Improvement in South African students' outlook due to music involvement

Michael M. Roy, Elizabethtown College
Karendra Devroop, University of South Africa
Laura Getz, University of Virginia


In the spring of 2009, we started a concert band programme at a high school in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. In the fall of 2011, we returned to the school to measure the impact of participating in a concert band on the students' attitude and outlook. During our initial and return visits, we measured feelings of self-esteem, optimism, positive affect, negative affect, motivation to avoid losses and motivation to seek gains. We compared participants in our music group to a group of same-age students at the same school who were not part of the music programme. At the second testing, the band members, and not members of the control group, showed increased levels of optimism and motivation to seek gains. The music programme appears to have certain psychosocial benefits, improving aspects of attitude and outlook for participants in the band.