Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Music Therapy

First Advisor

Eric G. Waldon

First Committee Member

Feilin Hsiao

Second Committee Member

Ruth V. Brittin


The purpose of this experimental study was to investigate mindfulness strategies and their influence on working memory. The potential role of music in facilitating mindfulness practice is explored. Various listening exercises were investigated along with their influence on working memory (i.e. attention control). Thirty-four individuals were randomly assigned to participate in one of four listening groups: 1) mindfulness with music, 2) mindfulness without music, 3) music only, and 4) silence. Thirty-four participants engaged in a computerized digit-span task before and after the listening exercise to assess pre- and post-test working memory performance. Thirty participants were included in data-analysis due to technical errors in data collection. Differences between listening exercises were explored and comparisons were made between mindfulness, non-mindfulness, music, and non-music based exercises. Two-tailed independent samples t-tests found no significant differences in working memory when comparing mindfulness versus non-mindfulness and music versus non-music based exercises. An Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) indicated no significant differences in working memory for any of the listening conditions. Results call for further examination of control variables and methodology to explore the role of music listening in mindfulness practice. Implications for further research and contributions to music therapy and music education are considered.





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