The Effects of Music on Athletic Performance

This topic submitted by Gregory Ter-Arutyunov, Spencer Kroll, Stephen Allen, Kyle Ulrich (,,, ) on 10/21/05. [Section: McCollum]
Search WWW WITHIN-SITE Keyword Search

Natural Systems 1 Syllabus---Western Program---Miami University

Gregory Ter-Arutyunov, Spencer Kroll, Stephen Allen, Kyle Ulrich

The Effects of Music on Athletic Performance

Have you ever seen anyone running outside without headphones? It is commonly agreed upon that music affects our physical abilities in many ways. However, most people don't understand the reasons behind these effects. The majority of people would usually try anything to improve their exercise. This study is to scientifically determine the types of music that best improve your physical performance. The results of this study will show statistical data that proves or disproves our hypothesis that music of faster tempo, such as rock or especially techno, will improve athletic performance. We think that this is true because the faster-paced music will generate more motivation and stimulate more energy within the participant and thus psychologically driving them to perform at a faster pace then if they were without music.

The work that has already been done in this field is not very extensive; however, our research has given us a thorough insight on this relatively new field of study. Past studies, such as the Tenenbaum report, have shown that music does not have an effect on the heart rate of an individual. However it does affect the perseverance of the subject and gives them more motivation to exercise longer. In contrast to this theory, other studies such as the Gutfeld report, have asserted that music does affect the heart rate; they have concluded that fast, loud music boosted the heart rate and kept the subjects from exercising longer when listening to slower, “easy-listening” music. The slow stuff, what researchers call “elevator music”, lowered heart rate and allowed the joggers to breathe longer without perceiving them getting any more tired. Although these two reports exhibit two opposing conclusions they both show that music does have some effect on physical aspects of athletic performance. Our experiment will help us determine our position in this binary opposition.

Our experiment is based on a controlled jogging activity under certain types of music. The first step to this process includes finding a suitable amount of persons, who are in good physical shape, to participate in our study. Next it is necessary to ask our subjects to complete a questionnaire that will help us determine a more accurate result from our experiments. The questionnaire will also bring certain factors into our consideration thus helping us to interpret our data properly. This survey will include questions about the person's physical abilities, their daily activities including eating and sleeping habits, and personal information about their age, weight, and sex, and musical preferences. In asking such questions we will be able to further analyze our data to explain certain occurrences or trends within our collected data. After completing this survey, our subjects will partake in a "silent jog” that will allow us to find their personal constant. Then our subject will rest approximately 20 minutes, and proceed to participate in the same activity while listening to an assortment of musical genres with rests in between each activity. All music utilized for the experiment will be fixed at a constant volume level setting. We will measure each of the tests to compare to the constant ('no music' test), and then determine if any change has been discovered. The change in times, or flux, will then be recorded as a positive or negative percentage. The percentages will be accounted for on a personal basis in order to lower the chance of skewed data.
In previous reports such as those mentioned above, the types of music that have been used include dance, rock, inspirational, and no music. In our analysis, we will be using a wider variety of music genres to test on our subjects. The musical genres we will use are classical, country, rock, techno, and rap. We believe that these selected genres of music incorporate most of the music listened to by our tested population, which will be primarily young adults (ages 18-21). One song from each genre will be selected and used to test each and every participating subject. These five songs (one from each genre) will be the purest representations of their respective genres. We understand the idea that each genre of music comes in different paces including slow/soothing pace, medium pace, and fast/energetic pace which can significantly affect our results on athletic performance. For example, while classical is often stereotyped as "slow and soothing" music, it is possible to find certain fugues whose tempos are easily comparable to those of techno, and likewise it is possible to come across certain rock music which is slower than what is commonly expected. The focus of this experiment is to study the differences and effects of musical genres, not tempos. Therefore, in order to eliminate this contradictory quandary, we will generalize each genre in accordance with its respective stereotype (e.g. Classical music is, for the most part, considered to be "slow", so a slow classical song will be selected for the experiment) Rock and techno will be generalized as "fast" paced and country and rap will be generalized as "medium" paced.

Along with representing their genres and generalized paces, each selected song will be unknown to the tested subjects. We will choose such songs that are not common and popular in mainstream music of today, but rather unheard of and uncommon to the average listener. We feel that listening to known music will produce slower results in athletic performance as opposed to unknown music because a familiar song would catch more of your brain's attention, in essence be more distractive, by having you to anticipate the upcoming parts of a song. We believe that using unfamiliar music will eliminate a lot of standard error that could occur due to prior knowledge of the composition of the song.

As mentioned above, the activity that will be employed for the experiment is jogging. The process in which we will go about setting up our experiment and collecting our data includes the following steps. First we will measure out a 400 meter circuit on the Western Campus soccer fields. Next we will begin the process of data collection. Our first step is to distribute the preliminary surveys to each of our participants. After completing the silent jog that will provide us with a standard for each individual, we will provide each runner with a music-listening device (i.e. IPod). Before to each run, each runner will be required to begin their music 30 seconds prior to the start of each music trial. After each run is completed and the times are recorded, each runner will be required to complete a post-survey. This survey will help us better understand the personal reaction to each subjects running experience. To better organize each individual’s personal data, the aforementioned surveys and data sheets will be consolidated into a seven-page packet. This data collection of this experiment will last for two days, the 15th and 17th of November. On the first day we will be measuring the initial no-music time as well as the country and techno times. For the second day, we will be measuring the times for the rock, classical and rap music.

The main advantage of jogging over any other type of physical exertion is that our study will appeal to more people and thus be more relevant, since there are clearly more people who run than do other physical activities such as push-ups. It is important for our subjects to understand that they are not to be running at full pace or competing with one another for the faster time. Instead, they should be at a comfortable pace that they can maintain for an extended amount of time. Joggers should not make any conscious efforts to control their jogging pace but should simply go with the flow and let the music guide them like a sail in the wind.

Title: Runner Times for Each Music Genre

Runner none classical rap country rock techno

Questionnaire A
(To be taken before the initial run)

Name: _________________________ E-mail: ______________________________

Sex: _______ Age: ______ Weight: _______ Height: ______

-Did you play a sport in high school (if so, which sport(s))? YES NO
Sports: _______________________________________________

-Are you physically active now (do you run/work out regularly)? YES NO

-What kind of music do you prefer? ________________________________

-Do you listen to music while working out? YES NO

-What music do you believe will enhance your physical performance?

-How much sleep do you normally get each night? ______ hrs. Last night? ______ hrs.
Are you architecture major? YES NO

-Number of hours since your last decent meal (full plate)? _________ hrs.

-Have you been under any considerable stress lately? YES NO
Rate your stress level (No Stress) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (Most Stressed)

-Are you a smoker? YES NO

Below is a rough draft of "Questionnaire B" to be taken after each individual test has been completed for each genre.

-Did you recognize any of the music that was played? YES NO

-If so, how do you think that affected you?



-Do you think you performed well physically? YES NO

-Rate the "enjoyablility" of this experience:

Not enjoyable at all - 1 2 3 4 5 - Very enjoyable
Cited References

Anshel, M., & Marisi, D. (1978). Effect of music and rhythm on physical performance. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 49, 109-113.

Beaver, D. P. (1976). Pace through music. Modern Athlete and Coach, 14, 12-13.

Blumenstein, B. (1992). Music before starting. Fitness and Sport Review International, 27, 49-50.

Brownley, K., Murray, R., & Hackney, A. (1995). Effects of music on physiological and affective responses to graded treadmill exercise in trained and untrained runners. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 19, 193-201.

Copeland, B., & Franks, B. (1991). Effects of types and intensities of background music on treadmill endurance. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 31, 100-103.

Gfeller, K. (1988). Musical components and types preferred by young adults for aerobic fitness activities. Journal of Music Therapy, 25, 28-43.

Karageorghis, C., & Terry, P. (1997). The psychophysical effects of music in sport and exercise: A review. Journal of Sport Behavior, 20, 54-68.

Mertesdorf, F. (1994). Cycle exercising in time with music. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 78, 1123-1141.

Snyder, E. (1993). Responses to musical selections and sport: An auditory elicitation approach. Sociology of Sport Journal, 10, 168-182.

Szabo, A., Small, A., & Leigh, M. (1999). The effects of slow- and fast- rhythm classical music on progressive cycling to voluntary physical exhaustion. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 39, 220-225.

Tenenbaum, G., Fogarty, G., Stewart, E., Calcagnini, N., Kirker, B., Thorn, G., & Christensen, S. (1999). Perceived discomfort in running: Scale development and theoretical considerations. Journal of Sports Sciences, 17, 183-196.

Below are some web addresses to certain sites that have influenced our experiment:


(These are the results of an experiment on physical
performance tested in England)


(Effects of types and intensities of background music on treadmill endurance.)


(The effects of slow- and fast-rhythm classical music on progressive cycling to voluntary physical exhaustion.)


(Influence of music on ratings of perceived exertion during 20 minutes of moderate intensity exercise.)


(Enhanced spatial performance following 10 minutes exposure to music: a replication.)

Next Article
Previous Article
Return to the Topic Menu

Here is a list of responses that have been posted to this Study...

Important: Press the Browser Reload button to view the latest contribution.

Respond to this Submission!

IMPORTANT: For each Response, make sure the title of the response is different than previous titles shown above!

Response Title:

Optional: For Further Info on this Topic, Check out this WWW Site:
Response Text:

DOWNLOAD the Paper Posting HTML Formating HELP SHEET!

We also have a GUIDE for depositing articles, images, data, etc in your research folders.

Article complete. Click HERE to return to the Pre-Course Presentation Outline and Paper Posting Menu.

Visit the rest of the site!

Site NAVIGATION--Table of Contents

Listen to a "Voice Navigation" Intro! (Quicktime or MP3)

Search WWW WITHIN-SITE Keyword Search!!



Hays' Marine Ecology Images and Movies Ohio Bird Photo Collection | Tropical Bird Collection | Costa Rica Image Collection | Edge of the Farm Conservation Area | Hays' Tarantula Page | Local Watershed Fish Studies| Wildflowers, Arthropods, ETC in SW Ohio | Earth Science Resources | Astronomy Links | Global Change | Marine Ecology "Creature Study Guide" |


| Educational Philosophy | Discovery Labs: Moon, Geologic Time, Sun, Taxonomy, Frisbee | Project Dragonfly | Vita |Field Course Postings | Student Research Postings | Nature/Science Autobiography | Environmental Programs at Miami University


Daily Necessities: Macintosh Resources |Search Engines | Library Resources|Server Stats| Family Album | View My Schedule | View Guestbook | Western College "Multimedia Potpourri"

DOWNLOAD the Paper Posting HTML Formating HELP SHEET!

We also have a GUIDE for depositing articles, images, data, etc in your research folders.