Ever since the concept of "Mozart Effect" came up, moms-to-be have gone crazy over classical music. There also has been a boom in this industry - with now thousands of CDs and DVDs, all geared towards making your baby smarter. That's because according to this theory, playing classical music to unborn children or newly born babies can stimulate the brain and promote quicker development.
Where did it all start?
Psychologist Frances Rauscher did a research study entitled "Music and Spatial Task Performance" in 1993. This study, which involved 36 students, proved that those students who listened to Mozart improved in the performance of their tasks that were based on spatial reasoning. This gave birth to the concept of Mozart effect that was eventually led to the belief that fetuses who listen to classical music will grow up with higher IQ than their counterparts who didn't.
Is there truth to this concept?
Subsequent studies were done to back up this belief. Unfortunately, none could give evidence strong enough to turn this theory into a fact. It's no wonder Rauscher's study is the only one mentioned in articles that circulated about this concept during that time. It fueled this concept, which commercial companies capitalized on.
Even Rauscher, who is now working as an associate professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, thinks that the study's results became overrated and sensationalized by the media. Rauscher opened up in Scientific American, saying, "I would simply say that there is no compelling evidence that children who listen to classical music are going to have any improvement in cognitive abilities".
Advice to parents
Now, moms and dads, before you get all frustrated and start throwing out the CDs and DVDs you've bought for your kid, you have to know that although it won't turn your little child into a prodigy, it does have positive effects on your child. During learning or playtime, play some soothing music that will enable your child's mind to relax. This way, learning and absorbing information would be much easier for him.
Also, don't limit your child's musical repertoire to classical tunes only. Instead of having him listen to Beethoven and Mozart 24 hours a day, give him a variety and play other genres as well like jazz, pop, lullabies, blues and so on. Just don't startle him with ear-banging rock music as this may not be apt for children just yet.
Moreover, don't stop the music after your child is born. Yes, it would be great if he can hear all the wonderful music while he's inside the womb but it doesn't mean you should stop once he's in the outside world.
Other benefits of classical music
Children and babies are not the only ones who can reap the benefits of listening to classical tunes. In London England, it has been proven that there can be fewer crime occurrences if people will listen to classical music more. How did they know that? In London Underground Stations, particularly in dangerous zones, the British Transport Police reported a significant reduction in robberies, staff assaults and vandalism, after classical music was played in these areas. This is because soothing music is very effective in reducing stress, violent tendencies, and anxiety.