esteem

Nikki Sue Rickard, Peter Appelman, Richard James, Fintan Patrick Murphy, Anneliese Gill, Caroline Janine Bambrick

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54 Citations (Scopus)


Music training has been found to produce a range of cognitive benefits for young children, although well-controlled evaluation of the effects on psychosocial functioning has been limited. In this study participants were recruited from two grade levels (prep/grade 1, N = 210; grade 3, N = 149), and were allocated to a music education condition, or a control condition which continued to receive their usual curriculum. In the treatment condition, Kodaly music classes were introduced into the younger cohort s curriculum, while the older cohort received additional instrumental classes which were predominantly strings-based. Results indicated that school-based music classes prevented a decline in global self-esteem measures experienced by the control group in both the younger and older cohorts, and in general and academic self-esteem for the older cohort. Preliminary data also suggest that a similarly engaging, arts-based activity (juggling) may confer similar benefits for older children s self-esteem. While difficulties inherent in performing experimental research within schools prevent strong conclusions, the data imply that increasing the frequency and quality of arts-based activities can be beneficial for the self-esteem of primary school-aged children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292 - 309
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Music Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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