Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Jennifer A. Bugos, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jack Heller, Ph.D.

Committee Member

William Wiedrich, DMA

Committee Member

David A. Williams, Ph.D.


Band, Cognitive processes, Executive Function, Secondary Music


Data on standardized tests is often used to advocate for the inclusion of music programs in secondary education curriculum. There have been studies that claim to identify a relationship between music participation and higher earned test scores; however, correlation does not necessarily equate to causation. The argument between whether music instruction improves student testing ability or if higher achieving students are attracted to music courses is still prevalent within the music education domain. Executive function represents the processes within the brain that encompass a number of cognitive ability processes used in the transfer of knowledge. These processes are essential to progression and success in education (Caine & Caine, 2006; Chan, et. al., 2008). Research demonstrates that music instruction has the capacity to enhance various executive function processes in young students with previous music instruction and individualized violin training (Bugos, 2010; Ho et al., 2003; Chan et al., 1998). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of secondary music instruction, specifically in the band setting, on executive function processes of processing speeding and working memory. 40 high school students, 20 students who had received previous band instruction and 20 who had not received previous band instruction ages 13 to 18, completed various cognitive and musical assessments to gauge musical ability and cognitive function (measuring attention, working memory, and processing speed). Students from both groups were paired using the Wechsler Abbreviated Intelligence Scale. Analysis of the results demonstrated that students who received prior band instruction demonstrated enhanced processing speed and working memory indices, as well as increased attention abilities.