Effects of Music on Physical Activity Rates of Elementary Physical Education Students


  • David Barney Brigham Young University
  • Keven A. Prusak Brigham Young University


Music is a pervasive presence in society and is routinely used to influence human behavior in a variety of settings and for a variety of purposes including exercise behaviors and physical education (PE) classes. However, little evidence exists to support what effect, if any, music has on learner outcomes in PE. The effects that playing music during elementary PE lessons had on children's physical activity (PA) rates were examined in this study. Physical activity rates (via pedometry) of elementary PE students (Grades 3 to 5, n = 115) were measured under two treatment conditions (music or no music) and across two lesson types (walking or Frisbee) in a crossover design. Data were analyzed using a within-and-within repeated measures ANOVA. Findings indicate that including music throughout PE lessons significantly increases PA for both genders and across both activities (p < .000). Also, a significant music-by-activity type interaction effect was noted (p < .000), indicating that music has an increased effect as the nature of the activity becomes more vigorous. A significant gender effect (p < .000) was also noted. Using music may be a beneficial environmental change that will increase PA in elementary PE and is more pronounced as intensity increases.