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Electronic Theses, Treatises and Dissertations The Graduate School
The Effect of Client Preferred Music on
Workout Efficiency and Perceived Energy
Exertion Among Collegiate Football Players
Brittany Ann Mohney
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FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
COLLEGE OF MUSIC
THE EFFECT OF CLIENT PREFERRED MUSIC ON WORKOUT EFFICIENCY
AND PERCEIVED ENERGY EXERTION
AMONG COLLEGIATE FOOTBALL PLAYERS
BRITTANY ANN MOHNEY
A Thesis submitted to the
College of Music
in partial fulfillment of the
requirement for the degree of
Master of Music
Spring Semester, 2015
Brittany A. Mohney defended thesis on April 15, 2015.
The members of the supervisory committee were:
Jayne M. Standley
Professor Directing Thesis
Clifford K. Madsen
The Graduate School has verified and approved the above-named committee members, and
certifies that the thesis has been approved in accordance with university requirements.
I would like to thank the following:
Dr. Jayne Standley, for all the patience and guidance throughout my graduate career.
Your passion for Music Therapy and students is truly admirable.
Dr. Clifford Madsen, for the countless life lessons, meaningful anecdotes and academic
challenges preparing your students for a successful future.
Dr. Alice-Ann Darrow, for your attention to detail and teaching that there is always
deeper than surface level.
Dr. Travis Weller, for fueling my passion for music as a young high school student, and
always setting an example to strive for your dreams.
Professor Daryl Durran, for never accepting mediocrity and pushing me to be the best I
possibly can be.
To my family and friends, for all of your support and encouragement.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF TABLES...........................................................................................................................v
ABSTRACT .................................................................................................................................. vi
1. INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................................... 1
2. REVIEW OF LITERATURE ......................................................................................................3
3. METHOD ..................................................................................................................................18
4. RESULTS ..................................................................................................................................21
A. POSTTEST SURVEY .......................................................................................................28
B. IRB & INFORMED CONSENT FORM ...........................................................................29
C. PREFERRED MUSIC PLAYLIST ...................................................................................33
D. NON-PREFERRED MUSIC PLAYLIST .........................................................................34
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .........................................................................................................40
LIST OF TABLES
1. Results of ANOVA....................................................................................................................21
2. Results of Newman Keuls..........................................................................................................22
3. Participants’ Verbal Responses .................................................................................................26
The differences in workout efficiency and perceived energy exertion between preferred and non-
preferred music were examined through self-report. Minimal differences were shown between
the types of music used; however, significant differences were found when no music was used.
Observations and comments revealed preferred music as being desired above non-preferred
and/or no music among the athletes during workouts. The results of both self-report and informal
observations support the use of music to increase workout efficiency and motivation.
The Effect of Preferred Music on Workout Efficiency and
Perceived Energy Exertion among Highly Trained Athletes
American football has become a favorite pastime among many. For years, people have
gathered around their radios, television and in stadiums to support their favorite teams and
players. As the game has evolved, so, too have the spectators’ expectations. Fans often demand
optimal athletic performance from the players, especially at collegiate and professional levels.
The main objective of football is to move the ball down the field to the endzone to score,
play-by-play, while the opposing team attempts to impede the progress. Players are given
specific responsibilities to assist in the progress such as throwing, catching and/or running the
ball down the field. Other players’ jobs are to physically block rival players from halting
offensive advancement. Due to these demands, football players are required to possess
considerable physical strength. As the game evolves and training techniques improve, coaches
often look for new and unique training approaches. Recently, athletes from a multitude of sports
have incorporated music into their training programs.
Music is an integral facet to a sporting event ambiance. Initially, music was used to
engage the crowd in the game beyond simply watching. It has also been used to fill time between
plays, during time-outs, and other pauses during games. Eventually, music was not only a way to
unify a fan base, but also the teams themselves. Many teams partake in pregame rituals
accompanied by music that help to increase their motivation and focus prior to the start of play.
Once music was established and became commonplace in athletic environments, its
effects on athletes became a source of curiosity. The advancements in music’s accessibility have
allowed athletes to not only use music on game day, but also in their everyday practice. With the
integration of music into the practice arena, understanding its effects on physical training
becomes all the more pertinent. While research exists regarding the benefits of music assisted
exercise and physical training, more specific applications of music can be explored.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
The physical and emotional demands of highly trained athletes are tremendous
throughout the preparatory training of their particular craft. Athletes, coaches, and other
professionals working in this area continue to research means to enhance workouts and increase
efficiency for greater results. The use of music during vigorous physical exercise or training,
otherwise known as a workout, has shown to be successful in elevating mood, increasing
enjoyment, and providing a distraction from unpleasant stimuli experienced during exercise
(Shaulov, Naama, Lufi & Dubi, 2009; Tate, Gennings, Hoffman, Strittmatter & Retchin, 2012;
Whitehead & Knight, 2012). Individuals using music have experienced longer, more frequent
exercise, and have been more productive compared to rates during exercise with no music
(Barney, Gust & Liguori, 2012; Todd, 2006).
Today, using music during exercise is common practice among both the general
population and trained athletes. Personal music players (PMPs) are “devices that allow music to
be digitally downloaded or saved and then played ‘on the go,’ such as an iPod or MP3 player,”
(Barney et al., 2012, p. 23). PMPs allow individuals to listen to their chosen and/or preferred
music rather than adhere to the music often played over a sound system in the facility. More than
half of participants in a 2012 research study stated they would engage in their workout without
music, but preferred the music accompaniment. Primarily, PMPs have reportedly been used to
increase enjoyment, increase exercise duration, increase exertion, and decrease perceived
exertion by 86.4% of participants (Barney et al., 2012).
The enjoyment experienced by individuals during a workout often will assist in the
motivation to increase frequency and duration of exercise. It is a natural human response to
desire and appreciate tokens after laboring oneself in a task, particularly physical activity.
Because of this, tokens are commonly used to shape and change behaviors, such as increasing
the frequency and/or duration of exercise. In 2013, a group of researchers explored the power of
a monetary contingency on the fitness habits of college students. Participants received a base
amount for attendance alone, and their total daily earnings were dependent on their completion
of exercise criteria dictated by the investigators. All participants were successful in increasing
their physical activity levels from being inactive, to three days of activity per week (Irons, Pope,
Pierce, Van Patten, & Jarvis, 2013).
A contingency approach can be effective when a behavioral change is desired. A follow-
up study explored music’s role in this type of system. The following four experimental
conditions were explored: presentation of dependent monetary token, presentation of music, a
combination of money and music, and a control of no money or music. The monetary amount
provided was based on the amount of time a participant engaged in aerobic cycling. While the
monetary incentive effected the cycling durations more than music, the combination of money
and music showed to be significantly greater than the other conditions (Cohen, Paradis, &
LeMura, 2007). The use of music on behavioral change can not only be effective on its own, but
also can help to enhance other contingencies and motivators to attain certain objectives.
Music’s motivational and enhancement abilities have revealed a simple way to assist
individuals in improving workout efficiency and exertion. Specific qualities of music such as
tempo and rhythm can help to arouse oneself to increase effort and duration of exercise
(Karageorghis, Terry, & Lane, 1999; Schneider et al., 2010). Effective physical activity at any
level requires a varying amount intrinsic motivation to overcome the negative aspects of
exercise. Ultimately, one is looking to reach the greatest level of intrinsic motivation referred to
as flow. Flow is described as “the complete immersion in an activity to the point in which
nothing else matters” (Farmer, 2013, p. 1). Flow occurs when an individual’s recognized abilities
match the perceived demands of the task allowing him to become completely immersed. The
following three common areas are practiced to promote the experience of flow: practicing
positive self-talk, visualizing success, and getting “pumped-up.” Adding music to these
techniques helps bridge the gaps between practicing them and experiencing them. Motivational
lyrics and the strong associations made to certain songs helps both trained and untrained athletes
experience flow (Farmer, 2013). Choosing a specific type of music or songs to accompany the
efforts towards a particular goal has demonstrated a number of positive outcomes regarding
exercise and physical performance (Karageorghis & Priest, 2008; Laukka & Quick, 2011). The
natural emotional response to music is powerful and can provide valuable assistance to
Motivation and emotion are closely related when exploring the application of music to
transform behaviors and enhance physical activity experiences. Music affects people on an
individualized basis and, therefore, has differing results from one person to another. Dr. Oliver
Sacks illustrates this phenomenon in his book, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. In
his chapter, The Case of Harry S.: Music and Emotion, Sacks intimately illustrates his
experience with a critically ill patient who was affected by a sudden brain aneurysm and fell into
a coma. When the man awoke from the coma, he was unable to experience emotion and was
indifferent to his surroundings despite regaining much of his intellectual functioning. However,
when the man sang his preferred music, he was able to express a wide range of emotions and
briefly transfer them to his normal daily living. While the man would relapse soon after he
stopped singing, the music served as a way to express emotional and acted as a substitution for
the lack of brain functioning responsible for displaying emotions (Sacks, 2007, Chapter 26).
The emotional experience of music is deeply rooted on a neurological foundation. Music
is experienced through the auditory brainstem into the nervous system causing the cerebellum to
arouse (Bergland, 2012). Once the auditory stimulus of music reaches in the brain, the amygdala
is activated. The amygdala is largely responsible for motivation and emotion. The music heard
facilitates an emotional response of the amygdala allowing it to have an ample affect on one’s
mood (Wright, 1999). Some characteristics of music can affect the type of emotional response
such as tempo, timbre, range and tonality. When examining the syntax of a composed musical
work, data has shown differences in emotional responses when listening to a consonant versus
dissonant work. A more predictable chordal structure elicits more stable emotions, while an
unpredictable structure is described as “more emotional” and evokes a variety of emotions
(Koelsh, Fritz & Schlaug, 2008). The influence of music on emotional state causes the
associations to be made that influence our mindsets, memory, and motivation in an assortment of
life experiences (Rolls, 2013). Because of this, music can aid in maintaining or altering mood to
achieve certain exercise goals.
The effectiveness of different types of music is important to consider when using it as a
tool to improve mood during workouts. Over time, expectations about specific characteristics of
music have evolved. For example, music with an up-beat tempo would be used in a stimulating
environment advocating dancing and excitement, whereas slower tempos are used in calmer
settings and are described as being “more relaxing.” Similar ideas apply when using music with
exercise. Faster tempos are typically used to increase mood, motivation and energy, while slower
tempos promote calming and/or “cooling down” (Sorenson et al., 2008). Using music to
increase mood before and during physical activity can both be effective. When comparing
passive listening before a workout and implementing a musical agency during exercise, music
has been successful in decreasing negative feelings associated with poor mood such as agitation,
anxiety and tiredness. Although, there are physiological explanations to increased mood, data
supports music conditions of passive listen before exercise and an active music program during
exercise were both significantly lower than the baseline conditions when comparing negative
emotions of people engaging in physical activity (Fritz, Hardikar, et al., 2013; Fritz, Halfpaap et
When music is successful in decreasing negative emotions associated with exercise, it
often promotes an increased enjoyment throughout the activity. Listening to preferred music
provides a positive, pleasant experience that masks negative stimuli that may be responsible for
decreasing frequency and duration of exercise (Barney, 2012). Music combined with other
means of entertainment has shown to be superior to a single form distraction, yet the availability
of other methods of distraction during physical activity can be limited (Annesi, 2001). In the
present day, music is a means of entertainment, and customarily enjoyed by those partaking in
the variety of musical experiences available. After years of music being a pleasurable
experience, the preconceived notion of music-listening increasing enjoyment, alone, has shown
improve satisfaction levels of those participating in physical activity (Knight & Whitehead,
2012). It has been suggested that fitness behaviors have been influenced by the degree of
enjoyment experienced during the actual experience. The addition of music to a fitness program
has been linked to an increase in frequency and adherence in weight-loss and generic exercise
programs among a variety of populations (Hradil, 2006).
The enjoyment experience during exercise commonly correlates to an improved physical
performance. When engaging in exercise, people normally use music they prefer, which often
contain lyrics. Many have reported song lyrics helping to facilitate a more thorough emotional
preparation for a competitive sport or lengthy exercise session (Sorenson et al., 2008). These
reports remained consistent in a study specifically comparing the use of music with and without
lyrics during aerobic cycling. No significant difference was found between the two music
conditions; however, music with lyrics did show slightly increased rotations per minute (RPMs).
The two music conditions did elicit significantly higher RPM measures than the no music control
condition (Sanchez, Moss, Twist & Karageorghis, 2014). Similarly, faster tempi and higher
volume can cause a greater neurological activation. The intensity of the music coincides with the
intensity of the listeners’ actions resulting in increased exertion during physical activity (Bishop,
Wright, Karageorghis, 2014). The nuances of varying musical styles can be influential on
neurological and physical feedback during a multitude of fitness techniques.
The intensity of a physical response may depend on and be manipulated by the intensity
of the auditory stimulus; furthermore, a higher intensity of the exercises’ demands may clout the
effectiveness of music as a performance enhancement. Two studies compared the effects of
music on treadmill runs of low and high intensities. The first revealed music providing an escape
or distraction from the less intense condition while acting as a training mechanism to enhance
runners’ form and strides. The second, like in design, proposed the intensities of preferred music
did not mirror the intensities of workouts, but remained consistent while still improving their
overall performances and a pleasurable psychological experience (Hutchinson & Karageorghis,
2013; Hutchinson & Sherman, 2014). The use of preferred music appears to provide the most
favorable psychological and performance outcomes when engaging in strenuous physical
Music commonly has been used to enhance both general and specific fitness goals as well
as performance objectives in athletics. There is evidence that preparation of athletes, both
physically and mentally, can help to improve overall performance when engaging in a physically
demanding activity such as sport, strength and speed training. Preceding sport competition, the
use of music can help to significantly decrease pre-performance anxiety and tension, thus
improving overall performance (Todd, 2006). A team of competitive soccer players participated
in music accompanied imagery prior to a series of games. The separate uses of both imagery and
music showed to be helpful in experiencing flow and performance; yet, the combination of music
and imagery had greater success in flow states and performance (Pain, Harwood & Anderson,
2011). Music can complement preexisting preparatory rituals utilized by athletes to prepare for
optimal focus and performance.
Numerous occasions and researched evidence has demonstrated the capabilities of music
to assist in general physical fitness training and adequate preparation for athletes. It has also been
employed to assist with facets of training in specific areas and crafts. Circuit training is a
technique used to increase muscular endurance via highly intense aerobic exercise. Karageorghis
et al. (2010) provided music accompaniment with synchronous tempi to both men and women
engaging in circuit-type exercise programs. Preferred music was also taken into account, but
showed little affect on the outcome of the exercise. Using synchronous music, motivational
music specifically, to accompany and complement the exercise, despite not showing
significance, did improve endurance among trainees (Karageorghis et al., 2010).
CrossFit training, a more specific type of circuit-type training, uses combinations of
highly intense aerobic and strength exercise to improve overall muscular endurance (Smith et al,
2013). A 2014 study revealed a decrease in performance when music was playing during this
type of training. The music used was a compilation of songs commonly heard in a gym setting.
The principle investigator stated a suspicion that the music’s lack of effectiveness was due to the
advanced physical demands and focus necessary in CrossFit training.
An important skill to acquire to accomplish heavy weight programs is to have reliable
grip strength. Arousing oneself with stimulating music rather than relaxing with soothing music
may help increase grip strength improving overall productivity during weight-lifting workouts
(Karageorghis, Drew & Terry, 1996). Addressing the variety of fundamental skills vital to
complete complex exercise techniques is important when looking for advanced enhancement
approaches in physical training.
The aforementioned training techniques and programs frequently utilized music to assist
with particular goals in mind. The same type of attention and focus goes into training for a
specific sport. Regularly, the use athlete-preferred music during training has shown to be far
superior to non-preferred and/or no music. Though not to a significant degree, this trend
remained consistent when a rowing team’s listening to preferred music increased athlete output
and decrease the pain of rowing. The presence and absence of music showed little difference
overall (Sudar, 2012). A variety of music being played simply as an auditory stimulus with little
purpose did not show to be particularly effective, a purposeful use of music with a faster tempo
resulted in significantly faster completion times for distance rowing trials compared to slow and
no music (Rendi, Szabo & Szabo, 2008). A generic use of music may be effective in routine
physical activity; however, a more structured use of music may be more beneficial when aiding
in definitive sport training areas.
Music is easily accessible and often present during many athletes’ trainings requiring a
more intentional plan for music to be effective. Swimmers rarely have the luxury of music-
accompanied workouts due to few music-playing devices suitable for water submersion. A
device was developed utilizing bone conduction to transmit sound through small ceramic plates
giving swimmers the opportunity to experience music during timed trials. The music condition
proposed significant improvements in both the 80-meter and 500-meter times in contrasting with
no music (Tate et al., 2012). Another group of swimmers showed significantly improved trials
when listening to music in general over no music; yet, music with motivational qualities showed
to be the most effective in decreasing trial times (Karageorghis, Hutchinson, Jones et al., 2013).
Exposing athletes to an unfamiliar technique of training such as music can provide positive
physical and mental performance outcomes.
Music does not necessarily have to be an unfamiliar entity to be successful in improving
specific tasks such as the swimming trials. Simpson and Karageorghis (2006) examined the
effect of motivational, oudeterous and no music on runners completing a 400-meter sprint.
Identical to the above swimming trials, the music conditions improved sprint times, motivational
music being superior to oudeterous and no music. Pre-performance mood was assessed, but
showed little affect on the athletes. These athletes were not considered to be elite, but
experienced in their sport areas. Music enhanced the performances of experienced athletes
similarly to the general population engaging in routine fitness workouts.
The effectiveness of music is not limited to sub-elite athletes, but also experienced by
highly trained athletes. In Surowiecki’s article Better All the Time, he presents and discusses how
the alleged “performance revolution” has affected the professional athletes. Historically, athletes’
workouts consisted of simply staying in shape, not seeking masteries of skills. Upon eligibility to
play a sport professionally, a modern-day athlete is expected to possess the skills to be a starting
player. The professional success of an athlete relies little on inherent ability, but on the degree of
training accessible. The extent to which performance enhancing techniques and equipment has
increased is drastic. Professional sports teams and coaches spend millions of dollars to improve
players’ trainings and abilities (Surowiecki, 2014).
Not only are coaching staffs exploring new ways to motivate and improve physical
performance, but athletes, too, look for enhancement approaches. Music has been used by a
number of notable athletes to increase motivation and enjoyment during physical training. For
example, Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps reportedly listens to “aggressive hip-hop” in
preparation for a race to achieve the motivation and focus he needs to swim his best race every
time he gets into the pool. Krystal Wier, an Olympic sailor, prepares herself with music that
mirrors the sea conditions the day of competition. Gold medal shooter Suzy Balough partly
credits music for her motivation and focus to shoot well. She has also shared having a variety of
genres on her music-playing device to reflect her desired mood (Jeffery, 2012). Music has served
as a cost effective, safe, accessible tool to help enhance the training of professional and Olympic
Many well-trained athletes have reported the positive psychological benefits of music-
accompanied workouts. Despite their high degree of athleticism, music has also been effective in
increasing physical exertion. Music’s use during warm up exercises has exhibited the potential to
significantly increase exertion, thus improving the primary physical performance (Jarraya et al.,
2012). The outcomes of varying tempi among the well trained have shown to be parallel to the
previously mentioned of the untrained. A group of competitive cyclists were evaluated while
listening to music with different tempi. Participants were given a list of songs all within 110-120
beats per minute (bpm) to choose from in order to have uniformity across each cyclist. The
primary investigator altered the tempi of the selected songs randomly to 100 bmp, 120 bpm, or
140 bmp. The faster music had a tendency to increase tension and negative mood among the
athletes; however, their physical performance and exertion slightly increased. The athletes’
performances remained consistent under each condition, but the tempi seemed to affect them
psychologically and emotionally (Dyer &McKune, 2013). At this level, athletes often use
intrinsic motivators and techniques to assist in preparation and physical performances, but music
can still be effective in some aspects of their training.
The vast majority of music’s purpose in fitness and training has been dependent on the
activities’ participants. There is little research on music’s use to achieve group or team objectives
other than group fitness class accompaniment. With the positive effects of music becoming more
familiar, sports teams are beginning to use it in unique ways that fits their needs. Team sports,
namely collegiate, normally workout in groups. This helps to maintain team unity and gives
players the opportunities to encourage a support their teammates during their highly intense
training programs. Outside of their strength and conditioning, teams are beginning to use music
to facilitate accurate play execution and pacing specific to the game itself.
While music is a new technique being used by many teams, few collegiate football teams
have shared their uses with the public media. The University of Oregon are known for their fast-
paced offense leaving many of their competitors fatigued. The Ducks have reported using music
to teach this ambitious style. During practices, the music is used as a cue to achieve a fast
transition between plays. The music is played during the entire practice with a consistent
drumbeat encouraging the players to move quicker. The team listening to the same music at the
same time helps the players move at the same pace and become unified to execute plays quickly
and successfully. Following suit, The Baylor University, Texas Tech University, Houston
University, and Iowa State University have all reported using music to increase motivation and
productivity during their team practices. Baylor teammates reported the music unifying them as a
team by finding common preferences among players. Many collegiate football coaches have
seen and reported noticeable differences between music-accompanied and no music practices.
The therapeutic use of music present in the aforementioned examples is often referred to
as “music therapy”; however, the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) defines Music
Therapy as the “clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish
individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has
completed an approved music therapy program” (1998). In order to receive the Music Therapist-
Board Certified (MT-BC) credential, one must complete an AMTA-approved degree program
and 1,200 supervised clinical hours including a six-month internship. Once the academic
coursework and clinical hours are completed, a national board exam through the Certification
Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) must be passed before earning the credential of MT-BC.
There are many Music Therapy practices and interventions that are appropriate for
athletic training. An important area in strength training is creating neurological connections
allowing the brain and body to work together to increase strength and endurance (Hoffman,
2014). These connections are necessary for an increase in muscular strength that is often required
in sports. Music in strength training has shown to be an effective neurological experience both
physically and emotionally (Zhurnal, 1986). Music Therapy research has shown great success in
neurological development and rehabilitation that can be transferred to this type of neurological
advancement. Music Therapy is often used to address injuries resulting in a compensatory
function in limbs or other areas of the body. Evidence-based Music Therapy interventions are
implemented to teach clients to regain control of their bodies and rehabilitate the functions in
regions for which the body compensates (Baker & Roth, 2004). Post-injury athletes are no
exception to this issue and, therefore, participate in an extensive rehabilitation program. Athletes
with new and seasoned injuries may benefit from Music Therapy interventions to correct any
compensatory function hindering their athletic performances.
Physical compensations tend to result in coordination issues, however it is not routinely
the cause. A lack of coordination can be caused by a developmental delay, brain injury, or
simply inadequate neurological development. Sports require a great amount of coordination for
appropriate play. Some aspects of play can be difficult for even highly trained athletes. For
example, the wide receiver is required to engaged in intricate footwork when running certain
routes to deceive his defender to complete the play and advance down the field. Motor-training
based therapies have made the greatest improvements among individuals with coordination
issues, mainly children (Smits-Engelsman et al. 2012). It is natural for the brain to lock into a
rhythm to make physical tasks and movement easier. The rhythmic aspects of music help the
brain organize the neurological messages of repetitive motions (Sacks, 2007, Chapter 19). Music
Therapy interventions such as Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS) have been used to enhance
these therapies. RAS is used to help teach or rehabilitate movements that are intrinsically
rhythmic. Goals, such as improved gait patterns, have been greatly influenced with the addition
of RAS to existing therapies (Thaut et al., 2008, Chapter 6). RAS has the potential to have
similar success if applied to physical training for athletes. Much of the movement involved in
sports is very precise and rhythmic. Using an RAS-type training could be used to compliment the
training currently being used by coaches.
Coaches are not only responsible for the physical performance of their athletes, but also
their safety during practice and training. Endurance and conditioning practices can be highly
intense and, in some cases, dangerous for young athletes. When engaging in conditioning
exercises such as running drills, heart rates can increase to an unhealthy level if the expectation
is beyond an athlete’s ability. The abilitiy to speed up and slow down heart rates during
cardiovascular exercise is of greater importance as exercise intensity increases. In 2014, Costas
et al. examined the effect of music on heart rate stability during exercise finding a positive
correlation between tempi and heart rates. Faster music showed to facilitate increased heart rates
while moderate and slower tempi.
A technique in tempi manipulation has been developed and used by MT-BCs called the
Iso Principle. The Iso Principle is a technique by which “music is matched with the mood of a
client, then gradually altered to affect the desired mood state. This technique can also be used to
affect physiological responses such as heart rate and blood pressure” (Davis et al., 2008, p. 547).
MT-BCs use their backgrounds in assessment and reactivity to adjust the music to their clients’
needs. To facilitate appropriate heart rates necessary to complete their physical tasks safely and
efficiently, sports teams could utilize the Iso Principle to facilitate effective warm-up and cool-
down actions. Numerous Music Therapy interventions are a purposeful and adaptable use of
music related to the current applications in athletic and physical training.
In 1996, Florida State graduate student Errol Greig conducted a study showing varying
effects of different types of music on football players’ focuses and perceived intensities during
weight lifting workouts. The purpose of this research study is to contribute to this existing study
by determining the effect of client-preferred music on workout efficiency and perceived energy
exertion among highly trained collegiate football players. Workout was defined as the series of
individualized weight lifting exercises developed by the Florida State University Strength and
Conditioning coaching staff.
Two experimental conditions, preferred and non-preferred music, and one no-music
control condition were examined with a posttest only. Repeated measures of each conditioned
were determined by self-report via an experimenter-designed survey. The dependent variable
was the self-report survey scores. Data was collected for 20 sessions under each experimental
and control condition. A computerized randomization was utilized to determine the condition for
each weight lifting session. The players completed a posttest survey (see Appendix A) to report
their perceptions of the workouts by scoring their level of agreement of three statements on a
one-to-ten Likert-type scale, with ten being the strongest agreement. The average scores of all
participants for each survey question were calculated at the conclusion of each session.
One hundred fifteen male members of the Florida State University (FSU) Seminoles
football team (85 roster players and 30 walk-on players) were recruited by the FSU football head
strength and conditioning coach upon beginning the 2015 off-season workout series. Participants
were provided no compensation for their participation. All FSU football players were age 18 to
22 years old at the time of the study.
Setting and Equipment
Workouts were held in the Roger Holler Training Complex weight room located in the
Doak Campbell Stadium on the Florida State University campus. The 14,700 square-foot weight
room is equipped with 24 half-racks (12 squat, 12 bench-press), a variety of plate machines and
free-weights. Prior to entering the weight room, the players engaged in a staff-led group warm-
up routine located on the second level of the fitness facility. After completing the warm-up
exercises, the players jogged down the steps and to their designated weight racks while the
Florida State War Chant played over the previously installed, permanent public address (PA)
The music was played from an iMac desktop computer via the iTunes application. The
music tracks were selected from the preexisting FSU Strength and Speed iTunes account. There
was no predetermined decibel level. The players and staff were free to adjust the volume
throughout the sessions. During the experimental conditions, the music played from the end of
the War Chant and continued until the last player of the group completed his assigned workout.
Surveys were distributed to players upon exiting the weight room through the first level door to
the locker room.
Prior to the start of data collection, informed consent (see Appendix B) was obtained
during daily individual-player weigh-ins. At this time each participant was asked his most and
least preferred music genre, artist(s), song(s), etc. and responses were noted by the primary
investigator. Once preferences were established, an iTunes playlist containing the preferred
genre, artists and songs was created per the primary investigator’s judgment (see Appendix C)
and an iTunes playlist comprised of the genre, artists and songs of the least preferred by the
majority of team members (see Appendix D).
Lifting workouts occurred on each odd hour of the day from seven o’clock in the
morning to one o’clock in the afternoon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Athletes
typically attended the same time-slot each day, but consistent groups were not guaranteed.
To begin the workout, the athletes engaged in a pre-workout stretching sequence as a
group led by a Strength and Conditioning coach that was not accompanied by music. The players
entered the weight room accompanied by the Florida State Seminole War Chant with no
dependence on the experimental group assigned. When the War Chant finished, the primary
investigator established the assigned condition of the workout. Throughout either music
workouts, the music was played from the end of the War Chant until each player left the weight
room. Due to the individualized nature of the workouts, players would spend anywhere from 30
to 60 minutes engaging in their workouts.
Upon completion of their workouts, players filled out a brief survey (see Appendix B) to
determine perceived energy exertion, productivity and motivation throughout their workouts
prior to exiting the weight room. The survey used a Likert-type scale to rate the level of
agreement for three statements to measure their personal workout experiences. Once each player
completed the survey, the means of each survey questions’ scores were calculated to illustrate
the group effect of the varying conditions. Data collection took place of a total of six consecutive
To compare the effectiveness of preferred music, non-preferred music and no music on
the players’ perceptions of their workouts, the mean of the total survey scores under each
condition were taken. A one-way ANOVA was conducted and revealed significance between
the condition averages (see Table I).
Table I. Results of ANOVA
A Newman-Keuls Multiple-Comparison Procedure was performed to determine
significance between the experimental conditions (see Table 2). There was no significant
difference between the preferred and non-preferred music groups, however there was
significance between both the control and preferred music, and the control and non-preferred
music conditions (see Figure 1).
Table 2. Results of Newman Keuls
27.79 - 27.49 = 0.3
27.49 – 26.69 = 0.8 26.69 27.49 27.79
27.79 – 26.69 = 1.1
Figure 1. Overall Outcomes Graph
The results revealed that the athletes highly preferred having music accompany their
workouts rather than no music. When music was used, the players reported more energy exerted,
more efficient and productive workouts, and being more motivated throughout their workouts.
There are a number of possible explanations regarding the results of the study. Despite
the music having differing characteristics that may have contributed to the athletes’ responses,
both music conditions were effective. For example, some songs on the preferred music playlist
had an upbeat, fast tempo, while others had a slower tempo. The tempi of the non-preferred pop
songs had upbeat tempi more consistently. In past research, faster tempi have been shown to
increase energy and improve physical performance during exercise (Dyer &McKune, 2013;
Rendi, Szabo & Szabo, 2008). The preferred songs with slower tempi may have had other
motivational qualities, balancing the qualities between the preferred and non-preferred music
causing similar results.
The nuances of the preferred and non-preferred genres may have contributed to the
results, yet individual factors among the participants also may have affected the outcomes. When
asking about musical preferences, the intended purpose for the music was revealed. Often,
people will have different musical desires for certain
environments. It is possible that the players chose music they preferred to listen to during
workouts rather than a general preference. A preconceived association of a musical type
potentially could facilitate a different response than an unassociated, but preferred, type of
music. It is possible that the non-preferred music was not associated with a workout, and may
have been a distraction from physical and mental fatigue. Participants reported an increased
perceived exertion and productivity during workouts to a similar degree as to that with their
Past workout experience may have developed preconceived associations with the
preferred music genre and exercise. After experiencing the weight room, the coaches and players
also develop a variety of expectations. When a player enters the weight room, the coaching staff
expects the players to exert an appropriate amount of energy to complete an efficient and
productive workout. It is not acceptable for a player to come into the weight room and not exert
sufficient effort. The music still had a significant impact on elite athletes despite their being held
accountable for their workout efficiency and effectiveness. Elite-level athletes are trained to be
able to complete an effective workout regardless of present variables, similar to game day
expectations. They also have already neurologically matured to the degree necessary to perform
these tasks; therefore the music plays little-to-no role in physical training development, but
evidently affects perceived benefits.
Despite a lack of reported physiological effects, many nonverbal observations were made
under each condition. During the preferred music condition, the players’ facial affects appeared
stern and focused. A Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) on staff believed
that the preferred music increased focus during exercise, but also increased rest periods between
sets. (R. Rosado-Vega, personal communication, March 21, 2015). The players who did not like
the generally preferred music were easily recognized during the workouts due to their lack of
reactions to the stimulus. The players most enjoying the music would bob their heads, sing along
and dance between sets. When preferred music was played during the 7 o’clock AM workout,
the players seemed to be more energized the moment the music played as evidenced by faster
walking paces, faster switching of weight plates and overall weight room conversation.
The non-preferred condition brought about drastically different behaviors during the
workouts. When a song was not immediately recognized, the players went along with their
workouts normally; however, if a frequently-aired radio song was played, there was an immense
increase in smiles, laughs and playful behaviors among the athletes. They did not appear as
focused during the exercise as evidenced by talking and laughing with each other while
appropriately positioned for a lift, but rest times between sets seemed to decrease.
When the no music control condition was being implemented, many players would look
over to the computer housing the music with inquisitive looks, most likely wondering if the
music would be played. Players often put their arms up from across the room asking about the
music’s absence, only to be told there would be no music during that workout. Their responses
were often displeased facial expressions and drooped shoulders as they sauntered back to their
designated workout space. Once the participants experienced all three conditions they would ask
the coaches what workouts were to be control groups in an attempt to avoid working out with no
music (R. Rosado-Vega, personal communication, March 21, 2015).
Many of the notable nonverbal behaviors occurred during the workouts, yet many players
expressed their thoughts on the presence or absence of music upon exiting the weight room.
Most verbal responses were comments to be expected under each experimental condition. The
preferred music evoked positive comments about the music, and the players expressed their
enjoyment and approval of the playlist after completing their workouts. They did not hesitate to
express their disgust of the non-preferred music and irritation with no music during control
groups (See Table 3).
Table 3. Participants’ Verbal Responses
Verbal Responses of Athletes during Data Collection
“Loved the playlist today!” (Participant A)
“Music was great!” (Participant D)
“Nice throw-back today, I knew every song!”(Participant C)
“Why are we listening to this?” (Participant G)
“Do you play this just so we complain about it?” (Participant B)
“Can we please change this music?” (Participant B)
Control of No Music:
“No music? I can’t workout now.” (Participant C)
“-1 motivation. I need music.” (Participant D)
“This is worse than the real silent treatment” (Participant E)
“No music today? Dang it!” (Participant E)
“This was horrible without music.” (Participant F)
“I am supposed to sacrifice my workout for a research study?” (Participant B)
Both verbal and nonverbal reactions to the conditions demonstrated the effectiveness of
music-assisted workouts with elite athletes and provided evidence for potential benefits of a
purposeful use of music in Music Therapy. Knowing the different reactions to preferred versus
non-preferred music helps to create a foundation to be used by an MT-BC. During the study,
both players and coaches were educated about Music Therapy and the application possibilities to
the football team. When asked if the integration of an MT-BC into collegiate and/or professional
sports is appropriate, R. Rosado-Vega answered, “Most definitely…they can improve the mood
of a team drastically, which is key when you have 135 ‘tough guys’ going 100% every day! Not
everyone will come in with the right mindset but a Music Therapist can alter the players’ moods
by manipulating their senses. So instead of just having a coach yell and scream at him, possibly
furthering his frustration and anger, you can just let the music alter his behavior, even if just for a
few minutes at a time.” (personal communication, March 21, 2015).
With the acceptance and enthusiasm for Music Therapy use in strength and conditioning
with collegiate athletes, further research should examine the effectiveness of specific Music
Therapy interventions on physical training. For example, an Iso Principle-type technique could
be implemented to facilitate appropriate psychological and behavioral alterations resulting in an
improved physical performance. Using music to rehearse game-specific movement patterns may
promote accuracy and precision among less-seasoned team members. This research study
contributed to existing evidence of music’s effectiveness among highly trained athletes. The
various outcomes and responses, both verbal and nonverbal, gave grounds to proceed with the
implementation of purposeful music use, that is, Music Therapy in sports training programs.
Please circle the number that corresponds to your level of agreement with the following
Strongly Disagree -
Disagree - Neutral -Agree -Strongly Agree
1) I exerted maximal effort in this workout. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
2) My workout was productive. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
3) I remained motivated throughout my workout. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
PRIMARY INVESTIGATOR USE ONLY: Preferred Not Preferred Control
IRB & INFORMED CONSENT FORM
Office of the Vice President for Research
Human Subjects Committee
Tallahassee, Florida 32306-2742
(850) 644-8673 · FAX (850) 644-4392
To: Brittany Mohney
Dept.: MUSIC SCHOOL
From: Thomas L. Jacobson, Chair
Re: Use of Human Subjects in Research
The Effect of Client Preferred Music on Workout Efficiency and Perceived Energy
Exertion Among Highly Trained
The application that you submitted to this office in regard to the use of human subjects in the
proposal referenced above have been reviewed by the Secretary, the Chair, and two members of
the Human Subjects
Committee. Your project is determined to be and has been approved
Expedited per 45 CFR § 46.110(7) by an expedited review process.
The Human Subjects Committee has not evaluated your proposal for scientific merit, except to
weigh the risk to the human participants and the aspects of the proposal related to potential risk
and benefit. This approval does not replace any departmental or other approvals, which may be
If you submitted a proposed consent form with your application, the approved stamped consent
form is attached to this approval notice. Only the stamped version of the consent form may be
used in recruiting research subjects.
If the project has not been completed by 12/04/2016 you must request a renewal of approval for
continuation of 12/04/2015 the project. As a courtesy, a renewal notice will be sent to you prior to
your expiration date; however, it is your responsibility as the Principal Investigator to timely
request renewal of your approval from the Committee.
You are advised that any change in protocol for this project must be reviewed and approved by
the Committee prior to implementation of the proposed change in the protocol. A protocol
change/amendment form is required to be submitted for approval by the Committee. In addition,
federal regulations require that the Principal Investigator promptly report, in writing any
unanticipated problems or adverse events involving risks to research subjects or others.
By copy of this memorandum, the chairman of your department and/or your major professor is
reminded that he/she is responsible for being informed concerning research projects involving
human subjects in the department, and should review protocols as often as needed to insure that
the project is being conducted in compliance with our institution and with DHHS regulations.
This institution has an Assurance on file with the Office for Human Research Protection. The
Assurance Number is IRB00000446.
Cc: Jayne Standley <email@example.com>, Advisor
HSC No. 2014.14144
Collegiate Athletes Consent Forms
My name is Brittany Mohney. I am a graduate student of music therapy with the Florida State
University. You are encouraged to participate in this research study about the effects of using
preferred music to enhance workout efficiency. You will be asked to engage in your pre-existing
workouts with your preferred music, music you dislike and no music. Please read this form and
ask any questions you may have before participating.
Background Information: The purpose of this research study will be to determine the effect of
music preferment on workout efficiency and perceived energy exertion. Results may offer
benefits of using music to accompany workouts.
Procedures: If you agree to participate in this research study, you will be asked to complete
your scheduled workouts under three different music conditions (preferred, not preferred, and no
music). Prior to beginning the study, you will be asked to provide a list of your preferred music
genre, artists and songs. Following each workout, you will be asked to complete a brief survey.
Risks and Benefits of Participating in this Study: This study involves minimal risk that does
not exceed the risks associated with normal daily activities. Potential benefits of participating in
this study include increasing workout efficiency.
Compensation: There will be no compensation for participating. Participation is voluntary and
research activities will take place as part of regularly scheduled workouts without additional
Confidentiality: All records of this study will be kept private and confidential. I will never
include any information that could possibly be used to identify any research participants in any
published report. A master list of names will be used for data collection purposes only.
Documents will be protected in a sealed container and will be destroyed six months after the
conclusion of this study.
Voluntary Nature of the Study: Research participation is voluntary. Your choice whether or
not to participate will not affect your current or future relations Florida State University. If you
choose to participate, you may refuse to answer any question or decide to leave at any time
without penalty or loss of benefits for which you are otherwise entitled.
Contacts and Questions: The researcher for this study is Brittany Mohney, who is overseen by
Dr. Jayne Standley. Dr. Standley is the faculty advisor and major professor for this study. You
may contact Brittany Mohney at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may contact Dr. Standley by phone at
(850) 644-4565 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Please ask me any questions you have, either
now or at any point in the future. If you have any questions or concerns about your rights as a
research participant, you may contact the Florida State University Institutional Review Board by
at (850) 644-8836 or online at http://www.research.fsu.edu/.
Statement of Consent: I have read the information above. I have asked any questions I may
have and have received answers. By signing I consent to participate in this research study.
Signature of Investigator Date
PREFERRED MUSIC PLAYLIST
Song Title Artist
1) WARCHANT FSU MARCHING CHEIFS
2) GET LOOSE TYGA
3) WALK IT OUT UNK
4) FAR AWAY TYGA
5) GOLD AND GARNET DC
6) BLACK AND YELLOW WIZ KHALIFA
7) HOTEL KID INK
8) TRUFFLE BUTTER NICKI MINAJ
9) SHOTS LMFAO & LIL JON
10) AYO CHRIS BROWN & TYGA
11) LET IT ROCK KEVIN RUDOLF & LIL WAYNE
12) ALL I DO IS WIN DJ KHALED
13) THRIFT SHOP MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS
14) LIL BIT K CAMP
15) IT’S GOIN’ DOWN YUNG JOC
16) GOT MONEY LIL WAYNE
17) NOT AFRAID EMINEM
18) PARTY LIKE A ROCKSTAR SHOP BOYZ
19) THROW SUM MO RAE SREMMURD
20) UPTOWN FUNK MARK RONSON
21) YOU KNOW I GOT IT RICK ROSS
22) LOLLIPOP LIL WAYNE & STATIC MAJOR
23) SHE WILL LIL WAYNE
24) WOBBLE V.I.C.
25) LOSE YOURSELF EMINEM
26) SCHEMIN UP OB OBRIEN
27) HONEST FUTURE
NON-PREFERRED MUSIC PLAYLIST
Song Title Artist
1) WARCHANT FSU MARCHING CHEIFS
2) GIVES YOU HELL ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS
3) SOME NIGHTS FUN.
4) HEY THERE DELILAH PLAIN WHITE T’S
5) COMIN’ TO YOUR CITY BIG & RICH
6) PHOTOGRAPH NICKLEBACK
7) BOUNCING OFF THE CEILING A*TEENS
8) LARGER THAN LIFE BACKSTREET BOYS
9) MMMBOP HANSON
10) TAKE IT OFF KE$HA
11) PARTY IN THE U.S.A. MILEY CYRUS
12) WANNABE SPICE GIRLS
13) AIN’T NO OTHER MAN CHRISTINA AGUILERA
14) DOES ANYBODY REALLY KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS CHICAGO
15) I STILL HAVEN’T FOUND WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR U2
16) EVERYBODY HAVE FUN TONIGHT WANG CHUNG
17) BLANK SPACE TAYLOR SWIFT
18) SHAKE IT OFF TAYLOR SWIFT
19) I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE TAYLOR SWIFT
20) RED TAYLOR SWIFT
21) ROAR KATY PERRY
22) DARK HORSE KATY PERRY
23) WIDE AWAKE KATY PERRY
24) FIREWORK KATY PERRY
25) PROBLEM ARIANA GRANDE
26) BREAK FREE ARIANA GRANDE
27) BANG BANG JESSIE J.
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Name: Brittany Ann Mohney
Birth: December 18, 1990
Education: Florida State University
Major: Music Therapy
Degree: M. M. (2015)
Pennsylvania State University
State College, Pennsylvania
Major: Music Education
Degree: B.M.E. (2013)
Experience: Wolfson Children’s Hospital Clinical Internship
June through December, 2014
Memberships: Member of the American Music Therapy Association