School of Music


Master of Arts in Music Education (MA)


Keith Currie


Musical Instrument, Music Education, Behavioral Health, Research, Physiological, Psychological


Music | Music Education


This thesis proposal, entitled “Learning to Play a Musical Instrument Affects Student Behavioral Health”, consists of a research paper detailing how learning to play a musical instrument has made a significant impact on the behavioral health of students, and the need for this study in today’s society. This study will provide readers with solid research and evidence for the results obtained from this musical education study in the hopes it can show that music therapy needs strengthening in these areas. Through research, clinical studies, assessments, test results, and surveys, this project will show if there are physiological benefits and psychological benefits from music education. Physiological benefits include: the control of hands, fingers, and breath control with wind instruments, as well as the mastery of the written language of musical scores and the ability to count out time values. Psychological benefits include attitude, self-esteem, confidence, and mood. This research will attempt to show how learning to play a musical instrument impacts the behavioral health and attitude of students (presumably the confidence and self-esteem one gains through mastering skills on an instrument). Since music can have an impact on a person’s mood and perspectives, this study hopes to show that learning to engage in music can even help with managing numerous behavioral health conditions, as other studies have already shown that not only does performing on a musical instrument utilize more areas of the brain than other activities, but also that students who play musical instruments do better with math and reading skills.