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Version 1.2 – Updated June 2023

Background music


  • Influence: Background music
  • Domain: Teaching Strategies
  • Sub-Domain: Instructional strategies
  • Potential to Accelerate Student Achievement: Likely to have a small positive impact
  • Influence Definition: This relates to playing background music while students are working. Most often it involves low-decibel, instrumental/non-popular background music with an intention to decrease pulse rate, improve classroom behavior, and improve performance on learning tasks.


  • Number of meta-analyses: 2
  • Number of studies: 79
  • Number of students: 3,104
  • Number of effects: 79
  • Weighted mean effect size: 0.08
  • Robustness index: 2


Journal Title Author First Author's Country Article Name Year Published Variable Number of Studies Number of Students Number of Effects Effect Size
Psychology of Music Kampfe, Sedlmeier, & Renkewitz Germany The impact of background music on adult listeners: A meta-analysis 2011 Music as background 43 3,104 43 -0.04
Journal of Aesthetic Education Hetland USA Listening to music enhances spatial-temporal reasoning: Evidence for the "Mozart Effect". 2000 Listening to music 36 0 36 0.23
TOTAL/AVERAGE 79 3,104 79 0.10
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