Academic journal article Physical Educator

An Examination of Physical Education Teachers' Perceptions of Utilizing Contemporary Music in the Classroom Environment: A Qualitative Approach

Academic journal article Physical Educator

An Examination of Physical Education Teachers' Perceptions of Utilizing Contemporary Music in the Classroom Environment: A Qualitative Approach

Article excerpt

One of life's basic enjoyments is listening or hearing music within the context of a person's environment. Regardless of setting, music may be viewed as a constant, either in part or in whole, to the activity performed. Music as it relates to a person's environment also applies in the context of physical activity.

Priest, Karageorghis, and Sharp (2004) created a conceptual framework supporting the effects of music during physical activity. Concepts addressed within the framework were (a) rhythm response, (b) musicality, (c) cultural impact, and (d) association. Rhythm response refers to musical rhythm, most notably tempo. Tempo denotes the speed of music as measured in beats per minute (BPM). Musicality is specific to the response to pitch-related elements such as harmony and melody. Cultural impact refers to how prevalent a specific genre of music is infused within a particular society or social environment. Finally, association references extramusical association, such as emotions, a piece of music may evoke in an individual or group (Karageorghis, Jones, & Low, 2006). This conceptual framework has been established to predict effects of asynchronous (i.e., absent of conscious synchronization between physical movement and accompanying musical rhythm such as background music) motivational music in the environmental context of exercise and sport.

As noted, research has investigated the effects of music in the physical activity setting. Karageorghis et al. (2006) investigated the association among exercise intensity, music tempo, and music tempo preference in college students. Participants were instructed to select their top three artists for listening while treadmill walking at varying levels of intensity. The results suggested participants preferred fast-tempo music, with fast-tempo music associated with increased workload intensity. The investigation of the effects of music on physical activity has been expanded to include the physical education (PE) setting.

Barney and Prusak (2015) investigated the effects of music on physical activity in elementary children during classroom PE lessons. Third, fourth, and fifth grade students participated in two Frisbee and two walking activity lessons. One lesson for both activities (i.e., Frisbee and walking) included music, whereas the other lessons for both did not incorporate music. Findings suggest students were more active, as indicated by step count data, in both lessons with music playing. Additionally, students generally preferred fast-tempo music, and when the fast-tempo music was playing, workload intensity also increased. The relation of music to physical activity in the PE setting was also explored with 106 college students enrolled in four 30-min basketball classes (Barney, Prusak, & Brewer, in press). Two classes played two sessions of 30-min basketball while music played, whereas the other two classes playing two sessions of 30-min basketball with no music playing during gameplay. Pedometers measured individual step counts and time in activity. On average, students playing basketball with music incorporated 370 more steps and were in activity approximately 3 min more than students playing basketball with no music. Investigations point to the potential benefits of music on workload during physical activity. However, reviews suggest limited findings specific to physical educators' perceptions of incorporating music in PE lessons and its subsequent effects to their classes and students.

Harms and Ryan (2012) observed and reported on how music enhances the PE classroom environment. Qualitative observations and interviews of two elementary PE teachers incorporating music within their classrooms were obtained. Physical educators in this study commented on increased student excitement and activity engagement observed in the classes with music playing. The investigators also noted that when music was not being played, there were more off-task behaviors by students in class, findings similarly described by Krystosek (2003). …

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