Thesis Title

The Effect of Learning Musical Notation and Performance on the Reading Fluency of At-Risk Middle School Students

Graduation Date

Summer 2008

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name


Program Director

Lisa Ray Kelly


Finding a way to improve the reading ability of students who are performing below grade level is vital to our educational system. Learning music has a profound effect upon the human brain. In many instances, learning music has improved academic performance. Experiments were done to determine how learning and performing musical notation affect the textual reading fluency and reading comprehension of at risk middle school students. One group of 11 students was surveyed and taught 12 music lessons. They were tested on their reading fluency and comprehension before the lessons and after.

It appears from the data and from direct observation that learning musical notation and performance had a positive impact on students. Even when the students were resistant to being impacted by the musical instruction, their reading comprehension scores improved over the control groups. This study shows a correlation that learning musical notation and performance can positively impact students who are not only struggling with reading but are also behavior problems. It also shows that learning music is accessible by any student regardless of their language barriers.

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