Music-Based Science Projects

Sound is a basic requirement for all music. The ear interprets frequencies that are sent through the air by the process of creating vibrations in a particular object. The material of the object changes the timbre of the vibrations and allows humans to perceive several tone qualities. The sound difference in a clarinet and an oboe exist because of the way different materials affect the sound. Experiments can test the physiological and physical properties of sound.

Music and Heart Rate

Do you think that the heart rate will change when listening to different types of music? You will have to take resting measurements before the music is played. Ask the participant to sit in a chair and take his pulse by counting the number of heartbeats per 10 seconds. Multiple that number times six to get his resting heart rate. Play the music and see if the type of music changes the person’s heart rate. Continue taking the pulse of the participant. The best music for this experiment will be a sound that is uniform throughout. You can also purchase a heart rate monitor for a more accurate calculation.

Music and Plant Growth

You will need at least three plants. The first plant will be in a room with classical music playing. The second plant will be in a room with another type of music of your choice. The third plant will be in a room with no music playing. Leave the plants alone and water each equally for at least one week. Check the growth after a week and see if one type of music helped the plant grow better than others. If you want to take the project a step further, run the project again, but, this time, placing the plants and music in different rooms from the first time. This will help rule out location as a possible reason for superior growth.

Music and Concentration

Create a hypothesis to determine whether music will enhance student’s grades or influence her negatively while concentrating. Get a group of at least 20 students of approximately the same age. Give each a very basic math test with simple addition and subtraction of100 questions. In the first test, play classical music and have the students complete the test. After a break, have the students come back for a second test and complete questions without music playing. Compare the results to see if the students listening to music did better than when the students were not listening to music. If you would like to take this test a step further, on the next day, reverse the order of the tests. Give the test without music first and then give the test with music second. This will help determine whether the students were tired from taking two tests.

Cup Size and Pitch

Determine whether the size of an object will affect how high or low it sounds. Get several cups of varying size and line the cups up on a counter. For consistency and the most consistent timbre, each cup should be made of the same material. Tap each cup with a pencil and listen to how high or low the sound is. Compare the cups to each other and arrange them in order from lowest to highest pitch. When the experiment is over, you should know how the size of a cup affects pitch. To take this experiment a step further, try it with water in several cups of the same size. Discover if greater quantities of water will raise or lower pitch.


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