1 February 2008
Can we enhance our mind just by listening to music? Most people are not intellectually gifted at all, and most people strive to learn to become wiser and more informed about the world around them. Studies show that listening to classical music can have positive effects on learning and attitude. This occurrence is called the Mozart Effect, and it has been experimented by many scientists. Different types of music have different effects on the mind.
The earliest stages of learning for young children are the most important. The fundamentals of learning are locked into a child at a very young age and how much importance is placed on these can have dramatic effects on the future of the child's learning. Music, when applied in a productive way, can have positive effects on a child's learning and help them in many ways. Putting music lessons into a child’s normal activities can make learning easier for a young child. A small study was done two years back involving ten three-year-olds who were tested on their ability to put together a puzzle and the speed at which they could do it (Learning Keys 24). After the first test was taken, five of the children were given singing lessons for 30 minutes a day and the other five were given piano lessons for 15 minutes a week (24). The lessons were conducted over a six-month period of time, and after the six months, all of the kids showed great improvement in the speed they could
put together the puzzle (24). The researchers believe this skill in putting pieces of a puzzle together is similar to the reasoning that engineers, chess players and high-level mathematicians use. In this study of inner-city kids, their first scores were below the national average, but afterwards their scores nearly doubled (24). Abstract reasoning is the term they give to the type of reasoning and thought that goes into putting pieces of a puzzle together. By teaching music, people exercise the same abstract reasoning skills that they use for doing math or some other exercise in which the people have to use their head. A study of eight months was conducted by Frances H. Rauscher of the University of California at Irvine, in which 19 preschoolers, ages three to five, received weekly keyboard and daily singing lessons while another 15 preschoolers received no musical training at all (Bower 143). At the start, middle, and end of the study, the subjects were tested on five spatial reasoning tasks (143). After only four months, scores on the test to assemble a puzzle to form a picture improved dramatically for the group with the musical training, while the control group didn't, even though both groups started out with the same scores (143). It can be understood that this kind of improvement may not be substantial enough to alter the way people are fundamentally taught, but its results cannot be ignored. Rauscher explains, "Music instruction can improve a child's spatial intelligence for a long time, perhaps permanently" (qtd. in Bower 143). Implementing such changes and improvements into a young child's learning could have great effects on them in the future when dealing with the same spatial reasoning skills. Because of its results in spatial reasoning, music can also be a very helpful tool when actually using it in the classroom and involving it with learning basic curriculums.
In New York City, a program called Learning through an Expanded Arts Program, LEAP, has been going on for a while now in which music and the arts is implemented into the school curriculum to improve scholastic scores of children at all levels (Dean and Gross 614). One way in which music is implemented is with math. They call it "musical math," where the teacher mixes rhythm with counting and gaining a grasp on the basics of math (618). With the rhythm, they are able to learn basic elements of math like fraction and multiplication. Christine...