Does Music Help or Distract from Classroom Learning?

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Author: Kathy Phillips

Grade level: 4th to 5th; Type: Social Science


The idea for this project is to see if playing music during class helps students learn or if it distracts students from learning.

Research Questions:

  • Which type of music had the best results, if any?
  • Did all the students improve?
  • Did different students learn more or learn less according to which type of music they listened to?
  • Did the music distract from learning?
  • Would playing music during class be recommended or not?


  • CDs of five different types of music (rap, country, hard/soft rock, movie msic and soothing ambient sounds)
  • CD player
  • A classroom of students

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Over a five day period, play one different cd per day during class.
  2. Spend half of the classroom time discussing or reading the topic for the day while the music plays in the background.
  3. Ask the students to participate in questions and answers for the remainder of the class, while the music continues to play.
  4. Observe the students' reactions during the reading part of the experiment and during the question and answer part of the class.
  5. Record all your observations by answering the questions in the “research questions” section.

Terms/Concepts: concentration, distraction


Music Science Fair Projects, by Julian Trubin (2003/2011)

"Music Science Fair Ideas," Science Buddies (2002/2011)

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