The Mozart Effect

The ALLEGED BENEFITS of the " Mozart effect" have produced something like a gold rush , with parents hoping to strike musical pay dirt for their children.Te original source of enthusiasm was a 1993 study by Frances Rauscher at the University of California in Irvine and colleagues.It found that college students who listened to 10 minutes of a Mozart piano sonata had improved performance of spatial-temporal tasks , those involving mental imagery and time sequences , immediately afterward.

Somehow this finding became distorted into a claim ( not Rauscher's) that listening to the music of Mozart made babies smarter.Eventually , then-Gov . Zell Miller of Georgia propsed the idea of providing every newborn Georgia peach with a Mozart compact disc and today the state of Florida mandates the school children listen to classical music every day.
Some recent attempts to replicate the original findings , including those by researchers at the University of Windsor in Canada and Appalachian State University in North Carolina , have failed to do so.Rauscher , now an assistant professor of cognitive development at the University of Wisconsin in Oshkosh retorts that the design of these experiments did not conform to that of the original.

Meanwhile , preschoolers are listening to all kinds of music as part of the Early Childhood Music
Project at Cornell University's Early Childhood Center.Elisabeth Stilwell , the center directory , is
enthusiastic about the benefit of music for children."We've always know that music is great for kids," she say, " but now research shows that music should be an essential part of early childhood.It's fun,creative, and it's proven ways to develop areas of the brain for later academics tasks such as reading and math."

The research Stilwell refers to is a study published in March 1999 that found that second graders in Los Angeles scored 27 percent higher than other children on proportional math and fractions tests after they were given four months of keyboard training on the piano.


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