Semester of Graduation

Spring 2024


Master of Music Education (MME)


School of Music

Document Type



The impact of music instruction on child cognitive development has been examined by researchers in many contexts, but not as often in very young children. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of music instruction on the spatial and cognitive skills of preschool children ages 3-4. Participants in the study were 68 three- to four-year-old students who received weekly music instruction at a private school in South Louisiana. Of the 68 participants, and using a quasi-experimental design, 30 students in three intact classes were randomly assigned to receive a movement song treatment and the other 38 were assigned to the control group to receive traditional, whole-class music instruction with no movement for the duration of the treatment period. Preschoolers in the experimental group met once a week for thirty minutes for a movement music class over eight consecutive weeks while the control group met for regular music instruction with no movement over the same eight-week period. Participants completed the Audie test of early childhood musical aptitude and a modified version of the Test of Spatial Ability (TOSA) to examine early childhood executive function and cognitive development. Results indicated that the movement intervention had a positive effect on participants’ cognitive development over time. Implications for early childhood movement in music instruction are discussed.



Committee Chair

Saccardi, David