Objective: To investigate effects of increased music education for 5–6th graders.
Design, subjects and interventions: During the school year 1 hour music education was added each week for two classes. These were compared with classes receiving 1 hour extra data education and classes following ordinary curriculum.
Outcome measures: Questionnaires: Students were given ‘I think I am’ (measuring self-esteem) and Social Anxiety Scale for Children-Revised (SASC-R) (measuring social anxiety). Parents were given Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory-Parental version (SPAI-P) (measuring social phobia) and Child Behaviour Check List (CBCL) (measuring psychopathology).
Biological measures: Saliva samples for cortisol were collected on three occasions during the school year, each day four samples (at awakening, 30min later, 1h after lunch, before going to bed).
Results: The music intervention group had significantly (F = 4.98, p = 0.01) lowered levels of cortisol during the afternoon at the end of the school year. Interaction (group and time) analyses concerning afternoon cortisol levels were not significant (F = 1.97, p = 0.11). There were no significant differences over time within or between the groups on the psychological instruments.
Conclusions: Even if not conclusive, the findings suggest that the music intervention may have been of benefit. For a full-scale investigation larger study groups are recommended and special attention to the specificity of interventions and to motivating non-intervention classes for participating. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.