Does Motivational Music Improve Athletic Performance?

4.0 based on 22 ratings

Updated on May 10, 2013

Grade Level: 6th to 8th; Type: Social Science


The objective of this experiment is to evaluate whether music improves athletic performance.

Research Questions:

  • Do people who listen to motivating music perform better compared to those who do not?
  • Are certain groups of people more likely to improve their athletic performance after listening to motivational music?

Can music lead to improvements in performance? In this experiment, you will evaluate this question by observing test subjects’ athletic performance before and after listening to motivational music. You will compare this group’s performance to a control group that does not listen to music.


  • Approximately 40 test subjects
  • Track
  • Stopwatch
  • Upbeat (motivational) music
  • Notebook for recording and analyzing results

Experimental Procedure

  1. Recruit test subjects for your study. Include male and female test subjects in a variety of age groups. Do not tell them what you are investigating in your experiment or that they will be asked to run more than once.
  2. Ask a test subject to run a fifty-yard dash.
  3. Record the time it takes for the run to be completed.
  4. After the test subject completes the run, ask him or her to listen to upbeat music for five minutes.
  5. After the five minutes is up, ask the test subject to repeat the run.
  6. Record their time. Record how much faster or slower their second run was.
  7. Repeat steps 2-6 with twenty test subjects.
  8. Now, repeat steps 2-6 with your other group of twenty test subjects (your control group). For this group do not perform step 4. This group should not listen to music, but you should still wait five minutes before asking the test subject to repeat the run.
  9. Analyze your results. What was the average improvement in time between run one and run two in the group that listened to music? How did this compare to the average improvement in the group that did not listen to music? Within each group, divide your test subjects by age group or gender. Do certain groups of people seem to respond better to music than others?

Terms/Concepts: music and performance

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