music is life, music is breath, music is us

Experiencing the Mozart Effect (note: this is an article from my contributors)

Are the supposed benefits of listening to classical music true?


In the early 90s, researchers delved into Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis’ claims that listening to Mozart had helped stimulate the ears and encouraged healing and development in the brain. Scientists proposed that listening to Mozart (particularly the piano concertos) could temporarily increase one’s IQ, and allow for better spatial reasoning and creativity and imagination. The effect was dubbed the Mozart Effect, and has since been studied in depth.
More recent studies conclude that the effects aren’t exclusive to Mozart’s works. Instead, the benefits named the Mozart Effect were also shown to be associated to any type of music that has positive and energetic qualities. You may have noticed that certain genres of music allow you to focus more and get the creative juices flowing, and it may seem as though the Mozart Effect is only useful to those in the academe, but it’s actually also been used in other industries as well.
Believe it or not, certain farms and horse breeders also utilize the Mozart Effect to train their horses. The Normandy Manor Farm makes use of music in the obedience training of their horses, and Carolyn Resnick Horsemanship also notes that horses often trot to the tempo of music playing in the background. The practice has yet to catch on to mainstream trainers and breeders, as Betfair’s Donald McCain, for all his accolades as a Grand National-winning trainer, has noted that certain external factors such as music could have negative effects on horses.
The Mozart Effect has also been used by Through A Dog’s Ear, which not only uses music in training, but also in alleviating canine stress. “What is fascinating, from a psychoacoustician’s viewpoint, is the fact that dogs were reacting in a similar manner to music that had been created for specific effects on people,” says Lisa Spector, Canine Music Expert (would you believe that there’s such a thing?). “ In other words, dogs could be entrained, i.e., heart rate, brain waves, and breath slowed or speeded up when influenced by external rhythms, just as in people. It is also intriguing to note that the complexity of sound affected dogs as it does people: the more complexity in the music, the more energy required to decipher it. Likewise, the simpler the sound, the greater the relaxation response.”

If you want to experience the Mozart Effect yourself, it’s important to take note that music won’t make you smarter per se. Research shows that music has no effect on intelligence — rather, it only aids in pattern recognition, spatial reasoning, and in fostering creativity.


4 responses

  1. This is really interesting and refers back to discussions we had a while ago, also involving Jonathan Friedman (on here). My comments, at the time, regarding the ability of music to emulate physical conditions experienced in everyday life and ‘reproduce’ them musically, thereby engineering a similar response, fell on luke-warm ears but dogs are presumably virtually free of social conditioning that might give rise to attitude variations throughout the world (which threatened to derail my pet notion). Rather, it is the effect of musical materials in motion that affect us.

    February 21, 2014 at 10:03 am

    • I’m glad you like it, I wish I was the one who wrote it! hahaha

      February 21, 2014 at 7:26 pm

  2. mikeslayen

    common practice, I’m guessing not so much Ives, Schoenberg, Crumb etc..but then again…

    February 24, 2014 at 7:15 am

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