What's in the Mozart Effect?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 09:43 AM

When I was pregnant with my son, it seemed every other person was offering advice – some of it helpful, some of it ridiculous. Among the tidbits proffered was the thought that playing Mozart (and placing headphones on my planet-sized belly! ) would help my unborn baby’s brain development. It would also help, post-birth.  And why not? It had to be better than my nearly non-stop playing of Bruce Springsteen or The Clash back then, right?

The so-called “Mozart effect” on kids has been studied for 15 years, and a recent article in the online journal Science Daily reports that scientists found no evidence that listening to Mozart produces any boost in cognitive abilities. Oh, well….still, it made me think about the particular charms of all sorts of music.

Kicking back with music that makes you happy, making a meal with music in the background (see Midge Woolsey’s recent blog post on that subject), yes – even playing music to your born or pre-born child – that has to be a good and healthy thing.

Today – right now – what is your soundtrack? Let us know where the day is taking you by the music you’re playing.


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Comments [5]

Michael Meltzer

Mr. Feldman actually describes the Schoenberg effect. In the Schonberg effect, the child comments that only Josef Hofmann could have played that music properly and gives it a bad review.

Jun. 13 2010 11:38 AM
Frank Feldman

The Schonberg effect: Child feels compelled to repeat everything he says backwards, while standing on his head and backwards while standing on his head. Child complains no one understands or likes him.

May. 23 2010 09:28 PM
shadeed ahmad

Without question the power that classical music has to create an environment of spiritual and intellectual spaciousness for the access to a richer life is real. How could a baby not get a great start in life by listening to the comforting sounds of Mozart amongst the watery, relaxing confines of the womb. The water of the womb as a living being is comforted by classical music and envelopes the child. Classical music nourishes all kinds of artists. It makes since that classical music, which was originally created to honor GOD would be there at the initial stages of a baby's life. With that being
said, "The Mozart Effect" is scintillatingly legitimate. A baby is in the cycle of the creation of great works of art. Why shouldn't a baby benefit from one of the finest art forms in existence, classical music. Sincerely, Shadeed R. Ahmad

May. 23 2010 01:53 PM
Serge Ledan from Queens, NY

I do not want to rain on the parade but a recent scientific study just did not find any significant causation between the Mozart effect and improving children's cognitive abilities (see sciencedaily.com). This in any way negates the beauty and majesty of Mozart's music and many other aspects of hedonistic joy and comfort.

May. 23 2010 01:50 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane from Lake Hiawatha, NJ

Anything that promotes hedonistic joy and comfort promotes as well greater motivation for accomplishments and a practical optimism that spurs on the acceptance that stamina and stick-to-it-ness are necessary ingredients to major achievements. Beautiful people FEEL beautiful and REACHING for one's GOAL STRETCHES one's native abilities. In that respect hearing Mozart's or JS Bach's or Wagner's music MAY strenghthen the positive optimistic ethos aspect of the individual's personality. One might question, but not doubt the efficacy of ENJOYMENT's direct contribution to a better resultant. Kudos to Mozart, Bach and Wagner for the treasurable highlights of the lives of multitudes.

May. 18 2010 01:19 PM

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