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Márta Janurik and Villő Pethő: Flow experience in music classes: A comparative study of Waldorf and non-Waldorf schools

The aim of the present paper is to study the subjective experiences of the Hungarian Waldorf students in school based music classes. To what extent are flow, apathy, boredom and distress present? What is students’ attitude to classical music? Do they listen to classical music outside the school? The instrument used was the Flow questionnaire developed by Oláh et al., which targets flow, apathy, boredom and distress in music, mathematics and literature lessons and is comprised of items with five-point Likert scales. There were 171 students from elementary and secondary Waldorf schools in the sample. Their results are compared with those obtained in an earlier assessment, where the same flow questionnaire was administered to students in non-Waldorf schools (Janurik, 2007). We found that the mean scores of flow are significantly higher for the Waldorf students in both age groups, except for elementary school mathematics. The results of the elementary school flow are as follows: singing lessons - Waldorf 3.68, non-Waldorf 2.91; mathematics - Waldorf 3.70, non-Waldorf 3.52; literature - Waldorf 3.56, non- Waldorf 3.03. In the secondary school: singing lessons - Waldorf 3.97, non-Waldorf 2.90; mathematics - Waldorf 3.96, non-Waldorf 2.85; literature - Waldorf 3.86, non-Waldorf 3.24. As regards gender differences, in non-Waldorf secondary schools, boys were shown to have a negative attitude. Namely, boys: music flow 2.37; apathy 3.24; girls: music flow 3.13; apathy 2.12. The results for the Waldorf secondary school students, however, are significantly different (except for the apathy values of girls): boys: flow 3.89, apathy 2.47; girls: flow 4.07, apathy 2.11. We found significant correlations between music, mathematics and literature. The correlation analysis shows, furthermore, that the social status of parents contributes to the background of music learning out of school to a smaller extent for Waldorf students as compared to non-Waldorf students. The results show that Waldorf education facilitates the emergence of flow considerably. Also, the attitude of Waldorf students to classical music, including learning to play instruments, is more positive than that of the non-Waldorf students in the sample.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 109. Number 3. 193-226. (2009)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Janurik Márta és Pethő Villő, Szegedi Tudományegyetem, Zeneművészeti Kar, H–6722 Szeged, Tisza L. krt. 79–81.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia