The Mozart Effect Works!

People often say that motivation doesn’t last.
Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily!
~~ Zig Ziglar ~~

* * *

I purchased, The Mozart Effect by Don Campbell, when it came out in 1998.   It was my favorite music CD for study music because it helped me focus on my homework.  Now a decade later my 11-year old uses it for study music.

Study music is music that aids mental concentration.  It helps by keeping a steady pace and masking distracting noises.   The best study music has no words.  Music with a foreign language can be study music, if the vocals are steady, soothing and predictable.  I am sampling love songs from around world on YouTube and finding many of them work well for study music.

The following article was written by Dr. Alice Cash.  I am posting this article with her permission.  Please visit her website:

The Mozart Effect: What is it about?

A few years ago there was quite a bit in the newspaper and popular magazines about “The Mozart Effect.” Many people believed that simply listening to the music of Mozart would raise their I.Q. and marketers went to work churning out CD’s of Mozart’s music for nearly every conceivable daytime and night-time task. As a professional musician and a musicologist, I had a little problem with that idea then and I still do. However, after talking with my friend Don Campbell, author of “The Mozart Effect” I do understand that he did not try in any way to mislead the public into thinking that it does. His definition of “the Mozart Effect” is simply the use of any music at all for any healing purpose at all. That’s a pretty widely encompassing concept. Because I did believe in this I submitted two stories from my own music medicine practice which he did subsequently incorporate into the book.   Still, confusion exists and I thought it might be helpful to elucidate a little bit on some of the original research.

It is said that Albert Einstein was a mediocre student until he began playing the violin. “Before that, he had a hard time expressing what he knew,” says Hazel Cheilek, orchestra director at Fairfax County’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a magnet school where more than a third of the students also play or sing in musical ensembles. “Einstein said he got some of his greatest inspirations while playing violin. It liberated his brain so that he could imagine.” In the early 1700s, England’s King George I also felt he would make better decisions if he listened to good music.  Reportedly, Handel responded by composing his Water Music suites to be played while the king floated the Thames on his royal barge.  Even Plato in ancient Greece believed studying music created a sense of order and harmony necessary for intelligent thought.  Can music really make us think better?

In 1993, researchers at the University of California at Irvine discovered the so-called “Mozart Effect” – that college students who listened to ten minutes of Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D major K448 before taking an IQ test scored nine points higher than when they had sat in silence or listened to relaxation tapes. Other studies have indicated that people retain information better if they hear classical or baroque music while studying.

The most profound effects take place in young children, while their brains literally are growing. This year, the same researchers at Irvine’s Center for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory found that preschoolers who had received eight months of music lessons scored 80 percent higher on object-assembly tasks than did other youngsters who received no musical training. That means the music students had elevated spatial temporal reasoning–the ability to think abstractly and to visualize physical forms and their possible variations, the higher-level cognition critical to mathematics and engineering.

Music students continue to outperform their non-arts peers on the SAT, according to the 1999 “Profiles of SAT and Achievement Test Takers” from The College Board.  Students with coursework in music study/appreciation scored 61 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and 42 points higher on the math portion than students with no coursework or experience in the arts.  Students in music performance scored 53 points higher on the verbal portion and 39 points higher on the math portion than students with no arts participation.

Mean SAT Scores for Students with Coursework or Experience in Music – 1999

Music: Study or Appreciation
Verbal: 538
Math: 534

Music Performance
Verbal: 530
Math: 531

No Coursework or Experience
Verbal: 477
Math: 492

All of this to say “you be the judge” but listening to Mozart certainly won’t hurt you.  My point always is that making music is preferable to passive listening and that listening to live music is always preferable to listening to recorded music.  Mozart will not, repeat WILL NOT raise your I.Q. but it might help you organize your thoughts better before taking a standardized test. Dr. Alfred Tomatis, with whom Don Campbell and I have both studied and who has researched the healing benefits of Mozart’s music, recommends the Five Violin Concerti above all of Mozart’s other music for healing properties. Please feel free to write me with any questions you might have about Mozart or anything else related to music and healing.

If you want to learn more about The Mozart Effect and how to use it for a better quality of life, get an immediate download of Dr. Cash doing a live presentation for teachers of gifted students on “The Mozart Effect.”

About Author Dr. Alice Cash:  Helping people to use music for Healing and Wellness.  Dr. Cash stresses the use of music for health, learning, motivation, relaxation, energy building, or well-being.  She is known internationally for her work with music and pregnancy, surgery, addictions, and Alzheimer’s disease.  Dr. Cash can be reached through Healing Music Enterprises. (www.healingmusicenterprises.com)

Additional Resources

Magic of Mozart is a special two-hour INSPIRATION-FM Radio documentary featuring a synopsis of the life of the world’s most remarkable and gifted classical music composers — the genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

My search for “Mozart Effect” found 15 titles in Inland Library Network which included music CDs and these books:

The Mozart Effect For Children:  Awakening Your Child’s Mind, Health, and Creativity With Music by Don Campbell [2000]
You don’t have to be an expert on classical music to use this wise and compassionate book. Focusing each chapter on a particular age — from prenatal through age ten — Don Campbell explains how music is the perfect tool to improve children’s language, movement, and social skills at home, school, and play.  He presents dynamic, inventive ways to invigorate a child’s imagination, and supplies simple exercises, musical menus, and entertaining games that will improve your child’s memory.  At once practical and profound, The Mozart Effect® for Children is an invaluable resource for all parents and educators who want to help their children imagine, achieve, and grow in every aspect of their lives.

The Mozart Effect:  Tapping The Power Of Music To Heal The Body, Strengthen The Mind, and Unlock The Creative Spirit by Don Campbell [1997]
The Mozart Effect has a simple but life-changing message: music is medicine for the body, the mind, and the soul. Campbell shows how modern science has begun to confirm this ancient wisdom, finding evidence that listening to certain types of music can improve the quality of life in almost every respect. Here are dramatic accounts of how music is used to deal with everything from anxiety to cancer, high blood pressure, chronic pain, dyslexia, and even mental illness.

My search for “Mozart” found 439 titles limited by “format: Music.”    Here is what caught my interest:

Mozart’s brain and the fighter pilot: unleashing your brain’s potential CD by Richard Restak [2002]
Eminent neuropsychiatrist and bestselling author, Richard Restak, M.D., combines the latest research in neurology and psychology to show us how to get our brain up to speed for managing every aspect of our busy lives.

Everything we think and everything we choose to do alters our brain and fundamentally changes who we are, a process that continues until the end of our lives. Few people think of the brain as being susceptible to change in its actual structure, but in fact we can preselect the kind of brain we will have by continually exposing ourselves to rich and varied life experiences. Unlike other organs that eventually wear out with repeated and sustained use, the brain actually improves the more we challenge it.

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About Hemet Sunshine

I am a homeschooling mom living in Hemet, California. I am interested in building a better community for the ones I love.
This entry was posted in Doing Performing Arts: Acting, Dancing, Music, Special Needs. Bookmark the permalink.

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