Bridging Disciplines with Melodies: The Interdisciplinary Impacts of Music Education on Non-music Major Undergraduates


Music has long been recognized for its universal appeal and its potential to influence cognitive and emotional processes. In the higher education context, courses traditionally seen as non-essential, like music, are often sidelined. Yet, preliminary studies suggest a strong interdisciplinary connection between music education and enhanced learning experiences across multiple academic disciplines. This research digs at the ways in which non-music major students might benefit from a general education in music by exploring how exposure to music curricula can forge links with their main academic interests and enrich their education. This study used a mixed-methods strategy by surveying and interviewing a group of 200 college freshmen from three institutions who had completed at least one general music course but were not majoring in music. Finding possible relationships and narratives about their music education experiences was the goal of this research, which cross-referenced academic achievement, retention rates, and self-reported insights. Preliminary results showed that 78 percent of students surveyed agreed that taking music classes benefited their overall academic performance. Improvements in critical thinking, problem solving, and subject-matter recall were also linked to musical training. Music education as part of a student's general education provides benefits beyond learning to play an instrument. It allows students to move between subjects more easily, creating a more holistic learning environment. Recognizing that even students not majoring in music may gain useful skills and perspectives from studying music, universities should rethink the scope of their general education courses.

Author Information
Yuan Cong, UCSI University, Malaysia

Paper Information
Conference: IICE2024
Stream: Interdisciplinary

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon