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The Effects of Music on Children with Anxiety

Lindsay A. Buckel
Univerity at Buffalo, State University of New York
Introduction

Causes

A disorder often overlooked or undiagnosed in


children is anxiety. Surveys indicate that 10 to 15
percent of children in America meet the criteria for a
diagnosed anxiety disorder, making it the most
common of pediatric emotional disorders (Foxman,
2004). How can we as teachers work with these
students, specifically in the music classroom?
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Intervention

Notes

Cognitive
Dissonance

TARGETED

e.g. fearing a bully because their


school mates fear them.
Strong personal or family beliefs,
sexual abuse, inflexible personality.

Depression/mania Irritability, insomnia, somatic


and Psycosis
complaints, social withdrawal.

Purpose
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To review research literature answering these


questions:
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1.) What causes anxiety in a child?

Social
Family Discord
Bullying

2.) How can educators accommodate students with


anxiety disorder?
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3.) What techniques and strategies can be used in


the music classroom for students with anxiety
disorder?

Heritability is in the range of


0.2-0.5

Hormonal

premenstrual, hypothyroidism,
phaeochromocytoma
stimulants, cold medicines,
steroids, antihistamines,
withdrawal
(Williams & Hill, 2012)

The underlying process for their transmission is learning, a relatively permanent


change in behavior as a result of the individual that is not attributed to other
temporary causes including motivation, fatigue, drugs, or maturation

(DiTomasso & Gosch, 2007, p. 7).

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DIRECT

VICARIOUS

INFORMAL

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e.g. watching
another student get
bullied.

Apprehension and
anticipation when
any variable of the
original situation is
recreated.

Learning anxiety
from another
persons experience.

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e.g. A child is told


by other students to
avoid someone who
is a bully.

Learned through
word of mouth but
not seen in context.

Proactive prevention for an entire group


e.g. a school district

ReadySetR.E.L.A.X. - A group that involves muscle relaxation,


meditation, active imagination, self-talk and use of music for selfesteem.
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-Working in groups: fear of failing in front of others


-Ethnic background: Are they a minority?

In my own classroom:
-Being more aware of signs of anxiety
-Prevention techniques

Participants: 36 children ages 8-12 with anxiety disorders

-Positive environment

Design: 60 minute individual therapy sessions (x3) and 100 minute


group therapy sessions (x9)

-Organic music/Preferred Music

including - drawing, group drumming, puppets, improvisation


and expressing emotions through music.

Orff-based music therapy (Detmer, 2010)

Participants: 32 graduate and undergraduate music therapy


students from a large Midwestern university

The commonly accepted theory explaining the pain-, anxiety-, and


stress-reducing effects of music is that music acts as a
distractor, focusing the patients attention away from negative
stimuli to something pleasant and encouraging (Nilsson, 2008).

-Beginning of the school year: new environment and new people

I always knew that music could reduce


anxiety from personal experiences but it
was exciting to read research supporting
that idea.

Multimodal music therapy (Goldbeck, 2012)

Identify
-shy: not talking or participating

Conclusions:

Question #3 - techniques in the music classroom?

Question #4- How does music reduce stress?

-disinterested/avoidance: not making eye contact, lackluster


e.g. Seeing
someone violently ill
or attacked by an
animal.

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UNIVERSAL
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Question #2- How can educators accommodate?

-aloof: a bad attitude, talking back

Subgroups or individuals with biological or social


risk factors

Design: Two groups participated in different styles of Orff-based


therapy and were measured using the Spielberger State
Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI).

Question #1- What causes anxiety in children?

Design: Complete a pencil maze blindfolded then played music


while attempting the maze to see if anxiety was reduced.

SELECTED
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Method

Neurological

Medication

Participants: Two groups of fifty males and fifty females. One


group was music majors and the other was not.

Not making friends, hateful words


and actions

Effects of music measured by skin response (Peretti &


Swenson, 1974)

Migrane, epilepsy, lead, tumors,


hypertension

Individuals at high risk


of developing mental
health disorders

Divorce, arguing

4.) How does music relax and help reduce stress in


children?

Organic
Genetic

Psychological
Learned

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Very little research is available on using


music to reduce anxiety in children. Two
recommendations that I have made for
future research includes:
-Different age groups

-Blood Cortisol Levels

-Music preferences

-Heart Rate

-Parental participation

-Blood Pressure
-Respiratory Rate