The Mozart Effect: The Brain and Music
The Mozart Effect was an early discovery in the relationship between music and brain function. The name came from the way the experiment was conducted: participants listened to Mozart before taking different tests. Studies found that participants performed better on tests of spatial ability, processing speed, and creativity after listening to Mozart and other music than participants who sat in silence or followed relaxation instructions.
This experiment is obviously a superficial application of music compared to music lessons. When studying music, one does much more than passively listening; one engages with the music in an analytic fashion. The example of the Mozart Effect serves simply to illustrate the way that music can stimulate the brain.
Students of Music are Smarter and More Talented? The Research Says “Yes”
Extensive research has now revealed the numerous advantages that those who have studied music hold over those who have not.
Some areas that favor people who have taken music lessons:
- Ability to detect speech in noise
- Being a “team player”
- General intelligence (on IQ and other intelligence tests)
- Grades in school (correlated even to high school GPA (take note, parents!))
- Hand-eye coordination
- Language memory (remembering prose or lists of words)
- Linguistic comprehension including processing of second or foreign languages
- Math ability
- Phonological awareness (detection of pitch)
- Reaction time
- Reading comprehension
- Short-term memory
- Visual memory
- Working memory