The purpose of this paper is to explore the many different aspects of music and its effects on infants and children. I will also discuss how music can be beneficial to them and what parents can do to make music a part of their childrens' lives. Research has been done for hundreds of years on the effects of classical music on children ("Classical"). As a child is developing in the first few years of life, their brain is essentially being "wired" and shaped by its environment. Research has suggested that music, especially classical music, can have remarkable effects on their minds (Campbell). It has been demonstrated that infants can even respond to music with adult-like capabilities, with the ability to discriminate between differences in frequency, pitch, rhythm and tempo. Babies also respond to stimuli that deliver music as a reward ("Can Classical"). Research also suggests that classical music can have numerous positive effects on children's development and health ("Classical"). For example, certain classical selections are shown to have a positive effect on the intellectual and creative development of infants and children in: increased verbal, emotional and spatial intelligence, improved concentration and memory, enhanced right-brain creative processes, and strengthened intuitive thinking skills ("Babies"). One such example of research began with the work of Dr. Francis Raucher and Dr. Gordon L. Shaw from the University of California (Coff). A study done in 1993 revealed that college student's scores improved on spatial-temporal reasoning tests after listening to Mozart. Later in the 90's, Rauscher and Shaw performed two more studies. These studies indicated that after listening to Mozart, preschool children in Los Angeles and in Wisconsin scored 34%-36% higher on spatial-temporal reasoning tests than children who received no instruction. Since these studies the term "Mozart Effect" has been the buzz phrase that won't disappear ("Classical"). Another study done in Ohio, using the 30 variations in J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, discovered that children of different ages were mostly consistent in identifying the "emotion" of the variation as excited, sad, calm, or happy. Even children without music education or background were able to pick out the emotions expressed by the music ("Classical"). These and many other studies encouraged renewed interest in classical music education and focused much deserved attention on the general field of childhood development (Coff). Books have been written, programs put into place and music products of all kinds have been sold in response to the latest research. In a book titled The Mozart Effect, Don Campbell (the author) attempts to associate the music of Mozart with an extended ability to learn, and improved health of body and spirit. He believes that "
the more stimulation that a child receives through music, movement and the arts, the more intelligent she or he will turn out" ("Mozart"). Mead Johnson (the makers of Enfamil baby formula) launched a program called Smart Symphonies, a national program designed to raise awareness of the benefits of exposing infants to classical music. This program features a specially created compact disc entitled Smart Symphonies, which features GRAMMY-winning classical music such as Mozart's Concerto for 2 Pianos, K. 365 (3rd Movement), Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 (2nd Movement), and Mozart's Wind Serenade, K. 361 (3rd Movement). These CD's are included in more than a million Enfamil Diaper Bags given to new mothers as they leave the hospital (I received one when I had my son in 1999). Furthermore, this program will contribute $3 million over the next three years to help establish the Smart Symphonies initiative, to further research the effects of classical music on brain development in early childhood, and to assist in bringing classical music to more families ("Babies"). The governor of Georgia (Zell...
Cited: "Babies To Benefit from Smart Symphonies." From the Mead Johnson Website. May 12, 1999. January 23, 2001. .
Campbell, Don. "The Mozart Effect: Music For Babies." Audio CD Review. From the Review Corner Website. Published by The Children 's Group. 1998. January 23, 2001. .
"Can Classical Music Enhance Lifelong Potential." From the E-Society Pages Website. Published by WebWright. January 23, 2001. .
"Classical Music: Improving Children 's Development." From the Learning Network Website. January 23, 2001. .
Coff, Richard. "For the Professional Music Educator – The "Mozart Effect"- Research on Music and the Developing Brain and More." January 23, 2001. .
Cordes, Helen. "Healthy Tunes." Parenting Magazine. February 1999. January 23, 2001. .
"Mozart Effect, The. Fact or Fantasy?" From the About.com Website, Early Childhood Education section. September 13, 1999. January 23, 2001. .
Nourie, Dana. "Mood Music." Family Life. November 1999. January 23, 2001. .
Robledo, S. Jhoanna. "Baby Development – Music and Your Baby (Newborn to One Year)." January 23, 2001. .
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