Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Aviation

First Advisor

Elizabeth Bjerke

Abstract

Many varying studies have been conducted that examine the effect that learning a musical instrument has on the cognitive abilities of children and young adults. A number of these studies indicate that learning a musical instrument will enhance certain cognitive abilities. This study takes these theories and applies them to collegiate flight training in an FAA FAR Part 141 training environment.

Participants were surveyed about the extent of participation in instrumental music. These results were then matched with their flight and academic records for a collegiate private pilot course. Using different statistical comparisons, specific measures of success in the private pilot course were measured against different measures of participation in instrumental music. It was discovered that, for most of the areas explored in the study, there was not a significant difference between participants with instrumental music experience and those that were not involved in music. However, statistical significance was found to correlate general participation in instrumental music and a reduction in the number of flight hours necessary to complete the private pilot course. In support of these findings, when the instruments were broken down by group, participants that played the piano showed a significant reduction in the number of flight hours required to complete the private pilot course as well. These results demonstrate that there is some effect of participation in instrumental music on flight training, but more study is warranted.

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