Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Summer 2017

Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S.)



Committee Chair

Dr. Stephanie Stein

Second Committee Member

Dr. Heidi Perez

Third Committee Member

Dr. Bret P. Smith

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Richard Marsicano


Limited empirical support presently exists for the use of music as a behavioral

intervention for students with disabilities. The purpose of this research was to

study whether the social behaviors of children enrolled in a developmental

preschool classroom changed in response to live piano music. The principal

investigator hypothesized an increase in dyadic and/or other group-oriented play

in the presence of live piano music, compared to when no piano music played.

This eight-week study used a single-subject, A-B-A-B-C withdrawal design and a

30-second partial interval sampling procedure to sequentially observe and

analyze the frequency of six operationally defined behaviors among nine

students, ages three and four years. Visual analyses revealed largely

insignificant effects and high data variability. Noteworthy behaviors were

proximity-based play, play in the presence of an adult, and solitary play

behaviors. Limits to the present study and suggestions for future research were


Key words: children, developmental preschool, piano music, social behavior,

music therapy, passive intervention, single-subject design