Date of Conferral







Lucy Abernathy


Prior research studies point to a correlational relationship between music instruction and academic achievement studies, but varying results and confounding factors prevent causality. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study is to test Vygotsky's sociocultural cognitive theory that playing a musical instrument is significantly associated with academic achievement in reading for 1st graders who attend 1 of 2 schools in Alaska. Using Analysis of Covariance, this study investigates the relationship between instrumental music and academic achievement on measures of academic progress (MAP) reading scores of 1st graders (n = 76) who received at least 90 minutes per week of string instruction for 2 consecutive years at a Title I school in comparison with those who attended another Title I school without the string program. Although the results of this study did not show a relationship between instrumental music and academic achievement on MAP reading scores of 1st graders, this study has implications for positive social change. This study contributes to this new field of music for social change and underscores the need from public school administrators and music educators for more research at the local and national level on the benefits of music education as a contributor to academic achievement and student success.