The Mozart Effect

Music is one of the most integral and yet beloved aspects of the imaginative human. It is a universal language, a gorgeous world of math, and responsible for a plethora of powerful industries. As developed individuals, we understand music to be an extremely normal and celebrated aspect of life in itself, but a newborn’s path to this notion is structured in a very specific way. Babies are born with literally billions of neurons, and over time these neurons make connections in the brain. These connections are directly related to different kinds of music that they are exposed to in their development. For example, we all know that lullabies are a fundamental characteristic of a child’s early life and introduction to music. This type is of course generally a sleep encouraging tactic used by parents, resulting in a capacity to be soothed and calmed later on, in a familiar sense. But what other kinds of traditional music have effects on our infants’ minds and brainpower?



It is common for people to think classical music makes babies smarter. Many started to embrace this concept due to its exciting and fascinating opinions. Actually one year in Georgia the governor decided to have CD’s donated to families with newborns at hospitals, containing select pieces. It is much more commonly supported and understood that not just with children but with anyone, classical music can improve spatial reasoning, such as efficiency in a jigsaw puzzle. However, this effect is very temporary and can be thought of as a way to “prime the brain for certain kinds of thinking.” (Source 1) This is because the pathways in our brains related to spatial reasoning are similar to those triggered for listening to classical music.

Research at Appalachian State University debunked the spotty belief that classical music played for babies makes them smarter students. They tested this “Mozart effect” and revealed that classical music does not directly correlate with test scores or any kind of intellectual performance.

What’s interesting is the relationship between musical instruments and extended improvement in spatial reasoning. It is believed that children who start lessons in a musical instrument develop a much larger capacity for spatial skills that stem from the patience and intensive detail of training muscles and memory at the same time. This is a very interesting concept that not only strengthens the world of music in its support and importance but in its outreach and applications.

I am a firm believer in the emotional and mental benefits of music, like most people, but I also believe that it can be a sad and often lonely plunge into a more intellectual adventure of the human mind and the way it is supposed to feel. Now I know that yes, music is a helpful and stimulating experience for all people, but the young audiences of certain mathematically sound and thought out pieces take away tools for their minds.

I play guitar, drums, and some piano, but I obviously cannot feel their effects working in the lobes of my brain. But I do know that music has been there for me when I need nothing else, and supplying it, working on it, and perfecting it is the only way I know of giving back.

No, the works of Mozart and Bach will not allow your babies to pick their college of choice, but they will tap into very useful and powerful abilities that help day to day motives become more efficient. And who knows, maybe consistently tapping into those parts of the brain, in a way, truly does make us smarter.


4 thoughts on “The Mozart Effect

  1. Katherine Guerney

    I really liked reading your post. I think it would have been interesting if you included more about the study that was performed at Appalachian State University and explained what researchers evaluated in order to reach the conclusion that the Mozart Effect does not correlate with performance. I also found what you said about playing instruments interesting and I even wrote a blog post about it. I found multiple studies which measured the differences in brain structure and cognitive performance of non-musicians and musicians. The results showed only minimal changes and the studies were unable to fully evaluate all confounding variables. However, the differences are enough to show that the hypothesis should be evaluated further. I too am a lover of music and used to play three different instruments. Maybe playing an instrument won’t make you substantially “smarter” but I think that it improves your brain in other ways.

  2. Mairead Donnard

    This was such an interesting post! When I was a baby, my parents would play classical musical in hopes of making me a more intelligent person. While this sounds like a great idea, I do not think that it is realistic and this blog post certainly backs that claim. What I found to be most interesting about this blog post was that it was not listening to music that improved an individual more, rather it was playing instruments. This actually makes more sense because a person is exerting energy to make this happen. Here is an interesting article by Time that discusses how playing instruments actually improves neural processing in students: .

    1. Patrick James Mcgovern Post author

      Thank you! And wow that article is really nice it perfectly illustrates the differences in everyone’s stance on the idea of music and cognitive ability as a whole. I also think it’s much more interesting that actively participating in music is what improved mental reasoning. Getting instruments together and spending time making sure that correct form and execution is happening is something that goes a long way to satisfy all kinds of people. Do you play an instrument? If you don’t, I’m always curious to know which instrument people would play if they could.

  3. Pedro de Mello

    Classical music is very peculiar in the effects it can have on living organisms. Animals such as dogs and cows tend to prefer classical instrumentals (such as Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, etc.), even increasing milk yields in dairy cows. Even plants are known to react positively to classical music, increasing their nutrient production and strengthening their organisms. It’s rather fascinating that a musical genre considered by humans to pertain to a higher social stratum (Classical, from latin “classicus”, meaning “belonging to a class”) has such positive effects in forms of life that don’t even have the biological capabilities to appreciate it as we do.

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