Determining How Parents and Their Children Value Music

October 29, 2012 / By: Anna Elizabeth Unger

The intent of this thesis was to determine how parents and their children value music. This study was an investigation of three sub-problems: (1) Does the mother, father or caregiver value: performing music, musical listening experiences, and/or discussing the subject of music? (2) Does the mother, father or caregiver value:  music performance experiences for his or her child, musical listening experiences for his or her child, and/or discussing the subject of music with his or her child? (3) Does the child value:  performing music, musical listening experiences, and/or discussing the subject of music?

The subjects of this study were a class of fifth grade students at Pine Hill Elementary School in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, and their parents. The subjects (students and their parents) responded to mostly Likert-type questions concerning ways people choose to be involved in music and what that says about how they value music in their life. Other themes in the questions included:  attitudes about and involvement in performing, listening and discussing music and how parent’s attitudes and involvement may affect children; attending concerts/rehearsals; parental involvement in children’s musical lessons/practice; and parental encouragement of children’s participation in musical activities based on gender. The survey results were shown on bar graphs or pie graphs in chapter 4. 

The data from the surveys indicated the parents who participated placed a high value on performing music, and singing for their own enjoyment and providing singing opportunities to sing with and for their children. It appeared parents’ influence and attitudes toward music positively influenced their children in this area: many of the children also valued singing for their own enjoyment as an important activity. The children seemed less fond of singing for and with their parents. A large percent of parents valued performing on an instrument for their own enjoyment and playing instruments for and with their children. Most of the children seemed quite excited about playing instruments, while others were less inclined. Parents in this study put a high value on listening and discussing music; most of the children answered similarly, although some not as positively in regard to discussion.