Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Painted by Barbara Kratt 1764-1825

     Many of us know that our mothers went to art museums, listened to classical music and, read books specifically to influence us when we were still in the womb. Most continued during our childhood and we can recall and treasure our bedtime stories. Do you think this influenced you as a writer?
     WQXR, the publicly funded and much loved classical music station in New York, has celebrated Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for the entire month of November. Last weekend they talked about the Mozart effect.
     The terminology originally came from a study performed in 1991 with 36 young adult students who listened to ten minutes of Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major. The students tackled a group of mental tasks before and after listening to Mozart. One was ten minutes of absolute quiet, the second ten minutes of directions on how to relax and the third was the sonata. The students who listen to Mozart did better when they were presented with a sequence of cerebral tests to finish—but the effect lasted approximately fifteen minutes.
     Scientists were intrigued and agreed that listening to music could have a short term effect but listening to Schubert or reading a book by Stephen King would bring about the same result if you took pleasure in the composer or author. In 2006, a study was conducted in England with eight thousand children who listened to either Mozart, a discussion about the experiment or three popular songs. The children who listened to the pop songs did better than the children who listened to Mozart.
     Books have been written, CDs made for children, and Governor Zell Miller requested $105,000 to provide a classical music CD to every child born in the state of Georgia. Music does lift the spirits, lower blood pressure and the playing of instruments—free musical instruments and training are often given to children in school—has promoted their social and cognitive skills.


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