Hallam, S. Price, J., & Katsarou, G. (2002). The effects of background music on primary school pupils’ task performance. Educational Studies, 28 (2), 111-122.

Abstract:  Research on the effects of background music has a long history. Early work was not embedded within a theoretical framework, was often poorly conceptualised and produced equivocal findings. This paper reports two studies exploring the effects of music, perceived to be calming and relaxing, on performance in arithmetic and on a memory task in children aged 10-12. The calming music led to better performance on both tasks when compared with a no-music condition. Music perceived as arousing, aggressive and unpleasant disrupted performance on the memory task and led to a lower level of reported altruistic behaviour by the children. This suggests that the effects of music on task performance are mediated by arousal and mood rather than affecting cognition directly. The findings are discussed in relation to possible practical applications in the primary school and the home. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)(journal abstract)