Mozart And The Mind

.. nking after hearing some of the positive test reports according to Christopher Chabris, a Harvard neuropsychologist (Weiss D5). After doing a few Braddock 5 interviews with music store owners and from what he believes to be a bunch of false advertisement, Chabris has derived that [‘now thousands of people are visiting their local music stores and buying CD and tape series’] (D5). These sometimes cost up to $52.98 and promise to stimulate and inspire the mind (School Library Journal 84). Many other, more modern bands are now taking advantage of the latest Mozart studies, claiming that music will enhance ones mind by listening to it. A band with a more 20th century sound that believes in the Mozart Effect is the Flaming Lips, from Oklahoma City.

This band has more of a grungy sound than classical, playing a new type of music that is commonly referred to as anti-frantic alternative, suggests, listening to complex music improves abstract reasoning for rock fans also (Pareles E5). This may be true due to the lack of studies completed using other types of music rather than classical. Chabris, as mentioned above, has been trying to debunk the Mozart effect for the last year, agreeing with the Flaming Lips on the idea of there being more than one type of music that has a positive impact on the way humans think. He found that after conducting more than a dozen studies on classical music and intelligence, the numbers don’t support the claim. The great European composers won’t develop your brain.

He also analyzed 16 studies on the Mozart effect, involving 700 subjects (Weiss D5). He found that the music’s effects are statistically insignificant. Some people, after listening to the classical music and taking the tests said that the music actually made them dumber (Halpern 1), claiming they got brain freeze and Braddock 6 that their brain was literally jammed up. This offers the assumption that not one kind of music is going to be good for everyone and that music may not even be the best way for that some people to learn or develop their minds. A man by the name of John Tesh, a guest on the Tonight Show, also addressed the question of whether classical music is the only music that will magnify the rate at which one learns.

He stated on the show that ‘the problem is that if you merely say, music is good for your health, you ignore the fact that not all music is created equal and that one size does NOT fit all!’ (Halpern 2). By him asserting this question, Tesh hasn’t really proved anything, but rather pointed out a bit of gray area that researchers have yet to thoroughly explain. One person that does touch on this idea with some degree of scientific research is Kristin Nantais of the University of Toronto at Mississauga. After completing some tests of her own she reported that students did comparatively better on the tests after listening to Mozart’s music, but they did just as well after listening to other artists of different varieties of music (Kolata 1). Other areas in which music is being used to stimulate minds and change thinking patterns is in Stroke patients and Parkinson’s disease victims.

After listening to music for 30 minutes a day for 3 weeks, patients had improved their cadence, stride, and foot placement compared to patients who had not been given auditory stimulation, in view of Michael H. Thaut, Ph.D. at Colorado State University (Marwick 267). This indicates that they are learning faster than the patients who weren’t exposed to music are. These same patients also showed signs of being less depressed, less anxious, more emotionally stable, Braddock 7 more interactive, and more motivated to cooperate and communicate, than did a control group (Marwick 268).

Women in labor are also now given the option to listen to music. Music stimulation is said to increase endorphin release and thus decreasing the need for medication. Cancer patients are also benefiting from listening to music. Studies at the Ireland Cancer Center of the University Hospitals of Cleveland, Ohio, conducted by Deforia Lane, Phd , director of music therapy, show that a person’s immune system is also affected (Marwick 268). This positive effect plays a major role in recovery (268). With strong arguments from both the supporters of the Mozart Effect and of those trying to debunk the theory, it is hard to say which side presented the strongest points.

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After evaluating all of these arguments and the information presented by both sides, I believe that those in opposition of the theory delivered stronger evidence. The studies completed by Chabris and Nantais had experimental reports going into much more detail than those did from the researchers of the University of Wisconsin. The tests taken also evaluated hundreds more students and adults than that of the original data taken by the researchers from Wisconsin, which included only a handful of adults. Personally, I believe there is definitely something mystical about music that affects the way we learn. Remembering back to the third grade, when my teacher had us listen to music as we worked in groups, is what got me thinking about the validity of the Mozart Effect. I, for one, think it is very beneficial to listen to music while learning, regardless the style.

But just as with anything there are limitations. Listening to music while you are reading is not going to be as advantageous as for instance, listening to it while working some kind Braddock 8 of math problem. I have learned from my research that, as I mentioned earlier, there is something powerful about music that does affect the way we act, feel, and even think. Whether it is classical, rap, funk, punk, or any other of the hundreds of styles of music on the market, we are all affected in some way by listening to it. Braddock 9 Works Cited Goode, Erica.

Mozart For Baby? Some Say, Maybe Not. New York Times 3 Aug. 1999: F Science Desk p: 1. CD-ROM. Halpern, Steven.

The Mozart Myth. Monthly dec97.htm(1997):n. pag. Online. Internet. 9 Nov.

1999. Available: Kolata, Gina. Muddling Fact and Fiction and Policy. New York Times 8 Aug. 1999: 4 Week in Review Desk p: 5. CD-ROM Lemonick, Michael.

Fast-Track Toddlers. Time July 1999: 76 Marwick, Charles. Leaving Concert Hall for Clinic, Therapists Now Test Music’s Charms. JAMA Jan. 1996: 267-268 Pareles, John. Mozart Effect and Earphones, Parts of a Complex Evening.

The New York Times 24 Aug. 1999: E5 Reid, Rob. The Mozart Effect: Music for Children. School Library Journal Apr. 1998: 84 Take two Mozarts and Call Me in the Morning.

Red Book May 1998: 108 Weiss, Joanna Theory Debunking Mozart Effect Falling on Mostly Deaf Ears. San Francisco Chronicle 15 Oct. 1999: D5 Medicine and Health Care.