Abstract of Swiss Investigation

Authors: Ernst Waldemar Weber, Maria Spychiger, Jean-Luc Patry

(Full copies of this abstract of research are available from the authors. First published in 1993 by 'Die Blaue Eule' in Essen)

Student Questionnaire

Pupils were given the questionnaire 'Living together in school' to fill in. Each on their own, they had to answer, on a scale from one to five, how true each statement was according to their opinion concerning circumstances in the classroom with the two subjects, Music and German. A clear distinction in favour of the experimental class was shown only in the reduction of individualism. A tendency to work better as a team was also shown in the experimental classes.

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Social relationships (Sociograms)

Inter-personal relationships, the inner fabric of the group, can be measured clearly and objectively by use of a sociogram. This enabled us to perceive the informal order, the position and role of each individual and the dynamic of the group. The measurements were taken by questionnaire: each pupil had to state which classmate was their most and least favourite contact. In addition they had to indicate on a sliding scale how likable they estimated each pupil to be.

This diagram shows an example of a sociogram. Each circle stands for one person in the class, the higher they are, the more "sympathy points" they had received from others. The arrows represented the voting, meaning the answers to the questions concerning the most and least liked members of the group. Solid arrows stand for positive votes, dotted ones for negative votes.

Sociogram before

Class sociogram at start of research.

This sociogram (shown left) gives a picture of a class in which the larger proportion of children are bound into a positive framework, whereas two children are rejected, one girl particularly strongly and one boy to a lesser extent.


Sociogram at second measurement time.


Sociogram at the final measurement time.

The comparison of the sociograms of this class over a period of the three time measurements shows that both the outsiders were in time integrated into the body of the class. In the end the difference between the likes and dislikes is not great anymore, and that they are all in the positive area.

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Locus of control

The term 'locus of control' describes the extent to which a person is convinced to be able to influence the happening or non-happening of an event. Because of the positive social climate, we estimate, pupils in the extended music lessons have many possibilities actively to influence their fellow pupils - be it that they think themselves more capable, be it that their pupils co-operate better.

The results show no difference at the lower levels between experimental and control classes. In the middle and higher grades the test results in certain fields between experimental and control classes were significantly better. As we are looking at locus of control in social situations, the results fit in well with the positive results the experimental classes achieved in the social area, as the sociographic analysis has shown and as it became - particularly often - evident through the teachers reports. This can not, with certainty, be attributed to the extended music lessons, as the experimental classes were at a higher level from the beginning.

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Intelligence and gender

To eliminate the differences in intelligence as reasons for differences in results of experimental and control classes, a speech-free intelligence test was used. This examination across the board also allowed us to test the truth in the literary saying or, at least, commonly maintained opinion that music is a means to encourage intelligence. The results show that there are no differences between experimental and control classes. The achievements rose by a few points over a period of three years, which is normal development. The slight difference between the experimental and control classes remained.

Interviews with the teachers show that there is a difference in certain areas with regard to the fact that the girls responded better to the extended music lessons and were able to profit more than the boys. We have, therefore, tested whether, over time, differences in the development of intelligence exist between boys and girls. This, however, was not the case. The result of the measurement of intelligence is as follows: extended music lessons do not make the pupil more intelligent, nor does it make them any less intelligent!

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Eloquence is here understood as a cognitive competence, and to test for this we chose the form of a precis. The pupils were told a story, which they had to re-tell. In the lower grades this took the form of drawings (four pictures), whereas in the higher grades it had to be in the form of writing (verbal). Thus the test included eloquence in the widest sense, including perception and short term memory.

The following criteria were established: the accuracy of the precis according to chronological events in the story, the accuracy of facts, representation of emotional content, accuracy of details, as well as the care that was taken and the creativity used in the precis. An overall measure combined all these criteria.

Over the three time measurements, in the middle and higher grades, no difference could be found between the experimental and control classes in the overall measure. The experimental classes showed significant improvements in the areas of 'factual contents and execution'.

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'Creativity' covers two main dimensions: creative thinking and creative production. Creative acts find unusual solutions and many faceted but often unexpected correct results. These don't only show the signs of being 'new' and 'original' but are also marked by their appropriate and useful nature.

At the beginning and the end of the experimental period we gave unfinished drawings to a number of classes and the children then had to say what the pictures would show when completed. The results showed no definite difference in creativity in the music classes. The experimental classes showed a higher average concerning originality, but this difference was not significant. The same statement can be made with regard to production: the result of the pupils in the experimental classes is better, but this does not reach a level of significance. One can, at best, speak of a tendency to increase creativity but the effects are minor.

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Side Effects

The pupils of the experimental as well as the control classes felt much better after a music lesson than after a dictation: they regarded themselves as physically more relaxed, calmer, happier and better than their fellow pupils following a dictation. Additionally, they felt under less time pressure. The children in the experimental classes felt significantly more unwell under the influence of noise (external stress) than the children in the control classes: on the other hand, they were able to handle performance pressure (internal stress) better than the pupils in the control classes.

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Aural Sensitivity

Extended music tuition can influence sensitivity to the effects of noise and the well-being under circumstances of time and performance pressure. If the school of tomorrow would produce an aurally more sensitive generation, it would have implications which cannot yet be estimated; a refinement in the communicative areas would certainly be linked to this. The second result - a heightened resistance to internal stress factors, has great value on the level of health.

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Reading Skills

Positive reports about the acquisition of reading skills abound in the lower grade. Other grades too, often report ease of learning and good development with regards to speech in the music classes. These observations coincide with other results of research for connections between music and language, which suggest that people with a better hearing ability are not only capable to hear sounds and sound-structures better but are also able to reproduce them better.

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Overall Results

The subject performance in the main subjects, whose number of lessons had been reduced, has been measured in class and subject specific tests. The comparison between classes show that, taken over a period of time, the results between experimental and control classes of the same level do not, as a rule, differ. Globally, seen across all the classes, the experimental classes fared slightly better than the control classes.

It became evident in the course of the experimental period that the idea of 'Extended music lessons at the cost of main subject lessons' was easier to carry out in primary schools than it was in secondary schools, with their system of specialist teachers.