An investigation of the relationship between musical aptitude and bilingualism

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Music Education

First Advisor's Name

Janet Duguay-Kirsten

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Joel Galand

Third Advisor's Name

Erskine Dottin

Date of Defense



The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is a relationship between musical aptitude and the ability to speak more than one language. The sample size of 50 participants consisted of six-year-old students without prior formal music training. Participants' bilingual ability was determined by their English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Levels, as documented by their school district. Musical aptitude was assessed using the Primary Measures of Music Audiation (PMMA).

A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted. Bilinguals' mean scores in the PMMA were significantly higher at the p< .oi level than their monolingual counterparts. The study found no interaction between bilingual and monolingual groups.

Results point to the existence of a relationship between musical aptitude and the number of languages spoken by individuals. The researcher suggests that music teachers screen students for bilingual abilities to identify those who may have increased musical aptitude correlated with their linguistic diversity.



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