A Fun Science Project – Do Plants Like Music

Much has been said and argued about music affecting the growth of plants.

Back in 1973 it was reported that geraniums grew faster when they were played Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. In 1991 someone reported that he had stimulated plants to generate more protein by playing audible notes which produced vibrations occurring in molecules during protein formation.

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Another experimenter reported that young bean plants subjected to heavy metal music grew faster than those subjected to soft country music. The experimenter also reported that before they even knew about the passing of Mr. Horton, of whose music they used on the plants, the visible positive results the plants had started showing were fast diminishing. This result was mentioned to a renowned biologist who commented that one should get the same result using an electric fan in place of a loudspeaker with music.

He said that plants in nature grow well and strong with mechanical agitation such as wind and storm. Therefore one might do the right experiment and draw the wrong conclusion.

Well it appears that there is only way to settle the argument and find out once and for all whether plant growth is affected by music. Ready? We’re going to do this project with seeds and with plants.

You are going to need five pots and saucers, potting soil, water, a CD or cassette player and four different types of music. You might try classical (soft), hard rock, country, and Sinatra. You can substitute different music but make your selection of very different kinds of music. You will also need ten bean seeds, five plants of similar type and size, labels, marking pen, camera, and paper.

Get five plants of the same size and type, and put them where they get sun from the east.

Every day, play music for twenty minutes to each plant. Each plant will get a different type of music. You can try country music on one plant, and with the others, play classical, rock and oldies. Water the plants every other day. One of the plants will get no music. This is your experiment control.

Photograph your plants at the beginning of the experiment, and keep careful records of which plant gets what kind of music.

At the same time that you started with the plants, take ten bean seeds and plant two seeds in each pot. You will need five pots in all. Water as needed. Make sure that each gets exposed to one of the four different types of music. One pot should hear no music.

Keep careful records, take lots of photographs. Be sure to give all plants the same amount of water and light. After one month, check and see which plant is the tallest.

Mort Barish is co-founder of Terimore Institute, Inc. Terimore Institute provides science fair projects for children in grades K-12 to help them successfully compete in science fairs. He has been creating educational materials for children and related graphic communications for almost fifty years. He is the author of seven books and has won numerous awards for his graphic presentations. He was the President and Founder of an award winning Marketing Communications firm for 27 years.


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