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Teenagers' reasons for listening to music and the students' perception of the effects of listening when completing school assignments

Jennifer Adriano, Johnson & Wales University

Abstract

Music is an important part of many adolescents’ lives and they listen frequently; one study showed that they listen for almost 21 hours per week (Gentile, Lynch, Linder, & Walsh, 2003). In 1993, Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky found a temporary enhancement of spatial reasoning abilities after college students listened to a Mozart piano sonata. This phenomenon became known as “The Mozart Effect” and the study influenced future research after significant media attention. However, there has not been a consensus regarding the effects of background music and because of the popularity of personal music listening devices, adolescents’ music listening habits are an important topic in today’s society. ^ This mixed method single case study examined the extent that students listen to music while completing academic tasks, the genres of music they choose to listen to, the reasons teenagers’ provide for listening to music, why they may listen to music during academic tasks, and student’s self-efficacy with respect to doing homework through the use of a questionnaire (N = 668) and focus groups. These factors were analyzed to determine possible relationships between gender groups, grade level in school, and math and English grades. ^ Descriptive statistics, correlations, t-tests, and ANOVAs were used to analyze the data. Results from the questionnaire showed that participants who listen to music while completing reading and writing assignments, tended to have lower math and English grades. On the other hand, there was not a significant difference for students who listen to music while completing math assignments. The qualitative data from the questionnaire and focus groups explained that many students listen to music during academic tasks because the additional stimuli helps them concentrate; however, many students reported that they don’t listen while reading because music acts as a distraction. The questionnaire also examined the popularity of 16 genres of music. Results indicated that participants who listen to rap, heavy metal, and techno music tended to have lower math and English grades. Classical music was not a popular genre with participants, although most studies regarding the effects of background music utilize classical music. Further research on the effects of background music utilizing music popular with today’s youth is necessary.^

Subject Area

Music|Education, Policy|Education, Educational Psychology

Recommended Citation

Adriano, Jennifer, "Teenagers' reasons for listening to music and the students' perception of the effects of listening when completing school assignments" (2010). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3397941.
http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/dissertations/AAI3397941