Mozart Effect Essay, Research Paper
When I hear a song by Mozart, I tend to think of the grand Classical Style, the Great Baroque Cathedrals, and the Symphonic Orchestras. Today s modern recording technology can store all that grandness in a digital disk, the size of my hand. But what could that Mozart CD possibly have to do with a package of disposable diapers?
Recent studies show that babies respond to music emotionally the same way that adults do. When Newborns hear the sad funeral passages of Berlioz s Symphonie Fantastasique, they squirm and even cry, but when the music changes to the lighthearted waltz sections, the babies quickly become alert and content. Infants as young as 6 months old can distinguish changes in such basic music components as pitch, tempo, and melodic contour. They even smile when they hear perfect fourth and perfect fifth intervals. Even though this shows that infants have the same music appreciation abilities as adults, the idea that listening to Mozart will improve a child s academics remains unproved. What Science HAS proven is that keyboard instruction, making music instead of just listening to it, seems to almost exercise the brain.
Playing music sends signals through otherwise stagnant neurological pathways in the brain. These signals excite parts of the brain that rarely receive stimulus and without music training at an early age may never develop. This in turn causes these rarely used pathways to be available for other messages as well, which in turn increases the total activity and efficiency of the brain, especially concerning the areas of math, logic, and coordination.
Thomas Jefferson began to play the violin at a very early age, and it was a hobby he stuck to all his life. One of his servants once said about him, He keeps three fiddles, played in the afternoons and sometimes after supper.” This was in his early time. When he began to git so old, he didn t play Mr Jefferson was always singing when ridin or walkin . Hardly see him anywhere outdoors but what he was singing.” Mr. Jefferson even once declared, “Music is the passion of my soul, and fortune has cast my lot in a country where music is in a state of deplorable barbarism.”
In one typical study, a group of Neuroscientists tested 3 to 5 year olds who received six months of vocal lessons, computer lessons, or piano lessons. At the end of the six months, the young pianists excelled far above the others in their grasp of spatial-temporal reasoning, which is the basis for engineering, math, and even mind games like chess. These effects are even more pronounced in older children, as a study from California shows: After a year of twice a week piano lessons, second grade students from a poor school district improved their math scores to match those of fourth grade students from excellent school districts.
Impressed by these studies, Georgia lawmakers launched a program in 1999 to give the parents of every newborn in the state a classical music recording. Two other states, South Dakota and Tennessee, soon followed suit. Before long, hospitals were giving away Mozart CDs with their disposable diapers. In Florida, politicians proposed that every child-care center receiving state or federal funding be required to play classical music to the children. There is even a daycare center in Atlanta, Georgia, dedicated to teaching children using a premise of classical music.
There is much speculation on the width and the range of effects classical music can have on a young child s brain, and only more studies will show if these effects are lasting and permanent. However, what we do know is that even two things as unrelated as Mozart and diapers can find harmony together.