Music intervention for 5th and 6th graders-effects on development and cortisol secretion

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To investigate effects of increased music education for 5-6th graders.

Design, subjects and interventions:

During the school year 1 hour music education was added each week for two classes. These were compared with classes receiving 1 hour extra data education and classes following ordinary curriculum.

Outcome measures:

Questionnaires: Students were given ‘I think I am’ (measuring self-esteem) and Social Anxiety Scale for Children-Revised (SASC-R) (measuring social anxiety). Parents were given Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory-Parental version (SPAI-P) (measuring social phobia) and Child Behaviour Check List (CBCL) (measuring psychopathology).

Biological measures:

Saliva samples for cortisol were collected on three occasions during the school year, each day four samples (at awakening, 30min later, 1h after lunch, before going to bed).


The music intervention group had significantly (F=4.98, p=0.01) lowered levels of cortisol during the afternoon at the end of the school year. Interaction (group and time) analyses concerning afternoon cortisol levels were not significant (F=1.97, p=0.11). There were no significant differences over time within or between the groups on the psychological instruments.


Even if not conclusive, the findings suggest that the music intervention may have been of benefit. For a full-scale investigation larger study groups are recommended and special attention to the specificity of interventions and to motivating non-intervention classes for participating.

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