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Angela Martin

Mrs. Thomas

UWRT 1103-020

February 17 , 2018

I believe that my inquiry proposal answers most of the required questions. I feel confident

about my use of intriguing the audience about my question and making them want to dive deeper.

I also feel confident about how important the question of learning and music is regarding higher

education and education in general. I have changed my draft from beginning to end mostly by

changing minor grammatical errors and wording of sentences. This would go along with the

student learning outcome of knowledge of conventions since I was following formal and informal

rules of writing. I also added some questions that my peers suggested to think about in our

writing conference. This change relates to the student learning outcome of the composing

process since it involves collaboration and getting feedback.

A belief commonly held by society is that if babies listen to classical music, it will make

them more intelligent. Pregnant women even go as far as playing Beethoven’s sonatas through a

speaker held closely to their stomach. But does music actually increase their child’s intellectual

ability? How much does music play a part in human developmental growth? What about playing

a musical instrument? Even more so, I have wondered how much music affects the ability to

learn throughout childhood and into adulthood. In this day and age, access to music is readily

available through our smart devices. College students can be seen at the library with their

headphones in, studying away and tuning out the world on a Spotify instrumental piano playlist.

Does this musical stimulation actually benefit their cognitive ability? Does it improve their

memory? Does it depend on the genre or style of music? Is time a factor and does music make
studying take longer? As you can see, the larger question of if music affects learning is extremely

broad and can be broken into several smaller questions. As an avid music listener in college, I

desire to know whether or not I am benefitting my studies or deteriorating them. During my

research this semester, I hope to dive deeper into these questions and discover the effects of

music and learning that can benefit myself and my classmates.

Music is one of the defining elements that make us human. Sociologists and

anthropologists have found that every single ancient and current society have had music as a part

of their culture. It is even believed that the creation of music arose before language was

developed. The effects of music on the brain have been relatively understood since its creation.

Music has been used for religious, spiritual, psychological, and even healing purposes

throughout human history (Greenberg). The in-depth and scientific research of the effects of

music has come about in recent times. The field of music psychology has been on the rise, and it

involves researching and understanding all aspects of the effects of music on humans. There has

been extensive research within the field of music psychology relating to learning. Music and

cognition, the developmental psychology of music, and even the neuroscience of music have

been studied (Oxford). Neuroscientists outside the field of music psychology are interested in the

topic as well, specifically relating music to attention span and cognitive ability. Major schools of

medicine such as Stanford have conducted this research by using MRI technology to indicate

which parts of the brain are active during music listening (Stanford). The amount of research

being done on music and learning is extensive and offers valuable knowledge into its benefits or

negative impacts.

In order to find more perspectives on my question, I will search through databases to find

studies and experiments relating to music and learning that have been performed by various
music psychologists and neuroscientists. I will also look through medical journals that have

articles related to my topic. This topic is extremely broad, so I will narrow my searches to music

and developmental growth, playing an instrument and its correlation to learning, the effects of

listening to music while studying, the effects of listening to music and memory, and what genre

of music is the most beneficial to aid learning. Some subject words that I can use to help my

search are education, music education, popular music, genre, composers, musicians, brain

development, and early childhood learning.

The answer to whether or not music affects our cognitive and learning ability is

extremely important to my classmates and the larger UNCC community. Music has become a

part of our daily lives through radio, smartphones, computers, and other technologies. Whether

we’re in the car or going for a jog, our society is constantly plugged into music. More related to

learning, students often listen to music while studying or doing homework. It is important to

know if listening to music while studying is beneficial or hinders our learning. Education is vital

for obtaining a career or growing as a person; therefore, we should learn in the best manner

possible. This topic is also important because if music is found to help learning, it could help

those who have learning disabilities or anxiety related to school or test taking. Not only is

learning a part of academia but a part of our daily lives as well. We constantly learn how to

perform new tasks, how to interact with others, how to become more independent, etc. Learning

is essential to survival and discovering whether or not music aids our learning processes could be

life changing.
Works Cited

Baker, Mitzi. “Music Moves Brain to Pay Attention, Stanford Study Finds.” News Center,


Greenberg, David M. “What Is Music...Exactly?” PsychologyToday, 3 Aug. 2016,

“Psychology of Music.” Psychology of Music | Oxford University Faculty of Music,