Title: 

Tuning the Heartstrings: Music Education, Persistence, and the Parasympathetic Nervous System

Funding detail: 
NEA Research Grant
Institution: 
Play On Philly
Principal Investigator: 
Steven Holochwost
Project summary: 

To support a randomized controlled study examining the impact of music education on behavioral and neurophysiological pathways for academic performance. Researchers will study the effects of music education on young children's persistence and their parasympathetic nervous system activity. In partnership with WolfBrown, Play on Philly will conduct a study in a school in a low-income area of Philadelphia, randomly assigning students to either a music education program or to a waitlisted control group. Students in the intervention group will receive music education daily across the school year. Measurement tools include pre- and post-assessments for cardiac activity, executive function (a set of mental skills that include working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control), and persistence. The study will provide insights into whether and how music education exerts a positive effect on academic performance by reorganizing children's behavioral and neurophysiological functioning.