Music and the Brain

Effects of Music on the Brain.


“The original experiments on adults exposed to Mozart’s music were of short duration only. In related experiments, long-term effects of music were studied in groups of pre-school children aged 3-4 years who were given keyboard music lessons for six months, during which time they studied pitch intervals, fingering techniques, sight reading, musical notation, and playing from memory. At the end of training all the children were able to perform simple melodies by Beethoven and Mozart.

When they did they were then subjected to spatial-temporal reasoning tests calibrated for age, and their performance was more than 30% better than that of children of similar age given either computer lessons for 6 months or no special training (P <0.001). The improvement was limited to spatial-temporal reasoning; there was no effect on spatial recognition. The effect lasted unchanged for 24 hours after the end of the music lessons but the precise duration of the enhancement was not further explored. The longer duration of the effects than in previous reports was attributed to the length of exposure to music and the greater plasticity of the young brain. In further experiments of this kind it has been claimed that the enhancement of spatial-temporal reasoning in children after piano training has resulted in significantly greater scores in higher mathematics. (1)"

1. Graziano AB, Peterson M, Shaw GL. Enhanced learning of proportional maths through music training and spatial-temporal reasoning. Neurol Res 1999;21: 139-52. [PubMed]